The BSDC was inaugurated in 1925 for 10 to 18 year olds.
The first Captain was Charlie Ricardo, the Hon Treasurer was Ralph Gore and David Niven was the Hon Secretary. They attracted 27 members in the first year and they sailed the Bembridge Dinghy – a 12 foot, clinker-built dinghy with a mast stepped forward in the boat and a mainsail.

After the war, the Club started up again sailing the pre-war Bembridge Dinghies, as new boats were unobtainable. The subscription was 10 shillings and members of the BSDC were limited to the area that we now use as the Scow Park, where they had their own Club House.  They were not allowed into the Club premises until they reached the age of 18!  They had daily races organised by the Club Captain, Miss Evelyn Moreton.

In the early 1950s, they eventually graduated to sailing Scows.  There were no courses or formal training, there was simply a daily race, which was started from a shore-based starting box positioned on top of the HMS Victory mast that ran along the front edge of the dinghy park.
Everything was done on a purely voluntary basis and safety boats were almost unheard of!

In the early 1960s, there were often 30 or more boats out racing (split into 3 classes A, B & C) and more often than not, the only safety boat was “Poof” Samuelson in “Puffin”.
For the older age group, there was regular racing initially in Fireflys and then 420s, which they often sailed to Whitecliff Bay.

In the early 1970s, interest in the BSDC waned to such an extent that the Club went into hibernation, emerging again in 1987 under the leadership of Peter Samuelson and June Mackinnon.

Meanwhile, in January 1977, Harry Porter hosted a meeting of parents with children aged 9-16 and the idea of holding a ‘Pony Club Camp’ on water was agreed and ‘Cadet Week; was born.
It launched a new approach to Cadet sailing and was held as a joint venture with BHYC until 1996.  It was run by an independent Committee with the Cadets sailing Scows and Mirrors.
Pepe Stratton, Peter Romer-Lee, Linda Janson, David Cockburn and Billy Fortescue were some of the original instructors and Rory Musker used his launch to ferry Cadets between the Clubs and Under Tyne.
A great many friendships were made between the two Clubs. However in 1997, BHYC decided to start their own Dinghy Week, so Cadet Week was subsumed by the BSDC.

Peter Truman introduced Laser Week to the BSDC in 1991. Twenty eight Cadets from the BSDC and BHYC joined together with William James as their Chief Instructor.  It was fun, but strictly run and any misdemeanour was met with press-ups on the slipway as punishment!

Our top sailors have been competing in the Cowes Dinghy Regatta at Gurnard (the pinnacle of a Cadet’s sail training prior to becoming an Instructor) every July since 2005.  In addition some of our cadets have sailed at National and World Sailing Events.

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