In 1956, 20 people agreed, at a public meeting, to revive the Chanonry (or Fortrose Boating) Club. The revived Club was to be known as the Chanonry Sailing Club, and would be based at Fortrose Harbour. They adopted the GP14 dinghy for racing and opened the Club to members with any interest in sailing. George Taylor, who recently retired as Harbourmaster, is the last of these founder members still active in the Club and has fascinating stories to tell.
In the latter part of the 19th century an annual regatta was held in Fortrose Bay in August with sailing, rowing and swimming competitions. The original Chanonry Boating Club developed from these regattas with the object of encouraging "Sailing, Rowing and Swimming." This Club suspended its activities in 1914. In 1928 the remaining assets were donated to other Clubs in Fortrose/Avoch .
Initially the revived Club operated from a Nissen hut on the site of the present Clubhouse. This was rented from Fortrose Town Council, who later gave the hut and land to the Club. Between then and now the Clubhouse has been through a number of transformations, culminating in 1994 with the construction of the present two-storey building. Parts of the original hut can still be seen, incorporated in the present changing rooms.
Fortrose Harbour represents a link with the '45. Its construction in 1817 was funded in part from the residual funds of the Commissioners of the Forfeited Estates. The engineer was Thomas Telford. For most of its life the harbour was used by trading vessels and by a regular passenger service to Inverness. Occasionally the anchorage was used by the smaller ships of the Royal Navy.
Sailing activities have developed over the years, starting with a mix of dinghies and motor craft. The dinghy fleet grew in strength and the seventies saw the addition of keelboats such as the Flying Fifteen. The GP14 fleet was particularly strong during the sixties and early seventies, while more recently the Club has developed strength in Wayfarer, Laser, RS and Topper dinghies.
Towards the end of the seventies the number of cruisers joining the Club began to increase, until in the eighties we had almost equal numbers of cruisers and dinghies. As well as participating in the Club's racing programme, the cruiser fleet uses the Club as a base for exploring the coasts and harbours of the Moray Firth. Many cruisers travel further afield: through the Caledonian Canal or "over the top" to the West Coast, to the Orkneys, and even as far as Norway. Some members now base their cruisers on the West Coast.
The Club has a reputation for running friendly, welcoming, and well-organised events and a number of our members are well known on the Scottish and UK sailing scenes.
Chanonry Sailing Club also has an active junior and youth sailing community. We particularly encourage the sharing of skills and expertise as a valuable way of continuing the development of sailing and watersports in the Moray Firth area.
Those interested in the Club’s history can find albums and archives in the book case in the Clubhouse.