The Sussex Motor Yacht Club was founded in April 1907. The Bystander, a magazine of the day, reported in its May 22, 1907 edition, that “the inaugural luncheon of the club was held at the Grand Hotel, Brighton, on Saturday the 11th of May 1907; and, as the afternoon was delightfully fine, the opening cruise which followed was thoroughly enjoyed, particularly by the club’s guests.” The Bystander also reported that “Although only a month old, the Sussex Motor Boat Club already numbers upwards of one hundred members; and if, as seems probable, it is able to secure from the Corporation of Brighton the proposed site for its new club-house—on the seafront, where the Aquarium now stands, or, rather, lies buried—there is no reason why, in time, it should not develop into one of the most popular yachting centres on the South Coast.”
The Bystander article reflects that the club’s chairman was Sir Theodore Angier, and that his speech “was really interesting, because there is nothing worth knowing about motor-boating that he doesn’t know.” Following the speeches, the members went for an hour’s run in members’ boats, and afterward, “we went ashore again, and were entertained at tea by Mr. Harry Preston at the Royal York [Hotel]….” Preston appears to have been one of the club’s organisers and, at the time, was the owner of the Royal York.
It is unclear when the Club moved to premises at 7 Ship Street. but the Navy List of 1927 shows Middle Street as the Club’s address, whilst the Navy List for 1938 shows the address as 7 Ship Street. It would appear from various magazines and Admiralty correspondence that the first Commodore of the Club was the Duke of Westminster. In 1909 the Duke raced an un-named motorboat as Commodore of Sussex Motor Yacht Club in the Hydroplane Regatta held at Monaco. The Duke was also a member of the Royal Yacht Squadron but chose to enter and skipper his boat as an S.M.Y.C. member. In the same year he also entered the Cowes Motor Boat Regatta in his 40 footer, Ursula, and in August, raced for the Harmsworthy Trophy.