Ullswater Yacht Club
By Sue Giles
How it all began
Sailing conditions on Ullswater were excellent with a fresh breeze from the North-west when seven boats and their crews launched themselves into history on Sunday, July 13, 1958.
Five boats eventually crossed the finishing line off Howtown in the first yacht club race ever held on the lake.
It had all started earlier that year when friends Harold Couzens and Joe Harrison were in conversation at the bar in the Edenhall Hotel, Edenhall. They both loved to spend their spare time pottering around on the lake in boats and decided to form a club.
They placed an advert in the Cumberland and Westmorland Herald, on March 4, 1958, inviting anyone interested in forming a club to write to them. They were delighted with the response and eighty people, motorboat owners and sailors, turned up at the Queen’s Head, Tirril, on April 10, 1958, to officially form the Ullswater Motor Boat and Yacht Club (UMBYC).
Thwaitehill Bay - an ideal site
Secretary Harold Couzens was driving home from Howtown one night when he saw Mr Allen bailing hay in his lakeside field at Thwaitehill Bay.
He thought it would be an ideal place for a club, so he stopped and asked the farmer straight away. Negotiations were successful and working parties started on Boxing Day to prepare the new site for the 1959 season.
The club burgee
The club burgee had been specially chosen to reflect the range of craft in the club, a golden winged horse on a blue background. The horse represented the motor section, the wings, sailing, and blue, the water.
But in January 1959, after a heated debate, the committee decided to accept no-one to the club with a boat that could exceed 10 knots.
At the first annual general meeting in March 1959, the emphasis was switched entirely to sail and motorboat was dropped from the name, leaving simply Ullswater Yacht Club.
A club house - built largely by members
When the sailing season started in 1960, the new clubhouse was ready. It was much admired and is still basically the same today with additions and alterations - and UYC was on the way to becoming a hugely successful sailing club, winner of two national Club of the Year awards.