The First offices of the Royal Ocean Racing Club were at 35 Albemarle Street, London and from January 1934 committee meetings took place at 3 Old Burlington Street, London.
In 1936 The Club was located in Pall Mall Place until it was bombed on 15 November 1940. Sadly, it killed the Club’s steward although his wife and a house maid survived after being trapped in the rubble. The Club’s records, trophies and some furniture survived. Also rescued were much of the contents of the wine cellar – carried away discreetly on a blanket-covered stretcher.
By December 1941, a new premises had been found at 20 St James’s Place, which is still the RORC London Clubhouse. The building had bomb damage, but the Agents realised they could put the habitable part of the building into tenantable repair and recoup the expenses against war damage. The Club’s first lease was an initial rent of £150 per annum. In July 1942 the Club was officially opened by King Haakon of Norway whose son, Crown Prince Olaf, had accepted life honorary membership the previous February. The Freehold of 20 St James’s place was acquired in 1950 for £17,500.
In November 1958 the Club was offered the freehold of No. 19 St James’s Place for £18,050 but the current tenant had been granted a ten-year lease. The tenant stayed a further ten years before the Club could link No. 19 and 20 making the Clubhouse into “one building”.
RORC races had a tradition of starting from the Royal Albert Line at Southsea, Royal Yacht Squadron Line, Cowes or the other end of the Solent at Lymington. Over time the RYS line was to see more and more RORC starts. A Race Office was required and for some time a caravan in Groves and Gutteridge’s Yard (now Cowes Yacht Haven) was used.
After a long search for suitable premises in Cowes it was not until 1982 that the Club was able to do a deal with the Trustees of the Sir Max Aitken Museum to use the adjoining building – the Disrespect at No. 82 High Street, Cowes. Sir Max had lived next door in the Prospect and had coined the name Disrespect as at one time it had housed his crew!
The Race Team who had previously always been based in St James’s, London (travelling all summer to races) were transferred to Cowes in 2015. The Disrespect is still home to the Race team.
In 2014 the RORC merged with the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club in Cowes. This has provided the membership with a shore-based RORC Cowes Clubhouse as well as the London HQ.
There is no record of the exact date when the Club’s Seahorse crest was designed. The idea originated from a wooden carving of a boat’s badge George Martin made during the First World War. It was not an exact copy of the real creature (Hippocampus vulgaris) but an heraldic variation-dubbed Hippocampus rorcus by a future Secretary, Alan Paul – it has its tail boldly curled the opposite way to that which nature had decreed.
The RORC Rating Office is part of the Royal Ocean Racing Club. We are an internationally renowned centre of technical excellence for boat measurement, rating, safety, and class technical consultancy. The Rating Office is based in Lymington in the UK with a small team of full-time staff who issue IRC rating certificates and provide technical services to the sailing industry, sailors and sailing clubs.RORC RATING