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A Fowey Jig-Saw


The History of the Royal Fowey Yacht Club

Compiled by Joan Coombs


This story of the Royal Fowey Yacht Club from its foundation in 1894 until the year 2000 will be of interest to anyone who has discovered the charm of the harbour of Fowey.

Fortunately many have written of their affection for the town and river providing the jigsaw pieces that when put together make up this picture which has changed very little during the last one hundred years.

Most ardent in his appreciation of Fowey was Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch a talented and prolific writer of his day. He was the longest serving Commodore of the Royal Fowey Yacht Club and remained in office from 1911 until his death in 1944.

When Arthur Quiller-Couch visited Fowey for the first time at the age of 16 he was enchanted. Later he wrote:

" That night before undressing I stood long and gazed on the harbour, the track of the moon on its water, the riding lights of two or three small schooners at anchor in the shadow of the farther shore and decided that this were no bad place in which to live. And this is all I need to say here of my first acquaintance with the upper and lower reaches of an estuary, the tides of which time has since woven so close into the pulse of my own life that memory cannot now separate the rhythms."

By 1891 he had made his home in Fowey. He was known to his friends as Q which was his pen name.

Q and his wife Louie (a Fowey girl) and their baby son Bevil moved to the Haven on the Esplanade the following year. It was to be their home for the rest of their lives.

Q quickly established himself in the life of the town. Early on he was an energetic Secretary of the Yacht Club and active in steering it towards its present establishment in the clubhouse at the waters edge.

The coming of the railway to the West Country led to the development of tourism and yachting and increased prosperity for Fowey.

Q was a gregarious and popular man who attracted many of his Fleet Street friends to Fowey including Kenneth Grahame who wrote "Wind in the Willows" and J.M. Barrie who wrote "Peter Pan".

The histories of the R.F.Y.C. and Edwardian Fowey are intertwined. This account of them should give pleasure to all who love Fowey.


For those wanting a copy of Joan Coombs' book, please contact the office.