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Yacht Club de France

Last modified: 2010-11-13 by ivan sache
Keywords: yacht club de france | star (white) | star (blue) | president | vice president | semaphore | disc (white) | yacht ensign | union des yachts francais |
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[YCF flag]         [YCF burgee]

Flag and burgee of the YCF - Images by Željko Heimer, 30 June 2000


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Presentation of the Yacht Club de France

The Yacht Club de France (YCF) was created on 15 June 1867, as the Société d'Encouragement pour la Navigation de Plaisance, and officialy recognized on 22 June 1867 by the Ministry of the Interior. Patroned by Emperor Napoléon III, the society was presided by the Duke of Vallombrosa (1834-1903). The name Yacht-Club de France was added on 11 November 1867, the addition being officially recognized on 29 December 1867 by the Police Prefet.

In 1869, the society's statutes were revised, with the set up of a Circle ran by a board of directors; the Maritime Council, designed to promote yachting within the society, lost any control on the society in 1871, especially on funds.
The Ministry of thr Navy approved the foundation of a second society, set up on 23 June 1891, as the Union des Yachts Français, by 172 resigning members of the YCF opposed to the rule of the Circle on the society. The two clubs coexisted until 1898, when a general assembly decided their fusion under the name of Union des Yachts Français, while the Circle was maintained under the name of Yacht Club de France until its dissolution in 1901.

In 1902, the Union des Yachts Français, presided by Vice Admiral Charles Duperré (1832-1914), adopted the name of Yacht Club de France. In 1907, the International Union for Yacht Racing recognized the YCF as the sole national authority for yacht racing, which was transfered to the Union des Sociétés Nautiques created in 1919 and the forerunner of the French Sailing Federation. The YCF was state-approved (reconnu d'utilité publique) on 30 July 1914.
Short before the Second World War, the YCF presided the Comité de Coordination de la Navigation Sportive et Touristique, that included the Union des Sociétés Nautiques (sailing) and the Fédération Française de Navigation Automobile (motorboating).

Source: M. Etchechoury, Yacht Club de France - Archives Centrales de la Marine, 1993

Ivan Sache, 11 May 2010


Flag and burgee of the Yacht Club de France

The flag of the YCF is the French Tricolor flag with a white star in the blue stripe and a blue star in the white stripe. The burgee of the YCF is the triangular version of the flag.

In 1902, the Union des Yachts Français and the Yacht Club de France reunited under the name of Yacht Club de France. The two clubs also "reunited" their flag and burgee, which have remained unchanged until now.

Ivan Sache, 11 May 2010


Yacht Club de France, 1867-1902

Legal prescriptions

The YCF 1868 Yearbook (Yacht-Club de France - Société d'Encouragement pour la Navigation de Plaisance - Status - Réglements - Documents divers 1868. Paris, Félix Malteste et Cie, 106 p.) includes the (early) club's statutes, which prescribe the (early) club's flag and burgee as follows:

Article 3.
The yacht ensign shall be the national ensign with a white star in the middle of the blue part.

[...]

Article 7.
The yacht owners only may fly, in addition to the yacht ensign, a special burgee on board of the boats belonging to them.
This triangular burgee, with the national colours, is charged, like the yacht ensign, with a white star in the middle of the blue part. This burgee should be only used as an insignia and should not grant any privilege in the ports.

The 1868 Yearbook includes different official texts that confirm that the YCF flag was used as the yacht ensign, that is instead of the French ensign; this use was abolished in 1891, when the yacht ensign was transfered to the Union des Yachts Français.
Admiral Rigault de Genouilly, Minister of the Navy and of the Colonies, decreed on 22 July 1867 that the yacht ensign and burgee prescribed in the YCF statutes should be shown in the Commercial Code of Signals, together with a list of the ships entitled to fly these flags. The same decree states that the ships flying the yacht ensign should have easy access to the ports, repairing docks and resupplying stations owned by the state - that is, mostly, to military ports.
On 1 August 1867, De Forcade, Minister of Agriculture, Commerce and Civil Engineering, forwarded Rigaut's order to all the prefets of France. A complementary order, signed by De Forcade on 25 April 1868, extended the easy access granted to the YCF members to the rivers and canals.
The 1867 General Regulation "on the administration of maritime quarters, the Register of Sailors, the recruitment, the navigation police and fishery" states:

Article 190. The French ensign (with a white star in the middle of the blue part for the yachts) shall be flown at stern, or, if no flag mast is available, at the mizzenmast yard. The registration flag shall be flown on top of the mainmast.

Ivan Sache, 11 May 2010


Flags

The 1868 Yearbook has images and specifications for the flags.

[YCF flag]         [YCF burgee]

Flag and burgee of the YCF - Images by Ivan Sache, 11 May 2010

YCF flag (and yacht ensign) - proportions 2:3.
Size No. 1: 100 cm x 150 cm, for ships under 10 tons;
Size No. 2: 150 cm x 225 cm, for ships between 10 and 50 tons;
Size No. 3: 250 cm x 375 cm, for ships above 50 tons.

YCF member's burgee - proportions 1:2.
Size No. 1: 75 cm x 150 cm, for ships under 20 tons;
Size No. 2: 100 cm x 200 cm, for ships above 20 tons.

[YCF president's flag]         [YCF vice president's flag]         [YCF vice president's flag]

Flag of the President, of the 1st Vice President and of the 2nd Vice President of the YCF (from left to right, respectively) - Images by Ivan Sache, 11 May 2010

YCF President's burgee - proportions 1:2
The member's burgee with four white discs placed in each corner of the blue part.
In 1868, the YCF was presided by Richard Marie Jean Étienne Manca- Amat, Duke of Vallombrosa (1834-1903), a dandy among the pioneers of winter tourism in Cannes and a putatitve introducer of mimosa in the area. In 1863, the Duke, President of the Société des Régates de Cannes, organized a famous race involving four big yachts (Hornet, 140 tons; Glean, 150 tons; Queen of the Island, 70 tons; Cutler, 60 tons); the same year, together with 35 shareholders, he founded a real estate company to build on the Croisette the Cercle Nautique, which would be the center of the society life in Cannes until its demolition in 1946.

YCF 1st Vice President's burgee - proportions 1:2
The member's burgee with three white discs placed one and two in the blue part.
In 1868, the 1st Vice President of the YCF was Viscount of Châteauvillard, member of the Paris Rowing-Club and designer of the famous yawl Duc de Framboisie.

YCF 2nd Vice President's burgee - proportions 1:2
The member's burgee with two white discs placed in the upper left and lower right corners of the blue part.
In 1868, the 2nd Vice President of the YCF was Gabriel Benoit-Champy, Counsel Lawyer for the Navy and the Colonies.

The adoption of the officer's burgees was not straightforward. The 1868 Yearbook shows a letter of the Minister of the Navy dated 15 July 1868, in which the Minister explains that the three proposals of officer's burgees submitted on 23 June 1868 have been rejected on 10 July 1868 by the Admiralty Council. The proposals, unfortunately not described, were considered too similar to the distinctive flags granted to the vessels of the Navy (I guess, the rank flags). However, the Council recommended the use of the member's burgee, with the addition of discs or uncrowned anchors around the white star in the blue part; the recommendation seems to have been quickly followed.

[YCF semaphore flag]

Semaphore attack signal - Image by Ivan Sache, 11 May 2010

The 1868 Yearbook includes instructions to communicate with semaphores. The YCF members should use an "attack signal" to open communication with the semaphore. This signal, specific to the YCF ships, is made of a rectangular red flag with a big white star surmonting the distinctive triangular pennant (four letters) attributed to each ship on the yachts' register.

Ivan Sache, 11 May 2010


Union des Yachts Français, 1891-1902

[UYF flag]         [UYF burgee]

Flag and burgee of the UYF - Images by Ivan Sache, 11 May 2010

On 15 July 1891, a Decree of the Minister of the Navy transfered to the UYF the privileges granted in 1867 to the YCF. Accordingly, most yacht clubs joined the UYF.

The flag of the UYF, also the French yacht ensign, is the national French Tricolor with a blue star added in the white field. The burgee of the UYF is a triangular version of the flag.
In 1902, the UYF and the YCF reunited under the name of Yacht Club de France. The two clubs also "reunited" their flag and burgee, which have remained unchanged until now.

Ivan Sache, 11 May 2010