New link-up with National Maritime Museum planned

The annual general meeting of the Association of Yachting Historians (AYH), held last weekend, highlighted its core objective of recording the history of yachting in the UK and elsewhere.

Established in 2005, the AYH has grown to around 150 members – mostly from the UK, but also a growing international number. The association welcomes anyone with an interest in researching and sharing the history of yachting, yacht design and racing.

The meeting heard that the AYH’s second major digitisation project centred on Yachtsman magazine from 1891 to 1939 will be available in a couple of months. This follows the first project that involved all the editions of the Lloyd’s Register Yacht Register from 1878 to 1980. This was produced on a memory stick and has sold well.

During 2018, a group of some 20 members undertook a trip to Germany to visit various places in Kiel and Flensburg. This included the International Yacht Heritage Centre, which had an exhibition on Abeking & Rasmussen. The group also met with the Freundeskreis Klassiche Yachten, the German equivalent of the AYH, which has some 2,000 members.

In taking the AYH forward, an update was given on the revised structure for the association which involved setting the organisation up as a limited liability company. There is also a separate subsidiary called AYH Publications Ltd which will take such projects as the Yachtsman digitisation. This change is being made to protect members from being subject to any copyright issues.

During the meeting, presentations were made by Kathryn Preston, the archivist of the GL Watson company, and Stuart Bligh, head of Research & Information at the Royal Museums Greenwich, which includes the National Maritime Museum. GL Watson has been associated with yacht design and other services since 1873 and is the owner of the UK’s largest privately-owned yacht archive.

The talks are ongoing between the AYH and the National Maritime Museum to strengthen the focus on yachting’s history and share information and knowledge.

The AYH is keen to preserve any yacht-related records and archives which may be threatened with being destroyed or lost. More information is available at