April 20, 2016
The Berthon Lymington Shipyard has been around since Roman times, supplying nine ships for the Defence of the Realm, and later rather un-glamorously described by owner John Coombes as ‘that piece of mud or sea oozy land’ in 1667.
The full description was:
‘All that piece of mud or sea oozy land, bounded on the North by the town slip, on the East by the sea or river, and on the West by the King’s highway.’ Estate agents obviously weren’t what they are today!
Bought by Thomas Inman in 1819, the yard was busy building custom cutters and gentlemen’s sailing yachts.
In 1918, Harry May (pictured above) bought the shipyard, then the following year re-located the Rev E L Berthon’s ‘Berthon Boat Company’ started 1877, from Romsey.
In 1914 the Lymington Scow was finding its feet as a suitable boat for the river, and not some 300 yards away, the Royal Lymington Yacht Club (then Lymington River Sailing Club) was formed – but the start of the war closed it down.
Note: Between 1921 and 1948 it is reckoned that Berthon had built over 200 Scows. This helped form the basis for a thriving interest in leisure boating on the Lymington River which is still alive today.
In 1922 the club was revived, the first Commodore was Major Cyril Potter – under his leadership the club quickly gained strength, finding a home in 1923 in a former coastguard boathouse.
Their first Admiralty warrant would be granted soon after in December 1925 – making them the Lymington Yacht Club the following April. And in 1926 they applied for their Royal Warrant – the privilege of which would not be granted until much later in 1938.
Sawmill, Sparshop and Joiners Shop destroyed. Sea Forth House damaged. 26th June 1942.
After use during the Second World War by the Auxiliary Fire Service (manned largely by Berthon shipwrights who were building MTB’s for the Navy & Motor Fishing Vessels for Mediterranean deployment by the Secret service), they reopened their doors 21st July 1945 – and the development of this vibrant place where so many yachtsman have enjoyed its warmth, atmosphere and commitment to yachting has continued ever since.
Their archives say:
‘The building continued to expand over the years, although seriously constrained by the boundaries of our freehold. The result could perhaps never be judged an aesthetic triumph, but the views to the south and east are amongst the best in the Solent’.
Over the years, Berthon has also seen change with the marina, new boatyard facility and a pretty outstanding view!
What has not changed has been the family feel of the business, the commitment to train youngsters throughout the business and the love of yachting and the River Lym.
Like Berthon the RLYC still lives by their founding objective – to encourage and promote yachting in all its aspects, and to maintain and clubhouse and such other facilities for members. Remaining a VERY active sailing club – with many former Olympic, Admiral’s Cup and America’s Cup sailor members, and successful representation in many national and international classes. They are also a `go to’ club for top class race management.
Like all yacht clubs, the Royal Lym is the sum of its members and is always on the lookout for new motoring and sailing members to participate in the life of the Club and to enjoy the great facilities, awesome view and the camaraderie of sharing a common interest with other yachtsmen, in being out on the water.
They have asked us to extend an invitation to all those who aren’t already members, to go along and join them to learn more about the Royal Lym and to decide if you’d like to join them. There are open days:
Weekend – April 22nd – 23rd 2016
Weekend – May 6th – 7th 2016
Weekend – May 27th – 28th 2016
From the Friday AM to the close of play on the Saturday evening. Whether just to have a drink or to eat in the restaurant. On each of these Saturdays at 18.30 they will also be hosting an informal drinks party where they hope you will come and meet some of them.
12/05/2015. Royal Lymington Yacht Club pictured left, Berthon Boat Company right.