The Royal Varuna Yacht Club Gracing Pattaya for over 60 years!
By Gloria Jones
The Varuna Marine club was officially opened during the weekend of the 15th-16th February 1958. I can only hazard a guess as to how different the surrounding area looked back then, 62 years ago when Pattaya was virtually nothing but a sleepy little fishing village.
To this quiet,coastal spot came a water sports club that was to encompass: sailing, motor boating, water skiing and fishing with some pretty impressive members namely Prince Bhisatej the club’s first Captain of Sailing and its first Chairman Walter Meyer. Just six months prior to this Walter and his committee had created the club. It had originally been intended as an extension of the Royal Bangkok Sports Club but quickly became an entity in its own right with a dormitory for members’ accommodation and an entrance fee of just 250 Baht.
Back then the club’s headquarters was situated in a wooden house on the beach in South Pattaya actually moving to its current location, in Pratumnak on 14 September 1968. That was when the club’s royal patron his Majesty King Buhmibol Adulyadej officially opened the now Royal Varuna Yacht Club
King Bhumibol continued to take an active interest in the club for many years. His Majesty and eldest daughter Princess Ubolratana both being extremely proficient sailors. They even won gold medals, finishing equal first whilst racing OK dinghies in the Fourth Southeast Asian Peninsular games, (now known as the Southeast Asian Games). In fact the King was later bestowed the Insignia of the Olympic order by the International Olympic Committee in recognition of his prowess as a dinghy sailor and his contribution to the sport in general. His love for sailing extended to building the King’s Enterprise the “Rajpatan” and also his own OK dinghy.
The current King Maha Vajiralongkorng was also a visitor to the club and back in 1964 whilst the Crown Prince, he awarded Bill Gasson the first National Championship prize. The Royal Family would often visit the club, sometimes with honored guests such as Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II, who back then was Princess Margrethe and also the U.K.’s Prince Phillip (Duke of Edinburgh). It was after enjoying the hospitality of the royal family with a wonderful day’s sailing and a race to Koh Larn where they all enjoyed a picnic on the beach, that Prince Philip gifted King Bhumibol a Tornado Catamaran.
The royal patronage of the club is something the Royal Varuna Yacht Club is extremely proud of as well as its long standing history in Pattaya.. This article just contains a brief glimpse of the many interesting photographs around the club house.
We shall be looking at them in further detail in the next few editions of The Pattaya Trader but in the meantime why don’t you go along to Cozy Beach and have a look at these and also the very interesting memorabilia to be found there.
With thanks to The Royal Varuna Yacht Club for all photographs provided..