The oldest yacht club in Asia, the republic of Singapore yacht club has managed to keep going for almost two centuries. It hasn’t always been plain sailing – there were some rough seas along the way.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel


My Reading Room
My Reading Room

THE KEY TO THE LONGEVITY OF the Republic of Singapore Yacht Club (RSYC) comes down to the ability to adapt, according to Commodore Wee Keng Hwee, who was appointed in June 2014. “The Club has always adapted to the evolving needs of its members through the upgrading and expanding of its facilities and we aim to continue to be a world-class marina and yacht club offering state-of-the-art berthing facilities and high service quality standard in the years to come,” he says.

Perhaps another reason why RSYC has thrived is the atmosphere and feeling it gives to members. He says that the Club has a special meaning to himself and many others.

“To me, I feel proud to be a member of the oldest yacht club in Asia and it is like a second home to me. For many older members, they have a similar feeling,” the Commodore says.

RYSC was established as Singapore Yacht Club (SYC) on February 7, 1826, under the presidency of a young Scotsman named Dr William Montgomerie – exactly seven years after Sir Stamford Raffles founded Singapore. Many of the Club’s founding members were the officers and men of Raffles. The RSYC (and its predecessor SYC) was essentially a colonial institution with mostly British members, and had a series of enthusiastic expatriates as Commodores in the first one and a half centuries of its existence.

It included three British Governors – Sir Hugh Clifford, Sir William Goode and Sir Laurence Guillemard – as well as a long list of distinguished civil servants, businessmen and professionals among its leaders.

The first British Governor to serve as Commodore was Sir Laurence until 1927. During the early years of his government, the Club was granted the coveted royal charter by King George V and the Club became known as Royal Singapore Yacht Club.

The first Royal Patron was Prince Edward, Prince of Wales until 1936 when King Edward VIII abdicated and his younger brother King George VI took over a year later. Queen Elizabeth II was the last Royal to hold the title of Patron until 1967 after Singapore gained its independence from Great Britain in 1965.

It wasn’t always easy for the Club throughout its existence and there are two periods in its history where RSYC was inactive. In 1897, the RSYC was merged with Singapore Rowing Club and its members became honorary members of the young and vibrant rowing club. However in July 1919, when Singapore was celebrating its centenary, 32 sailing enthusiasts and former members met at Singapore Cricket Club and the RYSC was revived with Walter Nutt taking the reigns as Commodore. The second inactive period was unavoidable as it occurred during the Second World War between 1942 and 1945.

In 1966, the Club was regrettably forced to relocate from the Trafalgar Street home to Sungai Pandan / Jalan Buroh, which was not as ideal a location. The RSYC remained there until 1999, when it moved to the current home on West Coast Ferry Road.

The first Singaporean Patron was appointed in 1967 – President Yusof bin Ishak – but it wasn’t until 1979, nearly 150 years after its creation, that RSYC had its first Asian Commodore, the Malaysian accountant and keen sailor Teo Eng Tat. The Club’s first Singaporean Commodore Francis Lee, another sailing enthusiast, was appointed in 1985. Lee is still active in local sailing circles.

The Club is famous for its annual regatta and it held the first regatta in Singapore on New Year’s Day in 1834. Today, the regatta is the Club’s signature event and is a tradition in the Singapore social and sporting calendars. During the ’90s, the RSYC was preoccupied with relocating and no regatta took place but it has been held annually since July 2000.

Another key event held at the Club is the Singapore Straits Regatta that has been running annually in January since 1995. It is held in rotation with several marinas across Singapore – Raffles Marina, Changi Sailing Club, SAF Yacht Club, Oneº15 Marina Club, Marina @ Keppel Bay and also with Riau Yacht Club at Nongsa Point Marina in Batam, Indonesia.

On August 28, 1999, the club moved to its current location on West Coast Ferry Road and was declared open on June 17, 2000, by former President Ong Teng Cheong. The Club won the architectural SIA Design Award in 2001 for Best Design in recreation category.

The most recent upgrades include a five-storey dry stack building that opened on May 18, 2012, and an extension wing of accommodation started operations in January 2014.

Today the Club has more than 1,700 Members and one of the largest marinas in Southeast Asia with 127 wet berths and 220 dry berths. There are 60 rooms of accommodation, The Wharf family restaurant, The Bridge Bistro & Beacon bar and The Mess & KTV Lounge bars. The facilities also include a resort-style pool, a gym and a tennis court. The location offers easy access to Singapore’s Southern Islands and Indonesia’s Riau Archipelago – both popular boating destinations.

RSYC is affiliated with more than 100 clubs around the world and owns an impressive display of more than 100 trophies including its oldest trophy won at the Beresford Cup in 1874 and the Lipton Challenge Cup won in 1923.

RSYC recently appointed new General Manager Kellvin Ong, although sadly is currently without a Patron after the passing of former Patron and President of Singapore S.R. Nathan (on August 22, 2016) who had served since 2003. Honorary Members of the Club include His Royal Highness Sultan Ibrahim Ismail of Johor, Professor S Jayakumar, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, Dr Tan Cheng Bock and S Iswaran.

Looking to the future, Commodore Wee says he feels a “responsibility as head of the organisation to ensure the Club stays viable and vibrant as a premier sport and recreational club in Singapore”.

Though there are no solid plans currently in place, by the 200th anniversary in 10 years, he predicts the Club will probably have more space for megayacht berthing.

As for what makes RSYC so special, for Commodore Wee it’s simple: “History and heritage. It carries the name of our country.”

My Reading Room
My Reading Room
My Reading Room
My Reading Room
My Reading Room
My Reading Room
My Reading Room
My Reading Room
This page from top: Heritage book launch at 2000; The RSYC officially open at west coast; Visited by Prince Albert II of Monaco, Visited by King Harold V of Norway.
This page from top: Heritage book launch at 2000; The RSYC officially open at west coast; Visited by Prince Albert II of Monaco, Visited by King Harold V of Norway.


Commodore: Wee Keng Hwee

Address: 52 West Coast Ferry Road, Singapore 126887

Co-ordinates: (WGS 84) Lat 01° 17.6’N Long 103° 45.7’E


Tel: +65 6768 9288

Fax: +65 6768 9280