After 200 Years Of Male Only Membership, RYS Votes To Let Women Join
A tradition of restricted male-only membership dating back almost 200 years "has been swept aside by the Royal Yacht Squadron on the Isle of Wight after the membership voted to allow women in as full members," according to Kate Laven of the London TELEGRAPH. A meeting on Sunday, attended by 150 of the 475 members, voted unanimously in favor of the motion "to extend membership privileges to women." There was not a single vote in opposition, "though the decision still has to be ratified by the full membership." Officials at the Squadron said that "they had been lobbying members on the issue of women's membership for four years" before Sunday's ballot. There was no announcement from the RYS, which established its "gentlemen only" membership in 1815. The first women to be identified as suitable candidates are more likely to be members of the Royal family, "who have been connected with the club ever since the Prince Regent became a member in 1817." The Queen is the club patron, and Prince Philip, a regular at the annual Squadron Ball, is admiral, but Princess Anne, a keen sailor, is one of the favorites for consideration, while Dame Ellen Macarthur, who lives minutes away, "might also be in line for a letter" (TELEGRAPH, 8/5).