Portsmouth Sailing Club was founded in 1920. Among the founding members was local artist W. L. Wyllie, famed for his maritime paintings and etchings some of which are on display in the HMS Victory Museum in HM Dockyard.
The Club has been housed at its current premises in Bath Square since 1926 in one of the oldest surviving buildings in Portsmouth. The Clubhouse, a Grade 2 listed building, was constructed in the 1830s and many of the timber beams visible inside are from ships broken up at that time. Before the Club acquired it for the sum of £200 the building had previously served as a Consulate to thirteen different Nations and somewhat less illustriously as a French onion store.
The Club's first cruise was across the Solent to Ryde on the Isle of Wight on 21st of June 1920. In the mid-1990s Portsmouth Sailing Club hosted the Portsmouth fixtures on the Vauxhall Ultra 30 Grand Prix and the Prudential 18ft Skiff calendar and in 2003 provided support for the Mini Pavois Mini 6.5m Class race from La Rochelle to Dordogne via Portsmouth. The Club assisted in the start of the 2004 Global Challenge yacht race, providing support craft and laying the starting area marks.
Most famous however was the popular Pompey Perisher annual open dinghy event run between 1970 and 2002. Started inadvertently in 1970 by club member Don Metcalf as a one-off winter race for local clubs the Perisher snowballed to a national fixture that regularly attracted over 210 dinghies at its peak, bringing entrants from both local clubs and clubs as far away as Berwick in Scotland.
Up until its departure from the harbour in 1987 HMS Foudroyant, the oldest British wooden warship afloat, served as the start boat for races in the Frostbite dinghy series. The ship is now berthed at Hartlepool, restored by club member the late Capt. David Smith OBE FIN RN Elder Brother Trinity House, and has reverted to her original name the HMS Trincomalee.
Last updated 19:15 on 16 September 2020