This club will attain its jubilee this year, having been founded in 1857. It, however, may be said to have descended from the now defunct Royal Western Yacht Club of Ireland, which had a club-house in Dublin and a club-yacht stationed at Kingstown in the middle of the last century. When we compare the ages of some of the Irish clubs with those of many prominent organizations in England, and reflect how comparatively juvenile some of these English ones are, we become impressed with the fact that yachting, in its earlier days was more ardently pursued in Ireland than in England.
The Royal Alfred is quite Corinthian in character, and carries the Corinthian spirit into all its racing. The smaller-class yachts which sail under its burgee are manned by amateurs and in its regattas the number of paid hands aboard the bigger boats is limited. Thus, in a race for 52-footers the professional crew is reduced to that extent that it is necessary to fill the vacancies so created with amateurs, of which there are plenty of the keenest in Dublin Bay.
Excellent as any rule is which fosters the amateur spirit, the rigid enforcement of it is not without its disadvantages in the case 0f visiting craft. In 1906 one of the 52-footers did not start on account of this rule. The club has many challenge cups in its possession, all of which are keenly coveted. Money prizes are added to these, and also tankards for each amateur in the crews engaged, together with prizes for the amateur helmsman. There is usually a day’s racing under the burgee of the Royal Alfred at the annual regatta at Kingstown, in conjunction with either the Royal St. George or the Royal Irish, as the case may be. The club has always attracted the most enthusiastic yachtsmen in the district. The Earl of Dudley, the late Viceroy, owned a boat in one of the small classes, and was a keen sailor.
The post of Commodore is held by H.R.H. the Duke of Connaught. Mr. Henry Crawford is Vice-Commodore, and the Hon. Justice Boyd is Rear-Commodore, both these officers taking a prominent part in the club’s racing throughout the season. The Royal Alfred is a purely sporting club, and has, therefore, no club-house.