Club History

Llanbedr and Pensarn Yacht Club
A Brief History of the Club
The First 55 Years (1957 to 2012).
The Club was formed on 20th April 1957 at the inaugural meeting held at the Women’s Institute(Village Hall), Llanbedr. The first Commodore of the Club appointed at this meeting was Sir John Black. Other officers of the Club included; Vice Commodore, Eugene Goodman, Rear Commodore, John Deansley, Joint Secretaries, Peter Goodman & Tom Griffith and Treasurer, Vic Parry. The Club took its title from the name of the railway station at Pensarn Quay, which at that time was known as Llanbedr and Pensarn.

In June 1957 the Club took a lease on an old storage building beside the level crossing at Pensarn Station. This building has subsequently been demolished when it was considered unsafe by Railtrack.
first buildingclubhouse 1964
               The first club building                                                            Clubhouse 1964

In the early 1960s the Club obtained a sublease on the current Clubhouse and dinghy park by the breakwater which was formalised into a long term lease directly with the Crown Commission in 1972. The facilities consisted of the Clubhouse, a narrow slip and a section of sand dune which was used as a dinghy park. The Clubhouse at this time doubled up as both a Clubroom and equipment store.

In setting the objectives for the Club a number of trophies were introduced in 1961 which could be raced for by different classes of boats.

1.      Taki Cup presented by Ken Mann for Silhouette Cruiser races
2.      Comet Cup presented by John Deansley for Heron Class Dinghies
3.      Laurette Cup presented by Tom Griffith for Enterprise Dinghies.

In 1962 there were a total of 67 members counting all individuals including members of families. Club fees were set in ‘guineas’. Individual membership cost £2-2-0 for men, £1-1-0 for women and family member ship costing £4-4-0.

In 1965 the Club assisted in a project to restore the St. Tanwg Church, Llandanwg. Work carried out by Club members included assisting with the excavation of sand which was engulfing the seaward side of the Church. The Club also had a new church door manufactured and presented to the Church as part of the works.

Over the next few years the Club looked for another premises as a Clubhouse . Various options considered were the renting properties in Llandanwg, a Pullman carriage at Pensarn and even a floating concrete barge. In 1968 the Club obtained planning permission to erect an equipment store in the Club compound and work was carried out to erect it in 1969. Gabion baskets were also purchased and filled with rocks to protect the lagoon edge of the Club compound in a work party in 1969 and are still present to this day. The main building then became the official Clubhouse.
Equipment Shed Event in 1970
      New Equipment Shed and Clubhouse 1969            Club Evening Event in 1970

The Club had an arrangement with the tenant of the Quay to access the quay for mooring purposes, parking of cars, launching and recovering boats off the half tide slip and winter storage of some boats.

Changes at Pensarn Station in 1970 resulted in new railway gates being erected and locked. The Club was provided with one key (held by the Commodore) or alternatively could borrow a key from the resident person in the house on the Pensarn Quay. Following negotiations by Vic Parry a small piece of land was rented on the right of the road leading up to the crossing gates as a car park accommodating about six cars to reduce the amount of traffic using the crossing.

In 1971 the slipway at the Clubhouse which had been little more than the width of a launching trolley, was doubled in width with the inclusion of a central timber catwalk.

Also in 1971, Vic Parry, who had served as Treasurer of the Club since its formation, stepped down from the role and was appointed to be the Club’s first President. A notable member of the Club at this time was Sir Geoffrey Taylor who invented the CQR anchor and tested it in the lagoon.

Various attempts were made to purchase the Clubhouse over the years from the Crown Marine Commissioners (later Estates), principally lead by John Parkes. Whilst they were prepared to issue the Club a 15 year renewal lease in 1972, they were not prepared to consider an outright sale of the property.

Pensarn Quay
Pensarn Quay, Railway Station and First Clubhouse (on right) in 1974

The Club embarked on a major investment in 1974 to construct a new slipway at Pensarn Quay. Lead by Vic Parry and assisted by, Jack Bradburn, John Parry and Chris Boss, the aim was to provide access to the river and launching facilities for boats on a wider range of tides than the existing half tide slip on the quay. The work was completed with a concrete apron placed in 1975.

Laurette in the half tide slip at Pensarn 1964 (The dinghy trophy is named after this boat)

Concern had been raised over the sea coming over the breakwater and scouring/flooding round the boathouse. Plans were put in place to build a perimeter storm wall around the picnic area which could also act as a windbreak. The work was carried out in 1976 by a local contractor.

In 1977 the facilities at Pensarn Quay were sold to the Northampton Association of Youth Clubs and the Club opened negotiations to establish a new set of arrangements with the owners for access to the Quay, slip and river. Prior to the sale for some time, the Club had been involved in ongoing negotiations with the previous owners to secure the Club’s position at the Quay. Up until this time, the arrangement had been operated through a sub lease from the previous tenant. Negotiations continued for some time and at one point the Club was asked if they would be interested in the purchase of the quay. The offer was reluctantly declined as the Club did not have the financial resources to meet such a commitment.

A sector light was purchased by the Club in 1980 and erected on Shell Island as a navigational aid on the entrance. It has subsequently been included as a navigational light on Admiralty charts by Trinity House who inspect it annually. The operation of this light was transferred to Shell Island in the mid 1980s.

Navigation marks have been an ongoing issue for the Club. In the early years of the Club the responsibility to organise posts and buoys fell to David Burton and later to Edwyn Lewis. Timber posts were placed in barrels as the three leading entrance marks, and whilst they had given sterling service over the years, there had been a need for maintenance and replacement at work parties. In 1989 Mike Senior obtained a set of steel lighting columns which were erected with the hope that they would require less maintenance. Two of the original set are still standing to this day.

In 1990 a road improvement at Pensarn resulted in the loss of the car park and parking at Pensarn became a problem. Once the road works were completed the Club was able to rent the land on the other side of the Quay access for use as a car park.

The Club’s lease was due for renewal in 1996 with the Crown Marine Estates. At a meeting with the agent, the subject of a moorings agreement in the estuary was introduced along with the potential purchase of the Clubhouse. A long and protracted negotiation then commenced. John Ball acted as the point of contact for the Club throughout the process which eventually lead to the purchase of the Clubhouse area in 2005 and the establishment of a moorings agreement in 2009 (backdated to 2006).

Around 2000, Colin Mackie introduced a website for the Club to make information more accessible to members.

The Club embarked on its next major project in 2011 with the reroofing of the Clubhouse. The roof was removed by Club members at a work party and the rafters replaced by a team of joiners from the Club lead by Owen Watkin. An outside contractor was then employed to fix the slates.
rafters Finished Roof
      New rafters fixed 2011                                                Finished Roof 2011

The most recent project in 2012 was the repair to the slip at Pensarn. Erosion had taken place to the sides of the slip and at the same time there was a need to increase the apron width to make it easier to launch larger craft. Work was completed over three phases between April and May 2012.
sleepers phase 3
      Phase 1, sleepers placed April 2012                             Phase 3, finished

Club membership has increased over the years and at the end of 2011 it stands at 314 members made up of men, women and children in 131 member units (individuals or families count as single units). This compares with 67 members in 1962. Any further information or photographs welcome. Please contact the club secretary.
Club Commodores
1957Sir John Black1976Arnold Skelton2004John Ball
1959Eugene Goodman1977Will Owen2005Keith Stubbs
1961Ken Man1979Bill Steventon2006
1964Tom Griffiths1983Chris Meaden2007Richard Duffill
1966David Burrows1985John Conolly2009Bill Stacey
1967John Parkes1987Colin mackie2011J Trevor Powell MBE
1970David Burton1989David Lampert2015Brian Griffin
1971Hank Howell1991John Ball2019Keith Baker
1972Alan Mould1995Fred Boothman2021Eric Arkinstall
1973Richard Ball1999
1974Ann Parkes2000Bill Stacey
Honorary Presidents
1972Vic Parry
2000John Parkes
2016J Trevor Powell MBE
History by John Ball