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Yvelines (Department, France): Yacht clubs

Last modified: 2003-12-27 by
Keywords: yvelines | yacht club | vaux-sur-seine | ile-de-france |
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Cercle de la Voile de Vaux-sur-Seine

[CV Vaux]by Ivan Sache

The Cercle de la Voile de Vaux-sur-Seine is based in Vaux-sur-Seine, a small city located on the river Seine, downstream from Paris.
The burgee of the CVVX is a white flag with two red triangles placed vertically along the hoist. It is similar to the burgee of the St. Thomas Yacht Club, in the US Virgin Islands.

The classical design of the burgee seems to indicate that the yacht club is fairly ancient.

Source: CVVX website

Ivan Sache, 17 July 2002

Yacht Club de l'Ile-de-France

[YCIF flag]by Ivan Sache

At the end of the XIXth century, the development of yachting started in France in the valley of the river Seine. France has more than 5,000 kms of coasts, but at that time these coasts were very far from Paris.

Open-air cafés and dance halls called guinguettes flourished on the banks of the Seine and the Marne, attracting a wide clientele. People from the upper-middle classes from Paris mixed with factory workers, artists and hoodlums. Swimming, rowing and boating were popular activities. Small shipyards were established on the river banks, in which new kinds of sailboats were built. Rapidly, famous naval architects like Gustave Caillebotte (also known as an Impressionist painter, an art patron and a distinguished yachtman), Chevreux, Tellier and Texier, launched their new ship models on the Seine.

Several sailboat owners lived in Chatou, downstream of Paris, where they founded in 1902 the Club Nautique de Chatou. They built a clubhouse on the Impressionists' Island, a small island where the Impressionist painters and their friends met in the Fournaise Inn (Maison Fournaise, now a museum and still an inn). The architect Texier designed in 1899 a dinghy called Immuable (Immutable), based on the model of the American Lark. The Immuable was renamed Monotype de Chatou (Chatou One-design sailboat), nicknamed la Punaise (the Bug) because of its flat shape. The members of the CNC were funny guys and received the nickname of Chatouillards, based on Chatou and chatouiller, to tickle.

The CNC nearly extincted after the First World War, but its nine remaining members were able to maintain and promote yachting activity. In the late 1920s, it appears that the site of Chatou was too small for the club, and it was decided to move downstream to Meulan, where the yachting races of the 1900 and 1924 Olympic Games had taken place. Thanks to the generosity of club member Armand Esdars, 4 ha of land were purchased and a new clubhouse was inaugurated in 1929. In 1930, the members of the CNC decided to find a new boat since the Monotype of Chatou had became obsolete. They bought a license for the Shark boat to the shipyard of Abo (Finland). The Shark was renamed Aile (Wing).

On 18 June 1939, the CNC was renamed Yacht Club de l'Ile-de-France. Unfortunately, the YCIF was located close to the airfield of Les Muraux, and was bombed on 3 June 1940 by the Germans, who believed it was a seaplane base. In 1944, the Americans made the same mistake.

The clubhouse was reconstructed but the YCIF faced a big crisis in 1964. Following Eric Tabarly's victory in the Transat race, most yachtmen were attracted by sea racing and abandoned inland waters. In the 1980s, Pierre Bogrand, who had introduced the Optimist boat in France, decided to restore the last Aile boats kept by the YCIF and to build new ones.

The flag of the YCIF is white with a red horizontal stripe in the middle and two blue vertical stripes. The flag of the YCIF (then the CNC) was designed by the famous fashion designer Paul Poiret (1879-1944). Poiret was one of the early members of the CNC. He organized 'descents' (descentes) of the Seine, during which the ladies and supply sailed on his personal barges Amour (Love), Delices (Delights) and Orgues (Organs). Poiret was the first designer to get rid of the bodice.

Source: YCIF website

Ivan Sache, 5 July 2003