Sails parade to mark 100 years of Sunderland Yacht club

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DOZENS of sailors took to the waves to mark the centenary of a Wearside yacht club.

Members of Sunderland Yacht Club, in Roker, marked its 100th anniversary with an “impressive spectacle” involving 25 boats.

Teenager Luke McGill, an instructor at the club and RNLI crewmember, also carried the Olympic torch on board the lead craft as the procession made its way up the River Wear.

Alan Dixon, commodore of the club, said: “The day went really well. The weather could have been better for the public, although it was cracking for sailing, but we were given a great reception.

“Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves and we were really proud of Luke.”

Mr Dixon said the River Wear was one of the earliest sailing centres. In 1837, it featured the first of the borough races, which included all water-based craft and preceded the formation of the first yacht club on the river in 1856.

After a decline in membership, a new club was formed in 1905, the Sunderland Motor Boat and Yacht Club, which changed its name to the Sunderland Yacht Club in 1912.

Sailing stopped at the club during the First World War, but was formally started again in 1935. It then opened its first clubhouse at the North Dock. After relocations and redevelopment, the club settled at its current site at Old North Pier.

Luke, 18, from Fuwell, said he was “proud and privileged” to carry the torch.

“While it is me, physically, carrying the torch in the relay, I was there to represent all of the volunteers who do such great work for the RNLI, yacht club, and the Royal Yachting Association,” said the St Aidan’s School sixth-form student.

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