Founded in 1837 (reportedly before the invention of wind), The Royal Southern Yacht Club was originally the preserve of the gentrified elite - and throughout the years, it has remained a distinguished bastion of all things yachting. It might therefore seem like a place your average powerboater might fear to tread. After all, the world of marine leisure remains fractured into two key camps - power and sail. And the bright trousers, ironed shirts and crushing dictates of yacht club etiquette can sometimes cause the relatively informal powerboating fraternity to run for cover. However, as winner of the recent Yacht Club of the Year Award (from Yachts & Yachting Magazine), we expect a much more progressive attitude from the RSYC and it continues to justify that faith.

Power boats of all sizes

From 24 to 26 May 2013, its annual Motorboat Open Weekend will mark the 14th time this three-day event has been held from the club’s base on the River Hamble - and it remains the highpoint of the motorboat programme. If precedent is anything to go by, it will combine a relaxed atmosphere with good food and a healthy dose of on-water competition. And best of all, the 'Open Weekend' is genuinely inclusive. Any motor vessel that can maintain an average of ten knots or more is eligible, from a 20-metre cruiser to a small, family RIB - and every craft, whether modern or classic, stands a chance of winning a prize.

The competitive element comprises a Prediction Contest, where each crew guesses the time required to complete a predetermined course, without the benefit of an on board timepiece. There is also a Poker Run, during which the crews have to decipher a set of clues in order to locate and collect a poker card from five different RIBs. And there’s a Solent Safari, which is apparently ‘more Krypton Factor than Times Crossword’. Points are awarded for each of these three elements, so each vessel can accrue an overall weekend score.

With an itinerary that also provides plenty of onshore entertainment, it should be a great start to the 2013 season, so if you want to get involved, contact Natalie on 02380 450302 or And don’t be shy - it really is a yacht club even a powerboater can enjoy…

Written by: Alex Smith
Alex Smith is a journalist, copywriter and magazine editor with a long history in boating and a happy addiction to the water. He’s worked on boats, lived on boats, bought boats, sold boats and – when he’s not actually on board a boat – he can generally be found in his Folkestone office, tapping away at the computer and gazing out to sea.