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Belgium: Yacht ensign

Last modified: 2012-02-25 by ivan sache
Keywords: yacht club | yacht ensign | crown: royal |
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Yacht ensign

[Yacht ensign]         [Yacht ensign]

Belgian yacht ensign
Left, official design - Image by Željko Heimer, 7 August 2000
Rigth, design in common use - Image by José Carlos Alegria, 8 August 2000

The yacht ensign is prescribed by Royal Decree from 15 March 1966, Article 13 § 2 (my translation from the French text given by Léon Nyssen in Vexillacta [vxl] #3, March 1999):

The national ensign to be hoisted by Belgian yachts is made of three stripes placed vertically, black, yellow and red, of equal width; the black stripe is placed at hoist. The national flag hoisted by Belgian yachts registered in yachting associations approved by the Minister is charged with a yellow Royal crown in the upper third of the black stripe.

L. Nyssen quotes the French text of the Decree, highlighting the faulty use of laisse instead of laize for "stripe", a mistake commonly reproduced for decades! The proportions of the flag are not specified, neither are its dimensions. The proportions are usually 2:3 by analogy with the civil ensign, and the dimensions depend on the yacht owner's evaluation.
This yacht ensign was prescribed for the first time in 1936.

Ivan Sache, 7 August 2000

According to Mr. Vivegnis, an Officer of the Bruxelles Royal Yacht Club, even though the Law clearly says "yellow Royal crown", the general use is to fly flags with crowns in full color (multicolored). He is not sure if that is just because that is the way flag manufacturers make the flags or because of any tradition.

José Carlos Alegria, 8 August 2000

On the few occasions I saw this flag the crown was always coloured. But the official version, with monocoloured crown, exists in the cloth, as shown by a flag offerred on eBay in September 2006, with dimensions given as 50 cm x 70 cm. Here, the crown is slightly smaller than on the above image and the crown is not yellow but gold.

Jan Mertens, 3 October 2008

Use of the yacht ensign by yacht clubs

In Belgium, recreational boats seem to be using massively the national ensign defaced with a Royal crown in canton.
This privilege was initially granted to only four clubs:

The extended usage of the flag seems to have been taken to allow all clubs belonging to the Belgian Royal Yachting Federation (FRBY, Fédération Royale Belge de Yachting), to fly the special ensign.

José Carlos Alegria, 20 February 2000