Origins Of The East Anglian Cruising Club
On the 9th January 1936 Roy Pike, who was Assistant Librarian at the Great Yarmouth Borough Library, gathered, at 72 Marine Parade in Great Yarmouth, eleven other local people interested in sailing and boats generally. He put forward the idea of forming a club to meet at intervals throughout the winter to keep alive the comradeship and interests of the summer throughout the laid-up period by talks and discussions about boats and everything appertaining to them. The Club was enthusiastically formed and named the East Anglian Yacht Club with a Skipper and a Mate, (titles copied from the prestigious Narrow Seas Club as principal officers), meetings were planned to take place every fortnight. During the next meeting the name changed to East Anglian Cruising Club and Roy Pike became the first skipper with Eric Smith as the first mate.
Membership grew and the venue changed from the Club's birthplace to a clubroom at the Ship Inn in Middlegate Street and then to Johnsons Rooms in Northgate Street. Later the club met at the Royal Aquarium in the Bounty Room, thanks to Mr. Cliff Diamond and his successors. This room was provided free and actually became the Club's first designated Headquarters.
Winter meetings were held every fortnight and talks included such diverse subjects as practical instruction in knotting and splicing by Hector Fuller in his sail making loft (in recognition of which he was made Bosun) and lectures on yacht racing rules by George Ebbage.
In the summer, fortnightly racing and cruising were carried on until the outbreak of war in September 1939 - after which there were no boats, no helmsmen and no water to sail on for several years.
Winter evenings were resumed in 1945-46. In the summer of 1946 - as Thurne Mouth was the only course available to the trickle of sailing men returning from service - the East Anglian Cruising Club initiated the idea of joining forces with the Norfolk Punt Club, the Homing Sailing Club and the Norwich Frostbite Sailing Club to run weekly racing under the control of each club in turn. Successful though these were, in 1947 the other clubs returned naturally to their own courses as they became available. The East Anglian Cruising Club carried on at Thurne Mouth with their own fortnightly fixtures.
During the autumn of 1946 a club Racing Committee was formed and this body, augmented by local useful people, went on to become the autonomous Thurne Mouth Open Regatta Committee. The first ever Thurne Mouth Open Regatta, which was held on Whit Monday 1947, turned out to be a huge success and has gone on as one of the major Open Regattas on the Broads ever since. Fairly recently, the management of this function has come under the E.A.C.C. Committee control.
The Committee had always felt that multiple trophies might engender a pot-hunting spirit in the club and, although in 1946 Mr. W.T. Hall presented the Greyhound Cup for points gathered throughout the season, it was not until 1957 that Dick Platten presented a separate trophy for Cruiser points, known as the Filibuster Cup.
The menagerie racing carried out by the club declined after the late 1950's, mainly due to weekly fixtures, with class racing and points trophies, being run by other Clubs. Now, however, several E.A.C.C. trophies are raced for each season and the Club also holds an annual Open Weekend for Cruisers and an Open Weekend for White Boats as well as several Cruising Weekends.
In 1955 the Club rented one bank of the Boundary Farm Dyke at Oby and this was its base for many years, during which the Dyke Party became a popular annual occasion which eventually evolved, together with the Thurne Roundabout into two separate weekend events - the Club Regatta at Thurne and a Children's Weekend, which was held at South Walsham, thanks to the hospitality of Pat and John Atkins. The enthusiasm of the junior members has led, in turn, to the formation in 1992, of a special Young E.A.C.C. with its own leader introducing youngsters to sailing and the Broads, as well as enhancing the family atmosphere of the Club.
Since leaving the Boundary Farm Dyke in 1987 the Club has acquired its own mooring site opposite Thurne Dyke. One problem for the Club has always been the lack of its own premises, tents provided shelter at Regattas and, over the years, some of the equipment was stored in a dual-purpose storage-box-cum-starters-shelter at the point and much of it has been tucked away in barns and sheds of various good friends of the Club. It has eventually found a home of its own in the shed which Bob Roll kindly allowed the Club to build on his land.
The chief strength of the E.A.C.C. has always been, since its inception, a strong tradition of friendliness, enthusiasm and informality.