“Corinthian” Sailing

The word “Corinthian” is taken in the sailing world to mean “amateur” and is derived from the Corinthian games in ancient Greece, which took place on the isthmus of Corinth, contemporary to the Olympic Games. The founders of the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club (RCYC) in 1872 took note of these historical games and referenced them in naming their club.  This was to emphasize their desire that the members should helm their boats, rather than relying entirely on paid crew as was done at the other clubs of the time.

The General Rules of the RCYC, adopted in 1873, state the purpose of the club quite simply:

“The primary object of this Club shall be the encouragement of amateur yacht sailing” - Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, 1873

The rules of the 1932 Olympic Games, later adopted by the RCYC, state that yachting participants are required to be Corinthian:

Corinthianism in yachting is that attribute which represents participation in sport as distinct from gain and which also involves the acquirement of nautical experience through the love of the sport rather than through necessity or the hope of gain.

Today, there are many yacht clubs around the world which incorporate the word, and the ideals of, “Corinthian” into their names.