About our club

The club has perfectly placed premises at Cuan Beach, Killyleagh. Situated on the south western shores of Strangford Lough, we have access to one of the most scenic stretches of water in the United Kingdom and Ireland. We’re proud of our playground but it’s our hospitality that sets us apart. Whether it be members, guests or visiting sailors, Killyleagh is known for its warm welcome to all. We’re a club run by our members, for our members.

  • Club History

  • Officers

Supplied by Jim Lindsay

The first regatta

Yacht racing has always been a popular sport on Strangford Lough and Killyleagh was the first town to organise a Regatta on the Lough. The earliest recorded regatta was held in 1853, although evidence suggests that such events were taking place in the town before this date. In these early days, the boats that were raced were largely the local fishing boats, their numbers increased by boats from other ports and some rowing races.

Supplied by Jim Lindsay

A grand occasion

Gradually the Regatta changed with larger racing yachts owned by the “gentry” and boats from Belfast Lough taking part beside the local boats.
This became a grand occasion in the social calendar. Steamships brought spectators from Belfast; the bands played from launches in the bay; there were sports and fireworks displays, and the local factories closed for the day to allow everybody to enjoy the events.

Supplied by Jim Lindsay

However, after the 1st World War, interest in the annual regatta waned and although the local sailors continued to race whatever small boats were available, it was not until 1944 when some people from the town decided to form Killyleagh Boating Club – that this became formalised again. The first report of Club racing at the boating club appears in the Down Recorder on 24th June 1944. There were two classes taking part. At this time all races were started from the “Quay-End”. This was to continue for many years until the present site of Killyleagh Yacht Club at Cuan Beach was acquired in 1962.

Supplied by Jim Lindsay

New site, new start

The Cuan Beach site was used for the start battery of the Regatta for the first time that year. The weather for Regatta week had been poor and had resulted in postponement of Strangford, Portaferry and Kircubbin Regattas. Although conditions were not ideal, Killyleagh Regatta had a good turn-out of 109 boats, including Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club Dragons and Fairies and the Holywood Scorpions. Almost 60 years later, the club has gone from strength to strength – still boasting over 100 competitors at most regattas, albeit in fibreglass racing cruisers, squibs, sportsboats and modern dinghies rather than the wooden ones from all those years ago.


In addition to Thursday and Saturday club racing, recent years have seen Killyleagh Yacht Club regularly host other events throughout the season, including; Killyleagh Regatta, the Sail4Cancer Series, Topperdome, the Open Keelboat event, the Strangford Lough Youth Series, SLRCA Round the Lough and the Diehard Dinghy Series. We’ve also played host to a number of regional and national championship events including; Squib Irish Nationals, Squib Northerns , ITCA Topper Northerns, Traveller events and Winter Regatta, UK Formula 1 Nationals and Flying Fifteens nationals.