HMS St.Mathew History


In 1940 the Admiralty requisitioned part of the Royal Burnham Yacht Club’s premises to house administrative staff for crews sent to man the Coastal Force boats under the command of Captain Dane RN. At the same time the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club was taken over to accommodate the boys of the Training Ship EXMOUTH.

The Royal Maritime Training Centre was then transferred from Dartmouth to Burnham and commissioned as HMS ST.MATHEW. Captain Dane was still in command and he and his staff took over the Royal Burnham Yacht Club, whose members were made honorary members of the Officers Mess based in their own clubhouse. The Navy in charge of landing craft, the Coastal Forces crews and the WRNS were all billeted around the town with the Marines at the Royal Corinthian and their officers at Creeksea Place. Some were billeted at the Crouch Yacht Club and Nissen Huts were built at the Royal Burnham Yacht Club to house sick bays.

In appreciation of the co-operation between the town, yacht clubs and the personnel of HMS ST. MATHEW, Captain Dane and his officers presented the Council with a trophy to be known as the HMS ST.MATHEW Cup and it was agreed that the four yacht clubs would race for the trophy annually, originally intending the inaugural race in 1946. However it was not possible to organise enough boats or crews so soon after the end of war and it was postponed until the following year.

Each year one of the Clubs provided four one-design boats to enable all the Clubs to participate, with a draw for boats, owners not being allowed to sail in their own boat. The races were extremely competitive and club members considered it a privilege to represent their club to try and win this prestigious trophy. In 1950 the United Hospitals Sailing Club became part of the competition and continued to compete until the club moved away from Burnham,

In recent years the type of boats and format has been changed a number of times and match racing has become a popular choice, but it is up to the rotating Host Club to decide on the format and which type of boats are used.

Since 1991 the Club Wins are shown below

Burnham Sailing Club – 23 Wins

Royal Corinthian Yacht Club – 14 Wins

Royal Burnham Yacht Club – 6 Wins

United Hospitals Club – 3 Wins

Crouch Yacht Club – 2 Wins