History in detail

A Brief History of Broadstairs Sailing Club

Broadstairs Sailing Club was first conceived in September 1935 when Harry Dipple (the founding Commodore) met and discussed the question with Archibald Boult, and his two sons Stewart and David. Further meetings were held early in 1936, and the Officers of the Club were appointed. Some racing took place in the summer of 1936, but it was not until 1937 that racing really got underway and a programme organised.

At that time the majority of boats had no buoyancy and, of course, crews virtually never wore life jackets if they could swim, and we did not have safety boats.  Sailing dress in those days was canvas shoes, shorts and anorak, as it was possible, if necessary, to swim in these until rescued by another dinghy or perhaps a passing motor-boat.

In 1958 our first Safety Boat was built, this was a 15 ft hard chine Bass Boat, and was powered 4 HP Seagull engine.  This boat gave good service until 1963. This was later replaced by a succession of 2 ex Trinity House 18 ft boarding boats, until the first of our modern rescue boats, a 17 ft Dory, was purchased in 1973. The first RIB was purchased in 1989 and the Club now boasts a fleet of 3 5m RIB’s providing excellent safety cover for all Club activities.

In the early days all the boats had to be left on moorings, and boat trailers and launching trolleys were virtually non-existent. Later, small boats were allowed to park along the jetty facing the boat-house, and later still the Club constructed a compound on the beach below the boat-house. It was not until 1972, after the undercliff promenade had been built, that we eventually got our present dinghy park. The slipway from the pier onto the beach was designed and constructed by Club members and is still in regular use today.

Races were initially started from a small roped-off area at the end of the jetty until the original “Puffin’s Perch” was constructed under the shelter. This was replaced by the current Race Office when the shelter was re-built and more recently, access has been provided by a purpose-built staircase.

When the Club was first formed we did not have a Clubhouse and used to meet in the Droit office adjoining the cafe opposite the Tartar Frigate, and after the war the Committee met in the back room of the Crown Inn. The first Clubhouse was a large wooden hut in the garden of the Esplanade Hotel (now the site of Copperfield Court), and we acquired this and started a bar in 1948. In 1951 the loft above the garage in Alexandra Road became available and with a lot of hard work put in by Club members became a quite attractive Clubhouse and bar. Our present Clubhouse in Harbour street was acquired in 1957, first rented from Broadstairs Council and eventually purchased in 1982. Since 2000 all areas have undergone significant refurbishment and we are currently waiting to begin an extension to the male changing room to provide much needed extra space.

Should you want to know more about the history of BSC, more detailed documents are available