Our History

The Barbados Cruising Club was founded by Ian Gale, of The Barbados Advocate newspaper in October 1957 in response to restrictive membership practices then in place at the neighbouring Barbados Yacht Club. Founding members included a Who’s Who of Bajan society, most notably the Right Excellent Errol Walton Barrow, who after completing his term as the first club treasurer, went on to lead Barbados to independence from Britain in 1966, becoming the Island’s first Prime Minister. 42

The Club is located on Carlisle Bay and Pebbles Beach, on beach front that was once part of the hugely popular Barbados Aquatic Club ( now the Radisson Hotel). A plaque at its entrance honours Prime Minister Barrow and the Clubs founding.

Because of our perfect sailing conditions, beautiful beaches and crystal blue waters, yachting and sailing are steadily becoming mainstream sports in Barbados, especially with the Club’s introduction of Barbados Sailing Week with the Round the Island Annual race that attracts boats from all over the world. The Club’s mission, to make sailing available to ordinary Barbadians, is as important now as it was back then in 1957.

After many years as a vibrant social and sailing club, the Barbados Cruising Club fell into decline following the turn of the century. By 2006 the Club was effectively bankrupt, with large debts and few members. But those members never gave up and their persistence and determination paid off. A steering committee was created to guide the club back to life. Through their hard work, and partnerships 49 50with local businesses the Cruising Club was given a new lease of life.

The Club today is almost unrecognisable from the Cruising Club of 2006. Major renovations started in 2009, and continued through 2010. Our membership numbers grow month on month. The Cruising Club is now proudly back in its place as a vibrant South Coast hub, with regular sailing and social events. Although our decor has changed, and our facilities improved, the core values and aims of the Club have not. We are a totally inclusive club that has never refused membership to any applicant. We strive to share the ‘sailing bug’ throughout Barbados. We recognise the special place that Errol Barrow holds in our history through the name “Dippers”, his nickname, and also by hosting The Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Race on Errol Barrow Day, January 21st annually.

With a vibrant new Committee elected in November 2019 (see “News” ) the Club is dealing effectively with the many challenges of the last three years, including the unexpected and damaging COVID-19 global pandemic. We look forward to further growth and stability in the future and to serving our members with our trade-mark friendly excellence.