Tankerton Bay Sailing Club - Kent

Club History

"On a July afternoon (in 1961) a group of people who were friends, on the beach, some of whom owned boats, got together and organised a scratch race. There were about a dozen boats, including an Essex One Design (E.O.D.), a GP 14, a Windward, an Eleven Plus, and a National 12, most of which we never see now. The timekeeper and handicapper was Arnold Langham. From this modest beginning our club has grown." (Extract from an 'appreciation' of founder member and former Vice President, the late Arnold Langham appearing in Whiplash No.31 December 1971)

Children of those who in time went on to found or later join Tankerton Bay Sailing Club recall that in the mid to late '50s the beach at Tankerton was a hugely popular place for local families to gather and socialise whenever the weather turned warm - much as happens now - and while mothers in those days generally kept an eye on the kids as they played on the pebbles and paddled in the water, many of the fathers with boats or friends with boats would 'suit up' and disappear off sailing. A number of the families also owned or had the use of the beach huts immediately to the West of today's clubhouse, and the records show that on race days one of these (No. 11), owned by the Club's first Secretary, Jack Clarke and his wife Mary, served as a makeshift Committee HQ for a period after the Club was formed by these same free-sailing friends in the late Summer of 1962.

According to Jack's son Howard, the main reason for forming the Club was because the people using the beach felt that the other clubs in the area focused too much on racing, and they also didn't like the idea of only being able to sail certain classes of boat; they also wanted a more relaxed type of club. At TBSC in the early days, and the same is true today, people had all types of boats, ranging from dinghies like Fireballs, Mirrors, Ospreys, GP14s and Enterprises, to the plywood Shearwater catamaran first conceived by Geoffrey Prout and his sons Ronald and Francis in 1935.

An archive covering all six decades of the Club's history to this point is currently being compiled and will begin to appear on these pages in the coming months. If you have any photographs showing life at the Club in, in particular, the 1960s through to the 1980s or perhaps even have club memorabilia or stories from this period that you're happy to share with us then please do contact Barry Sheffield at training@tbsc.co.uk   

Click Here For Club Archive (then click on individual decades highlighted in blue)


Compiled largely while in 'lockdown' during the Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020

Editor: Barry Sheffield

Senior Style Editor: Hannah Richards

Chief Field Archivist: Margaret (Mags) Greenway



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