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Royal Yachting Association (United Kingdom)

Last modified: 2013-12-28 by rob raeside
Keywords: royal yachting association | red ensign |
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[Royal Yachting Assocation] image by James Liston, 5 June 2010

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Flag of Royal Yachting Association

The Royal Yachting Association changed its House Flag and Burgee in the late 1990s (or early 2000s). It now uses a rectangular House Flag, worn at a spreader like other house flags (this is by far the most frequently used version), bearing the Association logo, the letters RYA (in blue, red, blue respectively), on white.
James Liston, 5 June 2010

According to The Navy List (2005), the RYA used a red ensign defaced by the club badge.
David Prothero, 17 January 2010

In November 1992 – while the former house flag was being used – the RYA was granted a special, privileged Red Ensign. The defacement is simply the Yachting Crown (also called the RYA crown) placed in the lower fly (not in the central fly). This special red ensign is flown at RYA headquarters. It is not available to the general membership of the organization.

In the late 1990s (or early 2000s), marketers convinced the RYA that the use of the logo helped to “brand” the RYA better in the minds of the public. Thus, the RYA logo became used on both the House Flag (rectangular) and the burgee (triangular). This change to the logo did not affect or alter the special Red Ensign, which continues to bear the Yachting (or RYA) Crown.
James Liston, 5 June 2010


[Royal Yachting Assocation burgee] image by Eugene Ipavec, 22 June 2010

The burgee is a pennant-shaped flag, intended to be used in the same manner as yacht club burgee. The pennant shaped version is less used, probably because most yachts belong to a yacht club, and thus make use of the club burgee; the RYA flag is thus a house flag.
James Liston, 5 June 2010

Yachtmaster burgee

[Royal Yachting Assocation Yachtmaster's burgee]image by Eugene Ipavec, 22 June 2010

Image based on:

This is the special Yachtmaster burgee: “Woven polyester triangular burgee, tipped with the Yachtmaster colours. 15" x 10". Only holders of a RYA Yachtmaster Practical Certificate of Competence are entitled to display this flag.

At we learn “RYA qualifications, in particular the RYA Yachtmaster Offshore and Yachtmaster Ocean Certificates of Competence, are recognised and respected around the world. Qualification as a RYA Yachtmaster is the ultimate aim of many skippers, both professional and recreational.” In addition there are the Yachtmaster Coastal and Advanced Powerboat exams.
Jan Mertens, 21 June 2010

Flag Officers' Flags

To quote the Royal Yachting Association's 'Flags and Signals', of 1969:

Most yacht clubs authorise a special flag to be used by the flag officers of the club. Customarily the design of these flags is generally the same as the club burgee. A Commodore flies a broad (or swallow-tailed) pendant. The Vice- and Rear-Commodore's pendants are distinguished from the Commodore's pendant by one and two balls respectively in the cantons next to the hoist.

Special Flag of Past Commodore, Vice-President, President, Admiral or Patron.
Although there is no naval custom to follow in this respect, it is quite usual for the Past Commodore and others to fly at the masthead a rectangular flag, similar to the club burgee in design and bearing the club's badge, emblem or crest.
David Prothero, 15 September 2009

Former flag

[Royal Yachting Assocation - former flag] image Eugene Ipavec, 30 November 2010

This flag is in Colin Stewart's 'Yacht Club Burgees' of 1957,"The R.Y.A. Flag (flown at the crosstrees)"
David Prothero, 17 January 2010

Before the change in the late 1990s (or early 2000s), the RYA house flag and burgee were white, and featured a navy blue St George’s cross, with a yellow “Yachting Crown” (a crown in which the upright features are representations of sails at different points of sail) displayed on a central red diamond. The RYA sold these in both 15" x 10" and 18" x 12" (House flag), and 10" x 15" (burgee).
James Liston, 5 June 2010

Royal Yachting Association Training Centre

[Royal Yachting Assocation Training Centre] image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 22 November 2010

based on

A photo gallery at, dated 9 Sep 2007 and made by “Kieran”, shows the Training Centre flag. It is a white field, the dark blue-red-dark blue RYA initials in front of a large dark blue “tick” sign (neatly integrated) in the hoist and “Training / Centre” in the fly, dark blue letters.
Jan Mertens, 14 May 2010

Gold Membership flags

[Royal Yachting Assocation Gold Membership Flag] image located by Jan Mertens, 31 May 2010

Quoting from the RYA website’s Gold Membership / Regalia page:

“Gold Membership is designed to recognise those who support the RYA over the long term and believe in our values and mission. Gold Members have the opportunity to purchase Gold Cruising Burgees and House Flags from the RYA Shop.”

Burgee “same as the Cruising Burgee but emblazoned with the Gold Membership design style” (so indirectly we see the common burgee! clickable image: ).

White pennant bearing stylized RYA initials (dark blue/red/dark blue), the white field behind the initials containing several gold waves. The widest of these is ascending and carries a sort of shadow with it, above; a much thinner one, also shadowed, descends; three very thin waves traverse the field from left to right; lastly, the burgee’s point bears an additional wave, rather vague. Dimensions given as 15" x 10".
Jan Mertens, 31 May 2010

The RYA Gold Membership implies the use - beside the special burgee - of rectangular flags, small (10” x 12”) and large (18” x 15”). See:
Jan Mertens, 2 June 2010