The History of our Club
The Merioneth yacht Club was formed in 1937 as the Barmouth Sailing Club by Colonel C. W. Crichton DSO, Mrs E Coote and Messer's Armstrong Evens, C . F. P. Lowe and M. Rowlands , for the purpose of promoting small boat sailing and racing in and around the Mawddach Estuary. The Yacht Club was then, and still is affiliated to the Yacht Racing Association-now RYA. The club premises, a temporary wooden building was then situated at Aberamffra. The class of boat was a Coote-a 14ft 6ins half deck Bermuda rigged sloop. Races were regularly held throughout the summer for a challenge cup presented by Mrs E Coote.
During the war the club building was requisitioned by the Government and used by The Royal Marines. By 1947 most of the class boats had been disposed of, or members owning them had left Barmouth. There was however a marked increase in the number of members owning sea-going yachts from 4 to 60 tons. This change in class focused the attention of members away from Aberamffra to the main harbour , and in consequence the Club moved to Orielton Gardens above the harbour. This site, the only one available at the time, proved unsatisfactory owing to difficulty of access. In 1952 the Club was able to secure its present accommodation on the quay and overlooking the harbour, the former building being sold to the Sea Scouts. The current clubhouse is in the old Barmouth Harbour Trust Offices and is one of the oldest buildings in Barmouth. At the Annual General Meeting in 1952 it was decided to change the name of the Club to the Merioneth Yacht Club to be more in keeping with its activities at the time.
During the 1960s the GP 14 became the class boat. As members increased in the 1970s it became necessary to add another story to the clubhouse. This considerable undertaking was wholly financed through the membership. Life membership was introduced, Building Bonds were purchased and personal donations were made. In addition to the premises extension, the Club acquired an area nearby for use as a boat compound with space for winter storage of club members boats. When the ILB was moved to the main Lifeboat House, the RNLI offered the old ILB shed to the club. With the aid of a lottery grant, this was rebuilt and now houses the Cadet Sailing, the storing and maintaining of their boats.
The Club became host to the Barmouth to Fort William Three Peaks Yacht Race in 1976 and continues to support this world famous race. The year 1978 saw the introduction of Cadet Sailing evenings to encourage youngsters of the town and surrounding areas to learn about sailing. In 2004 the club managed to purchase the club house from the council, and in 2009 the boat pen also become the property of the club. This put the club on a secure footing and required more financial commitment from the membership.
RYA theory courses are run in the club in the winter months and the clubs power boat section runs practical power boat and personal water craft courses in the summer months.
In recent years the club has maintained a strong rowing section and now has four boats for the use of members. With an increase in watersports generally, the club is also developing it's kayak and canoeing offer and is now custodian of a range of kit, available for members use.