On the 8th July 1772, Lord Courtenay with his friend Sir Lawrence Palk of Haldon, along with twenty seven other members of the nobility, gentry and clergy formed the “Starcross Club”.
Sailing activities of the Starcross Club have been well documented, recorded between 11th August 1775 to 30th November 1912 in twenty known articles printed in the then “Exeter Flying Post”. These articles recounted a ‘Fete Marine’ held under the auspices of the Starcross Club and arranged by William, Viscount Courtenay (1768 –1835). Subsequent regattas of a similar nature were held regularly and reported in the “Flying Post” until it ceased publication early last century.
From 1886 to 1966 the Club was based in the Courtenay Arms Hotel in Starcross. The 1914 – 1918 war resulted in a poor post war membership and it briefly amalgamated with the Checkstone Yacht Club of Exmouth. In 1933 the club was presented with a small wooden hut complete with a ‘grand’ balcony which overlooked the moorings at Starcross Quay, that hut became known as the “Pinch and Tickle” and still stands today cared for by the Starcross Fishing and Cruising Club. (It sounds as if the old hut was as lively as the new club)?
Around this time the craft were very stoutly built in the classic method of clinker construction and designed to be left on moorings. Gradually however, lighter modern dinghies became popular and resulted in the club moving, in 1957 (with the enthusiastic support of the Earl of Devon) back to Powderham Point from where the very first ‘Fete Marine’ started some 200 years before.