On 19th September 1943 the first Annual General Meeting of the Goring Thames Sailing Club was held at the “Temple” boat house situated on Cleeve Reach. The meeting had been called by Mr C Austin Potter, the Chairman, to discuss the need of forming a sailing club. It was decided by the attendees to call the club “Goring Thames Sailing Club”.

The first General Rules were decided upon and a Committee was elected made up of
4 Club Officers:

Commodore – Mr C Austin Potter
Vice Commodore – Mr P Brooke
Honorary Time Keeper – Mr R Brooke
Honorary Secretary and Treasurer – Mr E J Blott

and 3 Committee Members:

Mr J Scott Underwood
Mr O Brooke
Mr G Morgan


The Club’s Headquarters started off at the Swan Inn, Streatley (now the prestigious Swan Hotel). The Club was also given permission to use the Temple Boat house on Cleeve Reach as a Sailing Headquarters, since it was intended that the club would sail and race on that stretch of river.

The club registered with the Thames Conservancy and the Yacht Racing Association. Strong links were established with the Royal Veterinary Colleges and RAF Benson where the club taught their member crews to sail.


This picture was taken in 1946 between the Temple Boat House and Cleeve Lock. The boats pictured were established with the Royal Veterinary Colleges and RAF Benson where the club taught their member crews to sail.

GTSC’s Commodores

1943-1944        Mr C Austin Potter

1945                Mr P Brooke

1946                Mr JG Weall

1947-1962       Mr J Scott Underwood

1963-1970       Brigadier JFM Leese

1971-1972        Mr JB Hornby

1973-1974        Mr W ‘Bill’ Collins

1975-1976        Mr NP Radley

1977-1978        Mr FH Stewart

1979-1980        Mr AJM Harrison

1981-1982        Mr S Thorpe-Tracy

1983                Mr JB Hornby

1984-1985        Mr PA Bradstock

1986-1987        Mr A Ferguson

1988-1989        Mr H Farnsworth
1990-1991        Mr J Gray
1992-1993        Mr J Reynolds
1994-1995        Mr J Middleton-Stewart
1996-1997        Mrs E Drew
1998-1999        Mr J Whitcher
2000-2001        Mrs J Howe
2002                Mr M Fulton
2003-2004        Mr B Bailie
2005-2006        Mr RW Harrison
2007-2009        Mr AR Jones
2010-2011        Mr AS Reed
2012-2013        Ms J Marsden

2014-2015        Mr S Lidbetter

2016-2017        Mr A Nicoll

2018-2019       Mr S Lidbetter

GTSC Club Presidents

1948-1966 Admiral Sir Henry Harwood
1966-???? Mr S R Brown
????-???? Brigadier J F M Leese
????-1987 Mr J Hornby
????-???? Mr F Stewart
????- 2015 Dr A Ferguson
2016-???? Mr P Bradstock


In 1944 a Sailing Committee was formed to organise the busy racing schedule. They decided that Sunday afternoon racing was to be held throughout the season starting on Easter Sunday and finishing on the last Sunday in October. All races had a time limit of two hours and racing handicaps were given and revised monthly.


1945 or 1946 National 12s racing past the










The club was extremely keen to promote sailing to the local people and held a “Guest Day” on the last Saturday of the month. The members took guests out for a sail in their boats and taught them how to sail if it was so wished.

The boat classes that were allowed to join were strictly limited to: Merlin Rocket, National 12, Firefly, GP14, one International 14 and Cadet (for juniors).

1947 Match

In the 1940s a lot of match racing took place against different sailing clubs: Midland SC, the Military College of Science, Marlborough College, Henley SC (who we still race against), Rickmansworth SC, Oxford University Yacht Club and Pangbourne Nautical College.

This picture was taken in 1947. The Merlin shown was taking part in a sailing match against the Midland Sailing Club. The building shown on the right hand side is the Goring Thames Sailing Club’s Sail Hut.


During the 1950s the sailing matches increased further still. The additional clubs were: Reading University, Staff College Camberley, Bradfield College and Reading SC

Saturday racing was introduced twice a month in 1954 as the Club’s Points racing was suffering due to the number of sailing events and matches being held. Wednesday evening meetings were added to the programme in 1957, with a Shield to be presented to the winning boat at the end of the series.


The Goring Thames Fixture List for 1950

Sun April 2 Points Cup Heat
Sun April 9 Points Cup Heat
Sun April 16 Points Cup Heat
Sun April 23 Points Cup Heat
Sat April 29 Oxford University Yacht Club (Goring)
Sun April 30 Points Cup Heat (Henley 12ft)
Sun May 7 Points Cup Heat
Sun May 14 Midland Sailing Club (Goring)
Sun May 21 Points Cup Heat
Sun May 28 Points Cup Heat
Sun June 4 Points Cup Heat
Sun June 11 Points Cup Heat
Sun June 18 Points Cup Heat
Sun June 25 Points Cup Heat
June 26-30 Merlin Week (Burnham)
Sun July 2 Points Cup Heat
Sun July 9 Nautical College (Goring)
Sun July 16 Points Cup Heat
Sun July 23 President’s Cup
Sun July 30 Henley Sailing Club (Goring)
Sun August 6 Points Cup Heat
Sun August 13 Points Cup Heat
August 14-19 National 12ft Championships (Falmouth)
Sun August 20 Points Cup Heat
August 21-26 Prince of Wales Cup Week (Hunstanton)
Sun August 27 Junior Cup
Aug 28 – Sep 2 Firefly Championship (Poole)
Sun September 3 Points Cup Heat
Sun September 10 Harwell & Victory Cups – 1st Heat
September 16-17 Henley 14ft Jubilee
Sun September 24 Harwell & Victory Cups – 2nd Heat
Sun October 1 Harwell & Victory Cups – Final
Sun October 8 Points Cup Heat
Sat October 14 Oxford University Yacht Club (Abingdon)
Sun October 15 Points Cup Heat
Sun October 22 Spare
Sun October 29 Spare

The fixture list also stated:

– No official race unless at least 3 starters
– Point Cup Heat starts 2:45pm sharp
– Other races: Times will be notified

In the 1960s the club gained a couple more associate memberships with the Oratory School and the Heelas Dinghy Division (part of the John Lewis partnership). A further 3 clubs took part in sailing matches against Goring: Abbey SC, Dorchester SC and Merlin team races were held up at Farmoor Reservoir at Oxford SC.

1961 saw the Secretary’s Cup for GP14s presented for the first time.

The club also reviewed its Class limitations. It was suggested that a Single Handed Class should be introduced. So,in 1964 the Solo class was added. During this year the Bailey Trophy (which is still awarded today) was presented to the club for winning the match against Henley SC. A member called Jack Hornby took charge of arranging the club’s first Open Meeting on 31 May 1964. The meeting was a success with 13 GP14s racing with 4 visiting boats from other clubs attending.

In 1965 a Ladies Race was introduced. Racing at the club was extremely popular seeing an average number of 14 boats per race. The membership had now risen to 120 members plus 3 life members. 420 boats had been sailed in 30 race days, of which 167 were Merlins, 174 were GP14s and 73 were Fireflies.

In 1967 two new pennant races were added to the programme: King George’s Fund for Sailors (which was associated with the President’s Bowl race) and the RNLI pennant.

In 1947-48 the club were able to rent the frontage at the Leatherne Bottel and in conjuction with the pub owners the site was prepared and a new Club Headquarters was built (known as Club Pavilion). The club also gained use of the neighbouring frontage on the up river side.

In the 1950s the club purchased three frontages on the up river side of the Leatherne Bottel including the neighbouring frontage that they currently had use of. They were also able to use an additional frontage with a boat house that was at the end of their land. As well as having a busy racing schedule a large amount of work took place in building a new dinghy park on the new site.

In the 1960s the club’s sail hut on the Leatherne Bottel site was deteriorating rapidly. The new club site had to be levelled and work commenced in 1963 on a new sail hut. In 1964 a new concrete mooring area had been built and the end frontage with the boat house was purchased. However, relationships with the Leatherne Bottel had become unstable. Due to this the club had to build a new toilet block on the club site, as the current arrangements to use the Leatherne Bottel’s facilities had been discontinued.

Club Pavillion

In 1965 the toilet block was finished with financial assistance from a grant. Relationships with the Leatherne Bottel had reached an all time low and the club was issued with a “Notice to Quit” the tenancy with the Leatherne Bottel. This now meant that the club had to look in to moving the Pavilion and rebuild it on the new club site. However this also left the club in a dilemma, as the only access they had to the new club site that boats could use was through the Leatherne Bottel lower car park. The club chose to resist the notice.

In 1966 the Club Pavilion was moved and placed at the northern end of the club site next to the boat house. The club was still resisting the notice for the Leatherne Bottel site as an agreement had not been reached with the club’s site access problem. The concreting of a second hard deck had also been completed during this year. Finally during October the Leatherne Bottel granted access to the club through their land. A deed was signed by both parties to this effect.

In 1968 the club purchased the last bit of frontage called Sunkum Meade that makes up the frontage that the club is located on today.