History of the Council

The International Council of Yacht Clubs is a global community of leading yacht clubs. With events and opportunities for club members, leadership and professional staff, the Council exists to promote collaboration between these clubs so each can improve their home organization while positively contributing to the activity of yachting.


The Council evolved over several years as leaders of some of the leading yacht clubs discussed ways to collaborate, learn from one another, improve their home clubs and build stronger relationships with the other clubs.


During the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club’s centennial year, the club hosted a Symposium attended by Flag Officers from several key international yacht clubs. The conversations were so valuable that the group in attendance decided to organize another, similar gathering.


Two years later, the original group met again at Royal Vancouver Yacht Club and hosted the 1st Commodores’ Forum, attended by representatives of yacht clubs around the world. The theme of the Forum was “Sharing Problems and Building Solutions”.


The Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club hosted the 2nd Commodores’ Forum, attended by 28 Clubs from five continents. The idea of the International Council of Yacht Clubs was first presented, adopted and subsequently incorporated as a non-profit entity in Vancouver, Canada.


As meetings had already been held in North America and Asia, it was agreed that the 3rd ICOYC Commodores’ Forum (as it was now called) would be in Europe, hosted by the Société Nautique de Marseille.


The 4th ICOYC Commodores’ Forum was held in Durban, South Africa, hosted by the Royal Natal Yacht Club, the oldest club in the Republic of South Africa, in conjunction with their 150th anniversary. Participants discussed several topics, a key issue being, “weathering the developing economic storm”.

In Durban, the organizational structure of the ICOYC was first presented and put in place. Founding President, Heinz Rautenberg, retired and a new President, John Stork, was elected. Vice Presidents were appointed for each global region. The Council’s Bylaws were updated, proposed and approved by the Council’s subsequent AGM.


The 5th ICOYC Commodores’ Forum was held in Perth, Western Australia in March. At the Royal Freshwater Bay Club in partnership with the Royal Perth Yacht Club, discussions centered around the future roles of yacht clubs, sponsorship, and membership development. Annual Regional Conferences were introduced as a new event.


It didn’t take long for this group of yacht club leaders to talk about getting on the water. Now with a concentrated bunch of sailors from around the world, the Council would be able to spin the globe, select a famed cruising ground and call on a local Council member to provide insider knowledge, ensuring an interesting charter vacation.

The ability to cruise together and improve international relations while exploring our blue planet fit perfectly within the ethos of the Council.

The first ICOYC Cruise took place in the fall of 2009, calling from the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club. For two weeks, the group cruised along the spectacular coast of Western Canada, visiting many of RVYC’s outstations. Many regular members of Member Clubs attended, demonstrating the opportunity to expand the benefits of Council membership beyond club leadership.

The 2nd ICOYC Cruise took place in March 2010, following the Forum in Perth, at the invitation of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. This cruise traveled around the Bay of Islands on chartered yachts, local club yachts and a mothership—a 150-foot square-rigger. It was a spectacular success.

Today, ICOYC Cruises are a much-anticipated event in Council’s annual calendar. Attendees appreciate the opportunity to explore new areas under the generous guidance of local club members.