Greenwich Yacht Club does its bit for 200 year-old RNLI with fundraising race

Greenwich Yacht Club, based near the Thames Barrier, celebrated the RNLI’s 200th anniversary of saving lives at sea with a fundraising yacht race on Saturday.

The fundraising included a race entry fee, sales of uniquely branded polo and t-shirts, an online prize challenge to win a two-night stay for two at the Hampton by Hilton hotel in Canterbury, and a Race Day raffle.

When all the funds have been received, Greenwich Yacht Club expects to hand over more than £1,000 to its local Tower Lifeboat Station.

The main event was a race downriver and back, shortened on the day due to light winds. Of 11 starters, just two boats completed the course under sail. After more than four hours’ sailing, the adjusted time difference between them was a mere 13 seconds.

The winner’s trophy, a ship’s decanter donated by Davy’s Wine Merchants of Greenwich, was presented to race winner Jo Wightman and her crew by Greenwich Yacht Club’s oldest member, 94 year-old Stan Payne.

In attendance were Stephen Wheatley of the Tower Lifeboat Station, and the Deputy Mayor of Greenwich, councillor Linda Bird.

“It was a very demanding set of racing conditions, though supporting the RNLI made us more determined to complete the course,” said Jo Wightman.

The RNLI’s Tower Lifeboat station is one of only four that is manned 24/7, partly by a small professional crew plus a roster of 60 volunteers. It is the busiest station in the country, and was the first RNLI station to make over 10,000 callouts.

Greenwich Yacht Club was founded in 1908 to provide sailing and social facilities for workers on the River Thames. Today it is a Community Amateur Sports Club with a strong self-help ethos of being run by members for the benefit of members.

It is an RYA Training Centre, and provides opportunities for yacht and dinghy sailing, powerboating, and rowing in nine-seater cutters.

In 2025, Greenwich Yacht Club will celebrate 25 years in its award-winning clubhouse which is built on a platform out in the River Thames.

Prospective new members, whether boat owners or not, whether experienced or keen to learn, are warmly welcome in the clubhouse’s fully stocked bar on Tuesday evenings.

Pictured top: Trophy presentation after the race (right to left): Charlotte Mitchell, crew member on the winning boat; in the background, Clive Reffell, event co-ordinator; Stephen Wheatley from Tower Lifeboat Station; Mateo Szmuilowicz, race winner’s son; Jo Wightman, race winner; Linda Bird, Deputy Mayor of Greenwich; Stan Payne, Greenwich Yacht Club’s oldest member. (Picture: Greenwich Yacht Club)

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Everyone at the South London Press thanks you for your continued support.

Former Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing:


If you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can make a donation which will allow us to continue to bring stories to you, both in print and online. Or please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.