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Antigua and Barbuda - Yacht Clubs

Last modified: 2021-08-25 by rob raeside
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Antigua Yacht Club

image by Ivan Sache, 17 July 2002

Antigua Yacht Club is located in Falmouth Harbour, on the southern coast of Antigua. Admiral Nelson funded there dockyard for the Royal Navy. The narrow bay in which Falmouth Harbour is located is one of the most scenic places in Antigua and Nelson's dockyards have been preserved. This historical monument is partially used as a marine business center. The AYC Marina hosts the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta in April followed by the Antigua Sailing Week. The burgee of AYC is horizontally divided blue-yellow with a crenellated separation between the two fields. A yellow gun is placed in the blue field.
Source: < >
Ivan Sache, 17 July 2002

Royal Naval Tot Club

A burgee (Royal Navy swallowtail pennant, with the pre-1801 Union Flag in the upper hoist canton) was flown from an eye-catching yacht in Bermuda this summer and caused some negative comment in the local yachting scene, stoked by a retired Royal Navy Captain (not a Bermudian). Quite a few thought that it was either the White Ensign being flown illegally at the masthead, or some sort of modified Royal Navy Commodore's pennant.
The owner of the yacht was directly accused of breaking the British Merchant Shipping Act and responded by explaining his entitlement and then inviting the complainant to get the Governor to investigate the alleged crime, if he was so sure it was an illegal act.
When the owner was separately asked politely by others he responded in some detail that this swallow-tailed pennant is the very distinctive burgee of the Royal Naval Tot Club of Antigua and Barbuda. There was scepticism about this, but research reveals that at least least one other boat visiting Bermuda at the same time had the same burgee and went unnoticed!
This unusual organization is based in English Harbour, Antigua, and apparently has:
1.  A Warrant to fly the Royal Navy White Ensign at the mast that stands in Nelson's Dockyard, English Harbour, Antigua.  This privilege is exercised on certain days, such as the Queen's Birthday and to commemorate significant battles, etc.
2.  A burgee that is a Royal Navy swallowtail pennant, with the pre-1801 Union Flag in the upper hoist canton.
There doesn't appear to be a website for the Club, but there is a page with some information at <> which shows the White Ensign being hoisted in Nelson's Dockyard.
Ted, 13 January 2010

Authority to fly a pre-1801 White Ensign received on 21 July 2000. It was derived from the authority previously granted to the government of Antigua on independence, to fly the White Ensign in the dockyard. The ensign is flown on the following days:
- 16 January - Battle of St Vincent:
- 14 February - Battle of Cape St Vincent:
- 2 April - Battle of Copenhagen:
- 12 April - Battle of The Saints:
- 21 April - Birthday of Queen Elizabeth II:
- 1 June - Glorious 1st of June:
- 2 June - Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II:
- 1 August - Battle of the Nile:
- 11 October - Battle of Camperdown:
- 21 October - Battle of Trafalgar.  
Photograph shows a modern White Ensign, not a pre-1801 White Ensign.
A website about the club is at <> and a picture of the burgee is at the bottom of <>.
It is possibly that there is no warrant as such. The website <> refers to "permission"; "The Tot Club also obtained permission to hoist the White Ensign in Nelson's Dockyard on special days such as the Queen's birthday and anniversaries of famous British naval successes such as the Battle of Trafalgar.  The Flagstaff in Nelson's Dockyard was restored by the Royal Naval Tot Club."
The information, which came from Malcolm Farrow's 'Colours of the Fleet', refers to "authority".
Perhaps there are two aspects to this.
1.  The club obtained permission to use a version of the pre-1801 White Ensign as their club burgee.
2.  The club obtained permission to fly the current White Ensign in Nelson's Dockyard in continuation of the authority already granted to the government of Antigua.
David Prothero, 14 January 2010

I have been informed that the Royal Naval Tot Club has a Warrant to fly the current White Ensign at Nelson's Dockyard, English Harbour, Antigua on appropriate days, not the pre-1801 White Ensign as mentioned in 'Colours of the Fleet'.
The confusion in 'Colours of the Fleet' may be because the burgee is indeed a swallowtail pennant (Commodore RN style) with a pre-1801 Union Flag in the upper hoist canton.
I have also been told that the previous and current Commodores of the Royal Yacht Squadron are both members of the Tot Club, so maybe the White Ensigns are sticking together!
Apparently Prince William was presented with a Tot Club burgee when he visited Antigua onboard HMS Iron Duke a year and a half ago.
Ted, 26 February 2010

The photographer has sent me a better image of this burgee, taken on 13 June 2009 when the yacht in question was anchored off the quay at Hamilton.
The yacht was dressed overall for HM Queen's Birthday with the Red Ensign is flying alongside the Royal Naval Tot Club burgee at the masthead.
I suspect that there is some embarrassment as it seems that it was originally assumed that this burgee was a current White Ensign. 
Ted, 28 February 2010

The following was was provided by a Tot Club source:
1.  The Tot Club pennant is NOT a white ensign as it does not have the Irish cross in it.  The Tot Club pennant is based on the pre 1801 Royal Naval ensign of the white squadron, the red squadron being the senior and the blue, the junior.  The white ensign itself was not reserved for the Royal Navy until 1864.  Until 1801 Ireland was a separate kingdom.  In 1800 an Act of Union was passed to create the new United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, to come into effect on the 1st. January, 1801.  The College of Arms designed a new flag with the “Cross of St. Patrick” counter-changed with the existing Cross of St. Andrew.  The inclusion of “St. Patrick’s Cross” is of interest as St. Patrick was not martyred and therefore did not have a cross as such.  The red saltire on white was the emblem of the powerful Irish Fitzgerald family and was chosen by the heralds of the College of Arms as a convenient symbol for Ireland.  The independence in 1922 of the southern part of Ireland as the Irish Free State did not result in any further change to the union flag.  
2.  While the Tot Club does indeed have a warrant, and rightly so, to wear the White Ensign on the mast in Nelson’s Dockyard, Antigua, on certain occasions, a warrant as such does not exist, nor does it need to, for a member to fly the Tot Club pennant.  
3.  We approached the MoD early in 2001 for permission to use a design based on the pre 1801 white ensign and if permission was granted, the etiquette involved in flying it. The answer came back “that providing it is an historic design, there is no problem in using what was previously a sovereign or national flag”.  In plain English MoD said that providing it not a current flag or ensign of any sovereign country then there is no problem using it.  
4.  It should be flown from the masthead or if this is impracticable, then the spreader.  It is not and never should be worn as an ensign.  
5.  The design which was submitted to MoD in 2001 was used, which is the Tot Club pennant of today.  It is the pre 1801 white ensign imposed on a broad swallowtail pennant.  
6.  In October, 2007, the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Jonathan Band, KCB, ADC personally endorsed the MoD decision of 2001."
Ted, 8 March 2010

The RN Tot Club has its own website now. See:
Theodore, 18 February 2011

The official website says:
"The Royal Naval Tot Club of Antigua & Barbuda was formed in 1991 by a small group of 'like minded people' who met at the end of the working day to toast the Queen and reinstate the Royal Navy's tradition of a daily tot of rum which had been discontinued in 1970."
The club's website includes the following statement on the burgee (which is less detailed than previously reported) but has some "official" status:
"Unique to the Tot Club is its White Ensign burgee. The White Ensign is very jealously guarded by the Royal Yacht Squadron as the only club in the world whose members are permitted to wear the Royal Navy's White Ensign. The Tot Club obtained consent from the Admiralty to incorporate the pre-1801 White Ensign into its burgee and it is proudly flown from members' yachts. The Tot Club also obtained permission to hoist the White Ensign in Nelson's Dockyard on special days such as the Queen's birthday and anniversaries of famous British naval successes such as the Battle of Trafalgar. The Flagstaff in Nelson's Dockyard was restored by the Royal Naval Tot Club."
The actual burgee is shown on the "Memorabilia" section of the club's website
Ivan Sache, 19 February 2011