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Yacht Club de France

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The Yacht Club de France members' private signals

Whitney Smith [smi76c] defined the private signals as 'the flags of individuals who own yachts or other vessels. [The private signals] are properly displayed at the mainmast or main truck".

The 1930 directory of the Yacht-Club de France shows 608 private signals belonging to the members of the YCF.

In Ar Banniel [arb] #12 (Summer 2000), Alain Raullet described the19 black and white private signals shown in the YCF directory. This page shows some of those private signals. The images have been done after the plate published in Ar Banniel.

Ivan Sache, 26 July 2003

Jean Charcot

[Jean Charcot's signal]by Ivan Sache

Jean Charcot (1867-1936), was a physician like his father Jean Martin Charcot (1825-1893), the famous psychiatrist. However, he is mostly known for his oceanographical campaigns in the polar regions.

Charcot purchased his first boat at the age of 25. He visited the Jan Mayen island in 1902. He explored the Antarctic regions for the first time in 1905 on his boat Le Français and made the first map of the Graham Land. During his second expedition in 1908-1910 on the Pourquoi-Pas ?, he reached the Alexandra Land and the island now known as the Charcot Island. After having served in the British administration during the First World War, Charcot resumed his expeditions in northern Atlantic Ocean. From 1920 to 1936, he explored the Hebrid Islands and then the eastern coast of Greenland. On the morning of 16 September 1936, following a 12-hr thunderstorm, the Pourquoi-Pas ? broke against reefs in the Faxafjord. Charcot and his crew died but one.

Charcot's private signal is diagonally divided white-black, with a black question mark in canton, refering to the name of his ship, the Pourquoi-Pas ? (Why Not?).

Alain Raullet saw Charcot's signal on a tall ship during the Quai des Artistes Festival in Binic (Brittany) in 1999.

Baron Gérard de Dampierre

[Baron de Dampierre's signal]by Ivan Sache

The signal is white with three black lozenges placed 2 + 1. It is the Baron's banner of arms.

André Derrien

[Derrien's private signal]by Ivan Sache

The signal is white with the sketchy representation of a 'long-eared' animal. The 'long-eared animal' is a rabbit, whose name should never been said on board. This tradition is said to date back to the early times of transoceanic sail shipping, when a few rabbits taken on board for food escaped and devasted the grain cargo.

Michael Farmer

[Michael Farmer's private signal]by Ivan Sache

The signal is black with a white Magen David.

Marquis de Ivanrey (racing signal)

[Marquis de Ivanrey's signal]by Ivan Sache

The signal is black with a white canton.


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