The Club’s roots can be traced back to a momentous day in May 1935 when a small group gathered in a room over the fruit and vegetable shop in Institute Road. The proprietor of the shop was Mr James Day and the man responsible for convening the meeting, and the Club’s first commodore, was Dr G W S de Jersey.
From the start, the Club’s aims have been to encourage the art of sailing for pleasure and competition. In 1935 this meant racing traditional clinker built craft, without buoyancy aids, life jackets or safety boat cover, an act that demanded considerable seamanship. The winner of the first race was Mr L Hardy.
Since the heady days of 1935, the Club has grown into a vibrant and lively place from which both experienced and novice sailors can enjoy the water. Excellently situated at the southerly end of Swanage Bay, and nestling behind the town’s Victorian pier, the present club stands on the same site used by its forebearers. The old timber clad fishing sheds that served the Club so well have now given way to a purpose built clubhouse with commanding views across the bay.
Opened by the Rt. Hon Edward Heath KG, MBE, MP on the 10th August 1996, the clubhouse provides shower and changing facilities, licensed refreshments and food. The large first floor club room and outside balconies provide a comfortable vantage point from which spectators can watch all the thrills and ‘spills’. The clubhouse has undergone a refurbishment and extension during 2011 & 2012, where we increased the size and modernised the changing facilities, added a dedicated training room and provided a balcony on the sunny side of the club. We also added solar powered electricity and water harvesting for rinsing boats.
Swanage is first and foremost a dinghy sailing club with Wayfarers, Lasers, RS Feva/Vareo/Vision’s and ‘Cats’ making up the mainstay of the fleet. The Club’s ethos remains that of encouraging waterborne sport, be it cruising, racing, or just messing about in boats.
In 2005, Swanage Sailing Club was recognised by the RYA as a teaching establishment and we are now able to award certificates for levels 1, 2 and 3 in the National Dinghy Certificate Scheme, as well as Power Boat levels 1 and 2. As if encouragement was needed, now there is even greater incentive for members to get out on the water, irrespective of their age or ability. Training courses for adults and juniors are run regularly each year, but they are only open to members of the Club.
Our dinghy racing calendar starts in late March and continues through to early November. There is racing every weekend, with ‘Series’ races on Sundays and Cup races on Saturdays, tides permitting. Thursday evening races are also run from April to August. Racing tends to be kept to the confines of the bay, but Cup races can take the fleet as far as Bournemouth Pier. The club also enjoys an active cruising programme.
One of the highlights of the calendar is the Swanage Carnival & Regatta when the club organises open races for visiting sailors. The Regatta coincides with the town’s Carnival so there is always an enjoyable holiday atmosphere and spectacular waterfront fireworks.
As well as sailing, SSC has a full programme of social events running throughout the year. These cater for all ages and tastes.