SOME History

The ICOYC was not pre-planned in any way, but evolved from international meetings of Commodores hosted several years ago by the Royal Vancouver and Royal Hong Kong Yacht Clubs. It has subsequently developed to meet a need for more interaction between the leadership groups of major yacht clubs around the world.

Meetings of Commodores
In 2003 the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, during its centennial year, hosted a Symposium attended by Flag Officers from international yacht clubs. At the symposium there was discussion about the value of such international contacts

 Two years later, in 2005, the original contacts led to the RVYC hosting the first Commodores’ Forum, attended by representatives of yacht clubs around the world.    
 In 2006, the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club hosted the second Commodores’ Forum, attended by 28 Clubs from all five continents. At this second forum it was proposed that the International Council of Yacht Clubs should be established which, amongst other objectives, would build on the now-established tradition of successful conferences.    
 As meetings had already been held in North America and Asia it was agreed that the third ICOYC Commodores’ Forum (as it was now called) would be in Europe in 2007, hosted by the Société Nautique de Marseille. Again, we had a very successful event when a wide range of issues was discussed.    
 In October 2008 the 4th ICOYC Commodores' Forum was held in Durban, South Africa, hosted by the Royal Natal Yacht Club, the oldest club in the RSA. The club's 150th anniversary celebrations were held at the same time. This was another successful Forum and participants discussed a number of down-to-earth topics, a key issue being how to "Weather the developing economic storm".    
 In March of 2010, the 5th ICOYC Commodores' Forum was hosted in Perth by the Royal Freshwater Bay Club in partnership with the Royal Perth Yacht Club.  Here there were more focused discussions on subjects such as the future roles of yacht clubs, sponsorship, and membership development.    

Structuring the Organisation

During the Forum in Durban the organisation structure of the ICOYC was reviewed and placed on a more solid basis. The Founding President, Heinz Rautenberg from Vancouver, retired and a new President, John Stork, was appointed. Vice Presidents were also appointed for each main region. The process of correcting and updating the ICOYC’s By-laws was started at Durban. The new By-laws were proposed and approved by the Council’s subsequent AGM.

By the time the 5th ICOYC Commodores’ Forum held in Perth, Western Australia in March 2010, the Council was well positioned to manage future growth. This led to extensive discussions about the future ‘shape’ of the Council and at the Board meeting in Perth it was decided that the focus should be on limited evolution, restricting membership to just the leading yacht clubs in each country or region. These were the clubs that had most in common with the existing members.

How ICOYC Cruises have Developed

Cruising, generally with chartered yachts, has been another ICOYC success that has developed to meet a need. Many clubs have local cruising programmes, but these are not usually in unknown waters in other parts of the world. Members of the Council realised that there could be wide enough interest in ‘fly-charter’ events to new cruising areas to get together the ‘critical mass’ of adventurous sailors needed for a successful event. This interest would be even greater if the Cruise were run by one of the Council clubs on the waters they knew well. Those coming could then be confident that they would be well looked after, and the trip would be worthwhile.

The ICOYC Board was very supportive of this concept, seeing Cruises like this as another way to bring individual members of Council clubs together, developing even better international relations.

First ICOYC Cruise - in British Columbia
In the fall of 2009, the Commodore of the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club invited members of all the Council clubs to take part in a two-week ICOYC Cruise along the spectacular coast of Western Canada, calling at many of RVanYC's 'outstations'. This was a great privilege and the Cruise was much appreciated by many individual club members. It was noteworthy that relatively few current club Flag Officers attended. 


Second ICOYC Cruise - New Zealand
A second ICOYC Cruise took place in March 2010 at the invitation of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. This was around the Bay of Islands area and included chartered yachts, local club yachts and a ‘mother ship’ - a 150ft square-rigger. The Cruise was a spectacular success.
As a result of the two initial Cruises, these ICOYC events are now well established in the annual calendar. They give the members involved the unique opportunity to enjoy the best of the sailing and facilities in each area as the host clubs contribute all their 'inside' knowledge and experience.

Several Council clubs now feature the ICOYC cruises in their programmes for their members. There are more details in the relevant sections of the website.

updated Saturday, March 17, 2012