Taken from the book: Ryde Isle of Wight Its Sports and Attractions:
This is generally acknowledged to be the leading club in Great Britain, from a Yacht Racing Point of view. It is housed in a very handsome and commodious building, and has also convenient and comfortable premises at the Ryde Pier Head, with a large promenade deck, from which an uninterrupted view can be obtained of all the numerous races organised by the Club during the season. These include fortnightly competitions for the Solent classes as well as those for the largest craft at the annual regatta, held in the second week in August. At the latter, as many as 50 or 60 yachts are to be seen sailing in the various classes. The total number of prizes offered during the season amounts to about £1000. The International Gold Challenge Cup, belonging to the Club, is a very beautiful work of art and is worth some £600. It is now held by HRH The Prince of Wales, whose yacht Brittannia successfully defended it against the American cutter Navahoe, in 1892. The members of the club, who are elected by ballot, include nearly all the leading yachtsmen of the day. The entrance fee is £5 5s 0d and the Annual Subscription £6 6s 0d.
The home and the headquarters of small yacht racing are to be found in the Solent. In its sheltered waters more of these tiny craft may be seen than in any other locality and that too in greater variety. They vary in size from ten to one ton, from the 36 footer to the redwing. In the adjacent building yards all the newest types are originated, and when they become outclassed on the Solent by later and better designs they are sold to be sailed in other waters where the competitors are not so up-to-date.
There can be no doubt that the success of these small boats is due to the fact that their owners can take an active part in their management. All sorts of conditions of men, from HRH The Duke of York to the youngest subaltern in the neighbouring garrison, can constantly be seen sailing their own yachts in the various regattas. During a summer as many as 360 of these tiny craft have been started on the several racing days.
The subjoined photographs show the yachts assembling off the Pier on one of the many Solent Yacht Class racing days and an actual start of a race for the Solent One Design Class.