|Hornet Services Sailing Club
Haslar Bridge Circa 1921, from site of Hornet Sailing Club
Hornet Services Sailing Club is affiliated to the
Royal Naval Sailing Association
(RNSA). It is situated in Haslar Creek,
Kingdom, on land leased from the
Royal Navy. Members are either serving or retired members of the Royal Navy
who live in the area, and come from all ranks. The club was formed/evolved,
after the Royal Navy disbanded Coastal Forces, and HMS Hornet was closed in
The original wooden Wardroom and Captain's quarters
are still maintained and form the comfortable club house which is now well
attended by members and visiting yachtsmen and women. After the MTB's were moved
to HMS Dolphin in 1956 all that remained were the torpedo
recovery vessel and a floating 'shed' nicknamed the 'Ark' together with a small
team of civilians who used the workshops to support the remaining MTB's. The
concrete central finger pier and apron, which have been certified unusable for
supporting traffic or heavy weights, were originally built in 1955, just before
HMS Hornet was decommissioned.
With tacit approval of
The Queens Harbour Master, a growing number of local naval personnel began
to keep their yachts moored at Hornet and by 1962 the ex-German yachts Merlin,
Sehexe and Suna were moored with the dozen or so other yachts. A proposal was
put forward to form a Naval Yacht Club and tentative approval was given in 1962.
The Club got off to a slow start through lack of funds and as a consequence a
berthing fee of £20 was set per annum. Facilities were almost non existent.
The pontoons were rescued from the navy when discarded and lacked adequate
connecting rings and cleats. Apart from this they were huge affairs, built for
ships rather than yachts.
In May of 1964, the club was formerly opened, and
not surprisingly, a flood of applications for berths rolled in and it became
necessary to establish ground rules. With limited space available, motor yachts
would be excluded and there would be no living on board. Membership was limited
to RNSA members with at least two years standing to prevent anyone joining the
RNSA just to get a Hornet berth.
In 1969 the MTB workshop was finally closed and the torpedo recovery vessel was decommissioned and by
1970 there were about 120 established yachts berthed at Hornet. The first of the
original wooden piers were demolished, and the large slip cradles were cut in
half to make them suitable for yachts - In fact these lasted until the mid
nineties before being replaced by a 'Wyse' hoist, hauled by tractor.
1972 saw a huge change. The
Joint Services Sailing Centre was born and moved into Hornet. The club ran
the risk of losing the site it had worked hard to develop, in the first instance
to JSSC and in the second to members of the other two services. Fortunately, the
club survived and has lived alongside JSSC since. A compromise was made with the
Army and Royal Air Force and eight regimental and four RAF establishment
together with a number of local RN yachts have been allocated berthing within
Hornet. The club has been helped by the number of visiting service personnel,
who take advantage of the opportunity to sail with JSSC. It was at this time
that the JSSC took delivery of nine Nicholson 55's, nine
Contessa 32's and nine Halcyon 27's. These were all moored in a well
restored area of Hornet with new piles and pontoons.
In 1976 a programme of purchasing new pontoons was
implemented, and after a fairly disastrous start
using concrete floats, Walcon started production and there followed a steady
replacement plan of the dockyard rejects.
Submarine Museum was established in 1980 and as a result the club lost a lot
of land required for public car parking and access to the museum. Throughout the
eighties what still remained of the club facilities has been kept in good
condition and developed up to the present day.
By the mid eighties the old MTB slip hauling winch
gave up the ghost, probably as a result of being used in the operation to mount
the Alliance submarine on its cradle. This led to the club making a decision,
quite brave at the time, to purchase a tractor. This has proved to be great
JSSC became Joint Services Adventurous Sail
Training Centre (JSASTC) in 1991 when they sold off their Contessa 32's and
Halcyons. These were replaced with the fifteen Victoria 34's lovingly named the
Fleet as a result of their naming convention.
Throughout the nineties the club changed quite significantly with almost 300
yachts of up to 39 feet in length moored, two up, on modern pontoons.
was installed on pontoons adjacent to the mast
hoist and a new longer pontoon, named in honour of
Admiral of The Fleet Sir John Fieldhouse, who had been a long time
active member of the club,
was added to the marina.
Hornet Sailing Club entered the millennium having
evolved from humble beginnings in 1956 when the
Coastal Forces and MTB fleet was disbanded. Many of the members of
the club have been responsible for the United Kingdoms notability in the
sailing world and for promoting sail training to a high standard both at
home and overseas. Many of the world class sailing events have been managed or
supported by members who take an active role in the promotion of safety at
sea. The challenges of the new millennia will be as fruitful to the
membership as they were in the 40 or so years of the 1900's.
millennia started fairly quietly with only rumours of impending
decommissioning and sale of Royal Naval Hospital Haslar and the potential
impact on Hornet Sailing Club if the Crown Estates chose to dispose of land
we currently have access to. 2006 brought changes to HSC's Constitution in
order to bring it up to reflect the needs of the club at this time.
In 2009 JSASTC got the long
awaited approval to develop their site facilities to meet the future needs
of the combined services sail training. In mid 2010 JSASTC started to move
into the new boat maintenance building which includes purpose built stores
and classroom facilities.
Early in 2010, in a bitterly cold spell of wind and snow, a
small group of members set about with Walcon contractors to extend 'I'
pontoon. This enabled HSC to provide affordable berthing for more qualifying
service personnel. At the same time electricity was provided on all HSC
pontoons to bring the clubs facilities up to date, in line with marinas
HMS Alliance submarine is expected to be refurbished and made
more accessible to visitors and this means taking up real estate currently
used by HSC.
Last but not least, the gas fires in the main club house,
long overdue for replacement, were removed and a new central heating system
installed to include heating of the Fabrosa Room.
In October of 2010 at an Extraordinary General Meeting, the
membership of Hornet Sailing Club were requested to vote for changing the
name to Royal Naval Sailing Club. The reason given for the need to change
was that it would better reflect the clubs long history of its association
with the Royal Navy and commitment to encourage serving members to sail. The
vote in favour of the change was carried by the membership but unfortunately
the higher authorities did not grant the change at this time.
During 2011 the prefabricated buildings that were used by
JSASTC on the opposite side of the road to the clubhouse started to be
demolished to make way for a boat park. Work on the Alliance submarine
coffer dam was started and by the beginning of 2012 the piling had been
completed leaving still other works to be done.
September, 2012, the slip
area was ready for the placement of the new walkway and the replacing of the
Z berthing pontoons. The installation of the pontoons and the pile driving
was finally completed in October.
The major restoration of the
submarine continues, and will take a further two years or so, to 2014. This
should not seriously affect the sailing activities as the work in progress
is well tented.
On the 13 April 2013 at the AGM the attending membership voted to accept
a change of name from 'Hornet Sailing Club' to 'Hornet Services Sailing
Club'. The change of name reflecting the clubs commitment to support and
encourage sailing in all Services. Serving personnel and their families will
be given primary consideration for membership with veterans receiving
continued membership privilege.
more detailed history of Hornet Sailing Club, up to the 1990's, can be obtained from the Club
War Memorial to the small ships of The Coastal Forces lost during the Second
World War is looked over by the clubhouse. Each November a remembrance
service is held and veteran crew members return to Hornet for their Annual
Reunion. The names of the Coastal Forces Depots are inscribed on the
memorial. These depots were strategically positioned around the coast of
Great Britain during the Second World War.
Coastal Forces in detail
Coastal Forces History
SHIPS BEARING THE NAME HMS HORNET
||HMS Hornet - Sloop. 14 Gun. 272 Tons. LOA 91 feet. Built in
Chichester, England and commissioned August 1745. Sold in 1770. Was in
French hands from December 1746 to October 1747.
||HMS Hornet - Cutter. 16 Gun. 98 Tons. LOA 50 feet. Purchased
January 1763 and sold July 1772.
||HMS Hornet - Sloop. 14 Gun. 305 Tons. LOA 97 feet. Built
1776 and sold July 1791.
||HMS Hornet - Sloop. 16 Gun. 423 Tons. LOA 108 feet. Built
and commissioned February 1794 and sold October 1817.
||HMS Hornet - Gun Vessel. 60 Tons. LOA 63 feet. Purchased
March 1794 and broken up July 1795.
||HMS Hornet - Schooner. 181 Tons. LOA 81 feet. Built Chatham
Dockyard and commissioned August 1831. Broken up 1845.
||HMS Hornet - Wooden Schooner. 17-32 Pounder guns. 753 Tons.
LOA 160 feet. Completed Deptford April 1854 and broken up in 1868.
||HMS Hornet - Gun Vessel. 603 Tons. LOA 155 feet. Built
Stockton-on-Tees and commissioned March 1869. Sold 1889.
||HMS Hornet - Destroyer. Completed November 1893 and sold
||HMS Hornet - Destroyer. Built by John Brown December 1911
and sold in May 1921.
||HMS Hornet - Commissioned as the Coastal Forces Base
Gosport, Hampshire, England in November 1926. Became Coastal Forces Depot
December 1939. Decommissioned in 1956.
This page was last updated on
Saturday, January 06, 2018 12:35
by Richard Spencer.