The Orwell was very early in the century a home for yachting. The Orwell Club was flourishing there perhaps as far back as 1830, and the signal-book of 1840 is still extant, whilst the minute-books are known to be in existence.
A historical picture painted by Russell exists, representing a race in September of the year 1841. This picture was afterwards in the possession of Mr. Joseph Turner, an Ipswich collector, who offered it as a prize to be sailed for on a day exactly fifty years after the race it depicted. The race was sailed on September 16, 1891, and the picture was won by Mr. W. P. Burton, with Lollypop.
Sport was carried on with activity on the Orwell in the fifties, but in the sixties the club appears to have drifted into a mere annual regatta with rowing matches, and the Commodores had become Presidents. A little later the river became a yachting centre, and on July 3, 1888, the club was restarted. A meeting took place at the Town Hall, Ipswich, under the presidency of the Mayor (R. M. Millar, Esq.), when Captain Berners, of Woolverstone Park, was elected Commodore, Mr. Edward Packard, jun., Vice-Commodore, and Mr. A. F. Penraven Hon. Secretary. Upon Mr. Berners declining to take the office of Commodore on account of his age, Mr. Packard was elected the first Commodore, Mr. B. H. Burton Vice-Commodore, and Mr. Roger Kerrison Rear-Commodore. It was decided to make it a Corinthian club, to be called the Orwell Corinthian Yacht Club. The burgee was chosen—a red seahorse rampant (the Ipswich Borough arms) on a white ground with a red border. The burgee of the old Orwell Yacht Club was plain blue with a white cross, similar to that of the Royal Thames, but without the crown.