Sailing with the AA, 1888-1951
The recent donation of a bergee flag from the AA Sailing Club of the late 1940s by Oscar Gammans (AA 1949-1951.) has prompted a brief trawl through the archives in search of the origins of the AA’s boating exploits…

First mention of any such pursuits is made in 1888 when a rowing club was proposed, complete with annual events such as rowing up the Thames to Oxford. By the turn of the century, this small club seems to have petered out and it was not until 1936 that boating was resurrected in the form of the AA Sailing Club. The club managed to purchase 5 twelve foot ‘Sunburn’ dinghies, as illustrated in the AA Journal below and which were moored at at Burnham on Crouch, Essex.


The Club was also affiliated to the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, whose modernist clubhouse by Joseph Emberton would have just been relatively recently completed.

It seems that the AA Sailing Club was also at the centre of the AA’s social scene and organised a series of high-profile dances, including one held at Whistler’s house on Cheyne’ Walk…


Notable amongst the names of the organisers is that of Katharine Scott who, a year or so earlier, had showed at the Sailing Club AGM a film journal of her 24 day voyage between Glasgow and Kotka, Finland, working on-board a 4 masted barque!

After the war, however, the home of the AA’s sailing shifted to Hammersmith, where Oscar Gammans reports that the AA moored two ‘Firefly’ dinghies, ‘F35’ and ‘F36’, (presumably relating to the AA’s Bedford Sq. address)…