The Orwell Yacht Club (OYC), originally founded in 1918, is today a thriving club that offers exceptional facilities to its five hundred or so members. It is located in Ostrich Creek that it shares with Fox’s marina at the head of the beautiful River Orwell. Ostrich creek is dredged giving deep water access to the river from the Clubhouse easily accessible at all states of the tide.
It is justifiably proud of its friendly atmosphere and of the spirit of self-help that has resulted in continuous improvements to the services and facilities offered to its members; Club members are very willing to help each other when this is needed. Most of the Club facilities have been created by members working together, mostly on out-of-season Saturday morning working parties that we have each spring or autumn; these are important to the Club so that costs can be kept down, but also provide a good social opportunity for members to get to know each other.
OYC is a Club that is entirely run by Members, for Members, making it possible to keep costs to a minimum so that all Members can enjoy excellent facilities at affordable rates
Our premises which comprise a modern two-storey, purpose built Clubhouse with bar plus kitchen and main meeting/socialising room, showers and changing rooms, and other meeting rooms; we also have large car, boat and dinghy parks. The club is easy to get to, being conveniently situated just off the A12/A14.
For the people with cruisers we offer a programme of cruises-in company to the nearby River Deben, Walton Backwaters, Bradwell-on-Sea and other venues. Dinghy sailors enjoy races, and optional race training, every week. We also offer “junior” training for the younger people who would like to learn to sail; this is given by RYA qualified instructors. During the winter members enjoy a full programme that includes formal and less formal dinners, shanty evenings, dance bands, talks and slide shows. Members can borrow the Clubhouse for private parties at no charge. Other facilities that we have include a “Dolphin” staging, that allows owners of cruisers to go alongside it, dry out, and then scrub and anti-foul the bottoms of their boats; the Dolphin has a crane for raising or lowering of masts. We have our own pressure washer. All these items are free of charge for members.
The Club has its own boat carrier and tractor for launching and recovering boats up to eight tons.. Perhaps most importantly, we have extensive moorings both in the River Orwell and within Ostrich Creek; in both locations some of these are “deep-water” and some dry out. However, we are likely to be able to offer a mooring to new members, particularly if they have a bilge-keel or shallow-draft vessel. (the photos show some of our moorings in Ostrich creek). In short, we believe that OYC offers its members boating facilities which are amongst the finest on the East Coast and caters for a wide range of interests tailored to the needs of the keen yachtsman and dinghy sailor.
Services and Facilities
Clubhouse – A substantial modern two storey Clubhouse equipped with Lounge Bar, Dance Floor, Pool Table, Kitchen, Quiet Lounge, Meeting Rooms and Race Control provides a welcoming atmosphere for members to relax and to join in the many social events held throughout the year. The well stocked bar is open throughout the year and is manned by volunteers keen to ensure the comfort of members and their guests. Toilets, changing rooms and hot showers complete the Clubhouse facilities. The accommodation overlooks the Ostrich Creek.
Access to the water – a floating pontoon allows access to deep water at all states of the tide. The end of the pontoon has a tender and dinghy launch slope to make getting afloat easy. Cruising boats can lie alongside the pontoon to take on crews, stores, water etc. making setting off on a cruise almost as easy as from a marina berth. There are two substantial concrete ramps which facilitate the launch and recovery of cruising boats and dinghies.
Moorings– There are a limited number of deep water berths on swinging moorings and fore & aft moorings close to the Club. In front of the Club are moorings between piles and pontoon type moorings, mostly with very limited tidal access.
Further down river at Freston, below the Orwell Bridge, there are further swinging moorings, mostly with restricted depth. Extensive drying areas are available for half-tide moorings suitable for those boats which can safely take the ground
Acceptable boats are listed under Vessel Guidelines
Junior Section – Youngsters are taught all the basics of sailing and seamanship in Club boats by RYA certificated instructors and a willing band of helpers. Safety is paramount in this group and the young people are accompanied on the water by a fast support boat.
Tender Storage – Ample storage areas are available for tenders. These are both in racks and in trolley parking areas which give easy access to deep water allowing tender launch and recovery at all states of the tide.
Waiting Pontoon – There are a number of short term deep water berthing positions provided in the creek. These particularly allow boats on half tide moorings to be able to have the flexibility to come and go easily at all states of the tide.
Winter Lay-Up – There is capacity to lay-up approximately 100 boats ashore. The Club has a tractor hauled straddle carrier which can deal with the launch and recovery of boats up to about 35 feet overall. In addition, winter berthing is available on the beach areas around the Club where boats can safely lie in sheltered conditions only floating at high tides. The winter lay-up area can also be used for repair and servicing during the summer period.
Boat Servicing – A fully decked ´Dolphin´ is equipped with a light crane to allow masts to be raised/lowered and to provide scrubbing facilities for deep drafted boats. Two concrete based areas offer scrubbing and clean standing for the bilge keeled boats. To support scrubbing a pressure washer is available for members use. Water and electricity points are provided at convenient locations all around the site to allow all types of maintenance to be performed.
Sailing Programme – Over the years the Club has maintained a strong cruiser fleet with many members cruising on a regular basis, sometimes in company with others both locally and on longer passages along the coast or to the continent. Some of these craft also race in our own cruiser events and participate in the large locally organised yacht races. We annually hold a Regatta and Fun Day during August.
Social Programme – A wide range of social events such as Dances, Dinners Trips and Talks on all sorts of issues are arranged throughout the year. In-house Navigation, First Aid and Seamanship courses have all been held to ensure members can be well prepared for their sailing activities.
Becoming a member
See the details on the Joining OYC page.