History DBYC

The DBYC’s chequered history is closely linked to the history of allied West Berlin. The club started life in 1947 – just two years after the defeat of Nazi Germany and some fifteen years before the construction of the Berlin Wall, with the founding of the United Forces Sailing Club and the United Services Yacht Club on the club’s present site. During the 1948 Soviet blockade of West Berlin, when for eleven months the entire western sector of the city was sustained almost wholly by an Allied military air lift, the present DBYC club site played a pivotal role. It served as a fuelling point for Royal Air Force Sunderland flying boats delivering, among other items, coal, salt and baking powder from Hamburg. A pipeline from nearby Royal Air Force Gatow military airport supplied fuel directly to the flying boats which landed just in front of the present club site on the Havel river.

1952 saw the founding of the Berlin British Yacht Club which catered almost exclusively to British military personnel and their families.  It was not until 1970 that German citizens were permitted to join the club.

The first East German citizen took part in the club’s Grand Slam regatta for the Laser OK- dinghy and Europe classes on the 10th and 11th of November 1989, just two days after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The fall of the Berlin Wall and subsequent German reunification in 1990, rendered the Allies’ military presence in Berlin unnecessary. Their withdrawal was imminent. On November 6, 1991, the club prepared for the inevitable and founded the current DBYC – Deutsch-Britischer Yacht Club with a commitment to uphold the best traditions of German-British sailing and understanding.

The DBYC was officially opened on October 1, 1992. It is an important part of the Berlin sailing scene. Rosemary Spencer, the then head of the Berlin branch of the British embassy to Germany agreed to become an active honorary member and patroness of the club setting a seal on Anglo-German friendship for posterity. On July 2, 1994, the DBYC bade its British BBYC forerunner and its many Allied friends  farewell with a big party.
But the DBYC entered stormy waters in 2001 when the new owners of the site, The Federal Republic of Germany, represented by the Federal Property Office (BIMA) demanded a rent increase of more than 400 percent for the land lease. The club is not able to meet the BIMA’s extraordinary financial demands. The price demanded for direct purchase of the site is also way beyond the DBYC’s means. The dispute goes to court. In 2006 after several years of legal wrangling, an agreement is reached by both sides at Berlin’s federal state court, which appears to put the DBYC on a manageable and stable financial footing.

Yet hopes of a secure future are suddenly dashed in 2010 when the BIMA announces that it intends to cancel its lease contract at the end of the year. The DBYC appeals against the BIMA’s decision to both the Federal Chancellery and the Ministry of Finance. Finally in January 2011, both sides agree on a new and affordable lease agreement which allows the club to survive on a sustainable basis. For his efforts in securing the new lease agreement, DBYC member and former club president Professor Frank Judis, was made  honorary club president for life.

 

Chronology

1947

Founding of the United Forces Sailing Club and the British United Services Yacht Club. An Inter-Services Sailing Club already existed.

1948

During the Berlin Air Lift jetties at the site of today’s DBYC are used to fuel Royal Air Force Sunderland flying boats supplying West Berlin during the 11 month Soviet land blockade of the city. Fuel for the aircraft is delivered by pipeline direct from the nearby RAF Gatow military airfield. During the Air Lift, sailing activities are moved to a new and temporary club site at the Stoessensee bridge on the Havel river near Spandau. The name of the new club is British Stoessensee Yacth club. After the end of the Soviet blockade in June 1949, British sailing activity returns to the current DBYC site in Kladow. The Stoessensee see club becomes the British Army Canoe Club.

1950

A name plate in the DBYC shows that the club was then called Allied Forces Sailing Club.

1952

To mark the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, a Coronation Cup regatta is held  at the Stoessensee club indicating that the British Forces sailing went on a two club sites. Later the same year, all sailing activities are moved to the current DBYC site at Kladow and the club is renamed British Berlin Yacht Club

1960

The first Inter Services Regatta is held between competing crews from the British, French and American yacht clubs.

1961

The Inter Services Cup Regatta is renamed Tripartite Regatta and held three times a year with each participating club staging the event in turn. In 1993 the hitherto successful Tripartite series is suspended for nine years as the Allies withdraw from Berlin.

1965

The club premises, then a corrugated iron hut, are demolished to make way for a new clubhouse  – since modified but still standing.

1970

The first German citizens are admitted as members. The old jetties used to refuel RAF sea planes during the Air Lift are demolished to make way for large jetties to meet the club’s growing membership.

1972

The club boatman Ernst Beelitz is killed by a bomb planted on the club’s premises by the so-called June 2. Leftist terrorist gang. He dies after mistakenly detonating the explosive device. The then Rear Commodore of the club, represented by Lt Col B. Steward, the BBYC club manager, creates the Beelitz Trophy in his honour.

1975

New buildings are added to the club. Windsurfing and waterskiing are added to the activities offered.

1985

The Berlin City government provides the BBYC with ten Zugvogel class sailing dinghies. The boats enable the club to start Zugvogel class racing on a regular basis including Frostbite series winter racing.

1988

The club reopens after extensive renovation in August.

1989

November 9. Fall of the Berlin Wall. The first East German citizen took part in the club’s Grand Slam regatta for the Laser OK- dinghy and Europe classes on the 10th and 11th of November 1989, just two days later.

1991

During the Gulf War the club remains closed for security reasons from January 15 until March 23. On November 6, the DBYC is founded with a commitment to uphold the best traditions of German-British sailing and understanding.

1992

The BBYC celebrates its 40th anniversary.

1993

The BBYC hosts the, for the time being,  “last” Tripartite Regatta involving participants from all three allied sailing clubs in Berlin.

1994

On July 2, and with a big party, the club takes leave of the British Berlin Yacht Club  and many of  its allied friends.

2002

The 50th anniversary of the BBYC/DBYC is marked with a summer party. The Tripartite regatta is revived after an interval of nine years. For reasons of cost and logistics – participating boats from the French sailing club in Tegel have to be towed to the DBYC – the event is held in club rotation only once a year.

2001/2011

But the DBYC entered stormy waters in 2001 when the new owners of the site, The Federal Republic of Germany, represented by the Federal Property Office (BIMA) demanded a rent increase of more than 400 percent for the land lease. The club is not able to meet the BIMA’s extraordinary financial demands. The price demanded for direct purchase of the site is also way beyond the DBYC’s means. The dispute goes to court. In 2006 after several years of legal wrangling, an agreement is reached by both sides at Berlin’s federal state court, which appears to put the DBYC on a manageable and stable financial footing.

Yet hopes of a secure future are suddenly dashed in 2010 when the BIMA announces that it intends to cancel its lease contract at the end of the year. The DBYC appeals against the BIMA’s decision to both the Federal Chancellery and the Ministry of Finance. Finally in January 2011, both sides agree on a new and affordable lease agreement which allows the club to survive on a sustainable basis. For his efforts in securing the new lease agreement, DBYC member and former club president Professor Frank Judis, was made  honorary club president for life.

2014

The DBYC hosts the Berlin Segler-Verband ( Berlin Sailing Association)  end of season event.

2016

The DBYC hosts the annual International championship for the German Zugvogel class. On September 3, the DBYC celebrates the 25th anniversary of its founding.