Club History

Club History

A Letter on Club History

A letter from a former member was received by the Commodore. It's a little snippet of our Club History and we thought it interesting enough to publish here.





I have just been having a look at your web page and reminiscing about when I first became involved with CMYC. My grandfather, Ellis Buckingham, built an A class yacht which I helped him sail when I was about 11 yrs old. He then built a yacht for my brother (can't remember the class) and I spent all my weekends at Victoria Lake.


About that time, when Ron Guthrie was Mayor, and patron of the club, he said he would like to see women compete. What an opportunity! My grandfather and Gavin Britt, built a marblehead for me, all fibreglass, called Lorelei, reg no: 77 and I was off!


I had a fantastic time each weekend at the club, made lots of good friends, yes, all male, and some considerably older than me and ended up winning several competitions. A year or two later Mrs Tillman also started to compete as both her husband and son belonged to the club. My brother and I both sold our yachts, but he still has our grandfathers "A" class. I doubt it will ever be sailed again but it has too many memories to let go.


In the history part of your page there is a question mark as to when vane sailing ended. I think it would have been mid-late 70's as I remember that Peter Platt put remote control into his marblehead around that time, and it was about then that I ceased to compete, and sold Lorelei, as I moved to Invercargill for a while and then came back to ChCh to marry.



Sue Bowie (nee Taylor) "


We thank you Sue for sending us this little snippet of history and wish you well, and, if you are at Hagley Park on a sailing day, please do call in and make yourself known to us.

CMYC History

The beginnings

Christchurch City has a particularly English flavour. The first settlement of the area was sponsored by the Canterbury Association through the Church of England and advertised by Anglican Parishes in Britain as a means of escape from the hard times that many were facing. England was going through a difficult period and many sought a new life in the Colonies.

Establisy sought a new life in the Colonies. hed in 1850, Christchurch grew rapidly and flourished, sport and recreation became popular among its citizens.

The plans of the city were drawn up for the Canterbury Association by  Captain Joseph Thomas and his assistant Edward Jollie to include large parklands that would cater for the recreation of citizens and to imitate the great English parks of “home”.  One of the features that English park designers loved was ornamental lakes e.g. the Serpentine and the Round Pond in Hyde Park and it wasn’t long before the citizens of Christchurch constructed their own lake in Hagley Park and named it Victoria after Queen Victoria the current Monarch . A smaller lake that adjoined Victoria was named Albert after Prince Albert the Queen’s consort.

The beginning of  model yachting came about on 17th June 1898 when a group of  men held a meeting in Warner’s Hotel and resolved to form a club based on Lake Victoria to be called the “Christchurch Model Yacht Club” and to meet again in 1 weeks time to form a constitution and elect officers.

From these beginnings over a century ago the Club has waxed and waned, a couple of world wars, an epidemic, several economic depressions  plus a little of the infighting that all clubs will experience over time but sailing has always continued. Luckily things never got to the terminal stage and this has come about through wise and sensible leadership over the years.


Classes sailed

1898 – 1950’s – freesailing yachts 4’6” long and controlled by a balanced rig with the addition use of a guy to allow an automatic tack in the first beat, the next tack being a manual turn from the bank The boat was then turned when it reached the top of the lake, sail adjustments made and then sent on the run back.

1950 - ? Vane sailed yachts, Marbleheads were introduced and these brought about a resurgence of interest and many more members.

Present day – Radio controlled yachts  Marblehead,1Metre, EC 12, and latterly the very popular Canterbury Js

The current large increase in membership due to the J’s ability to sail satisfactorily in weedy conditions.

Club sailing days are Wednesdays, commencing at 10.00 am and featuring “around the lake” races, very popular, social and well attended.

Saturdays are our normal racing days sailing Olympic type courses with sailing rules strictly adhered to.

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