The Curatorial Standing Committee consists of volunteers –a Chair, an Archives Manager and a number of volunteers – dedicated to preserving the history of the Club. The committee manages an archives to:
a. collect and preserve materials which illustrate the growth and development of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club
b. classify, index, catalogue, and safely store all materials deposited therein
c. make materials available to club members and researchers
d. increase knowledge, understanding, and awareness of the RVYC to members and the public
e. prevent loss of historically significant material by providing adequate and appropriate conditions for storage, protection and preservation of archival material
The RVYC Archives was established in 1989 to gather information for "A Century of Sailing", the yacht club history published in 1992, the centennial year. Archives collections include photos and artwork, newspaper clippings, files and documents related to events and club business, plans, audio interviews, videos and DVDs, membership lists, boat records, trophy records, obituaries and biographies, meeting minutes, newsletters, and annuals. There is a small collection of artifacts, but there is no formal provision for a museum.
Donations of archival material are welcomed under conditions spelled out in the Gift Donation form which must accompany every acquisition.
The Committee meets once a month and members are assigned to various projects. Volunteers are always needed.
The Wheel from HMCS Rainbow
HMCS Rainbow was an Apollo class light cruiser built in 1891 at Palmers in England. She was the seventh in line to carry the name and served in the British Navy from 1893 to 1910. The first Rainbow was launched in 1586.
In 1910 she was acquired from Britain as one of Canada’s first two naval vessels (the other being HMS Niobe), following the passing in parliament of the Naval Services Bill which created the Canadian Navy.
Representative of its class it grossed 3600 tons, was 300 ft. (91 m) in length, 44 ft. (13 m) in beam, 16’6” (5 m) in draught, had a maximum service speed of 20 knots and carried a complement of 273.
To the Admiralty Rainbow was obsolescent, but to the infant Canadian Navy it was to prove useful as a training ship and patrol vessel.
Virtually all her Canadian service was spent on the west coast, prior to the 1914-18 Great War as a patrol vessel to harass American fishermen poaching within the three-mile limit, and during the Great War cruising as far south as Mexico, training men and searching out enemy supply ships.
In 1917 HMCS Rainbow began her paying-off period, and in 1920 she was sold to Nieder and Marcus of Seattle for conversion to an ore carrier. With her went the wheel. Apparently officials at Esquimalt realized the wheel’s historical value and on being approached by the then Commander-in-Charge, the firm returned, free of charge, the ship’s wheel from the emergency steering position aft. The “wheel” actually consisted of three separate wheels mounted on a single shaft so that extra hands could be closed up in heavy weather. Esquimalt received the three wheels with one ending up in Ottawa at the Canadian War Museum, one in the wardroom at HMCS Naden, and after a few years lying about Dockyard, in 1925 one was given to the yacht club.
Inscribed on each wheel, in gold letters on a white background, were the battle honours garnered by previous warships of the same name. The yacht club wheel (the forward one of the three) has inscribed: Frigate Hancock, 1777 (captured from the Americans), and Hebe (a 40-gun French frigate captured in 1782).
The wheel was first mounted above the front door of the clubhouse where it began to weather badly; someone then repainted it; then around 1930 Bev Acland and Cliff Adams brought the wheel indoors, scraped the paint, varnished it, and mounted the wheel above the fireplace.
- 1967 RVYC Annual, “Twelve spokes and twenty knots”, Don Taylor
- F.V. Longstaff, Major, Maritime Committee of the BC Historical Association; 11 May 1929, “Rainbow” information prepared for RVYC
The Lipton Cup
Sir Thomas Johnstone Lipton, 1st Baronet, KCVO (1848-1931) was a Scotsman of Ulster-Scots parentage who was a self-made man, merchant, and yachtsman. He created the Lipton tea brand and was the most persistent challenger in the history of the America's Cup. Sir Thomas Lipton was a supporter of international yachting in many ways besides his participation in the America's Cup.
The full name of the trophy is the Sir Thomas Lipton Perpetual Trophy (should not be confused with Seattle Yacht Club's Lipton Trophy).
Victoria's Lipton Cup and RVYC1
In December 1912 Sir Thomas Lipton was visiting Victoria and staying at the Empress Hotel. He was impressed with Victoria and British Columbia and their potential as assets to the British empire, and also the potential for Victoria becoming a centre for international yacht racing. Once the Panama Canal was open in 1915 he could see the possibility of sailing his Shamrock III to Victoria. The Colonist reported that "it may be taken for granted that when the next regatta of the Victoria Yacht Club comes around, there will be a Lipton Cup". Sir Thomas did present a cup, but he donated it to the city rather than the yacht club. (He also donated Lipton Cups to Seattle and San Diego.)
In an effort to promote the yachting scene the city chose to support a maritime Carnival Week in August 1913. RVYC was asked to take complete charge of all water events. It was hoped by the club that this would be a chance to revive competition amongst Seattle, Vancouver and Victoria yachtsmen.
Just before the carnival was to start a cable was received from Sir Thomas Lipton informing the Carnival Committee that the cup could not be completed in time for the carnival. A sketch was posted which would have to suffice for presenting to the Lipton Cup race winner. The race was sailed with very light winds and was won by Spirit I of Vancouver.
The city decided to abandon the idea of sponsoring maritime festivals and in December 1913 deeded the Lipton Cup to RVYC.
For 1914 the club invited yachtsmen from Vancouver and Seattle and other clubs around Puget Sound to participate in a two-day regatta in July. Walter Adams on Truant became the first Victoria winner of the Lipton Cup.
By 1920 yacht club activities were beginning to rebound after the Great War. The Pacific International Yachting Association (PIYA) was formed and Cadboro Bay was chosen for the first post-war race for Victoria's Lipton Cup. Truant was the only Victoria entry and the Seattle Yacht Club sailed away with Victoria's Lipton Cup.
In the 1925 regatta it was "Doc" Harper's heavy displacement Fayth that reveled in the 40 knot winds and was the second Victoria boat to win Victoria's Lipton Cup.
Between 1921 and 1966 (except for 1932-34 and 1941-46) Victoria's Lipton Cup has been won by RVicYC, Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, Seattle Yacht Club and Corinthian Yacht Club. The cup since 1969 has been for RVicYC PHRF racers and awarded to the winner of a 12 mile race off the Victoria waterfront.
The races for the Lipton Cup
The Lipton Cup was deeded to Royal Victoria Yacht Club in December 1913. The intention was to award it to the winner of future international races hosted by the club. But the Great War prevented any regattas being organized between 1914 and 1918.
Between 1919 and 1940 the Lipton Cup was for a longer distance race among "two-stickers" – yawls, ketches and schooners with LWL of 25 to 40 ft. (7.6 m to 12 m) - at PIYA2 regattas. After WW II the race for the cup was at the Maple Bay Labour Day Regatta among CC of A-rated B and C class cruisers. In 1967 RVicYC reverted to having the cup competed for off the waterfront on a course of at least 12 miles (at the Maple Bay Regatta George Pearkes donated a new Lieutenant Governor's Trophy). Between 1972 and 1983, IOR rated boats competed; since then, PHRF rated boats have contended for the cup.
1 Excerpted from "A Century of Sailing", T. Reksten, 1992
PIYA -Pacific International Yachting Association
CC of A – Cruising Club of America
IOR - International Offshore Rule
PHRF – Pacific Handicap Racing Fleet