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Royal Western Yacht Club of England (United Kingdom)

Last modified: 2022-10-14 by rob raeside
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[Royal Western Yacht Club of England ensign] image by Clay Moss

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Flag of the club

The Royal Western Yacht Club of England uses a plain blue ensign, undefaced. Blue ensign granted 1 January 1843.
David Prothero, 7 June 2014

Established 1827 as Port of Plymouth Royal Clarence Regatta Club, patron was Duke of Clarence, Lord High Admiral.

1833. Changed name to Western Yacht Club.

15 May 1834. Admiralty Warrant for “Distinguishing Ensign. - White with a red cross, a crown in the centre, surrounded with a wreath of roses, intertwined with oak leaves, and a union at the head of the ensign.” The title ‘royal’ was added inadvertently. A letter of 21 July 1909 from Buckingham Palace to the Home Office indicated that “the Royal Title should not be restored, but re-created with date 15 May 1834”.

December 1837. White Ensign defaced crown and lion. ‘Of England’ added to title, “to distinguish club from Irish club similarly designated”. I guess that the defacement was changed because, at any sort of distance, the previous one would have been indistinguishable from the Western of Ireland’s ‘White with a red cross, a crown in the centre, surrounded with a wreath of shamrock’.

22 August 1842. Admiralty Warrant for plain Blue Ensign. Crown on blue burgee.

From 1909 Rule Book. Each yacht, though held by same owner, requires separate Admiralty Warrant.

Privileges of club:
1. Free of Port Charges in France, Holland, Belgium, Russia, Denmark, Prussia, Egypt, Syria, Canada, Hanover, Greece, Portugal, Norway, Sweden and Spain.
2. United Kingdom; free of duty in bond warehouse.
3. Use of government buoys, when not in use, with permission of Naval Authority.
4. Blue Ensign.
5. Free of Coasting Licence for moving property in yachts.
6. Spars from HM Dockyard on application to Admiral-Superintendent
[National Archives HO 144/1060/188875]
David Prothero, 14 November 2014


[Royal Western Yacht Club of England ensign]image located by

The Dumpy Book of Ships and the Sea (1957) shows the burgee blue with a crown.
James Dignan, 12 February 2008

The RWYC website is at and the burgee can be seen at Do we know whether it's a specific crown or not? They also seem to have had other ensigns before. I wonder if there were burgees to match.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 7 April 2018

This is a moot point, and there are a couple factors to consider. Did, for example, the original application for an Admiralty Warrant contain an illustration, because if it did the crown in question was almost certainly the then current Imperial State Crown, and if so, does this mean that the club should continue to use such a crown even though the official type was changed in 1902 (to the Tudor Crown) and 1952 (to the St Edward’s Crown)?

The current situation seems to be that the several yacht clubs who feature a crown on their badges use the current official pattern regardless of the date of any appropriate warrant (although they are not legally obliged to do so), and there are no official objections (at least ones we are aware of) to the practice.
Christopher Southworth, 8 April 2018