The Tasmanian Yacht Club, the first in Tasmania was founded in Hobart in 1859 but lapsed. Revived in 1861 it again failed because of lack of guidance and support. In 1874, the Derwent Sailing Boat was formed with some 60 members, and in 1876 its name was changed to the Derwent Yacht Club. When this club lost some of its enterprising spirit, the Derwent Sailing Boat Club was resurrected in 1880. This club has continued ever since and is now the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania. In 1884 the name of the club was changed to the Derwent Sailing Club and was again changed back in 1899 to the Derwent Yacht Club. Finally in 1908 a Royal Warrant was granted to “The Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania”. In 1910 the present burgee was designed and approved for use by members.
The Club has had many homes, the first being the Bird-in-the-Hand Hotel where mine host, C. Basstian, presided over the first meeting of members of the Tasmanian Yacht Club in 1859. The next home was the Duke of York Hotel, Battery Point, where W. Tarleton presided at meetings of the Derwent Sailing Boat Club in 1874, but in 1878 the Derwent Yacht Club was back at the Bird-in-the-Hand Hotel. After some turbulent years, another group of yachtsmen, dissatisfied with the progress of yachting, met at the Nautilus Hotel in 1880 and formed what is now the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania. This hotel, for many years known as the Lord Nelson, now carries the name Knopwoods Retreat and is on the corner of Salamanca Place and Montpelier Retreat.
In 1884 the club meetings were held at the Criterion Hotel, and then followed several attempts to establish a permanent home in various hotels and other premises, until in 1910 a clubhouse was acquired in the National Mutual Building in Macquarie Street. In 1913 the club moved to a new home at the corner of Harrington and Davey Streets, and the final move in the club’s first 100 years was to its present situation on Marieville Esplanade in 1955.
So from small beginnings the RYCT has grown to one of the major sporting clubs of Australia, with its precise object of promoting and encouraging yachting in Tasmania, a proud tradition of competitiveness on the water and equally strong tradition of hospitality to all visitors, to the beautiful club-house on the water front and its superb facilities for yachts and their crews.