Seletar Yacht Club

The large area of Water, known as the Johore Straits, adjacent to the Royal Air Force Singapore (Later to become RAF Seletar), provides an excellent stretch of water for boat sailing, and it required little imagination, from sailing enthusiasts, to realise that conditions were favourable for the formation of the Seletar Yacht Club.

A Meeting was called in December, 1933, at which some 30 Officers and airmen interested in sailing, attended. At that time there were no boats, no boathouse & no funds. It was, therefore, decided to order twelve small class boats of the Moth type; these little boats are fully decked, Bermudian rigged and fitted with centre boards. Messrs Thornycroft of Singapore agreed to build these boats for $50 each complete.

A Cheap small boat of this type enabled airmen to by their own boats, and eventually 18 of this type were built for club members.

A Large attap garage was bodily carried by 300 coolies to the foreshore to provide the first boathouse to accommodate the Moths, and several Horsley packing cases were incorporated in the building to provide sail lockers, storerooms and Changing rooms.

Meanwhile many willing helpers had built up the foreshore and with the help of a good friend C.W. Bailey, a slipway was built from the boathouse to the water.

About this time the Swimming pool and dressing rooms were completed, and a freshwater shower installed alongside the Yacht club Boathouse. The amenities provided additional attraction to the club

Members soon learned to sail the moths well, and many keen races were in progress.

The club was officially opened by Air Commodore S.W. Smith O.B.E., A.O.C RAF., Far East, in February 1934.

Interest in sailing on the station increased, and the need for a larger type of boat was apparent. The Commodore of the club, Group Captain E J P Burling, therefore, designed a 12ft pram dinghy to meet the sailing conditions, these boat were built of teak by Messrs Thornycroft for $100 each complete. The boats are Carvel built, Burgundian rigged and fitted with a centre plate. Club members owned 21 of these boats .Altogether over 100 boats of this type have been built by Thorneycrofts of Singapore.

Owing to the increase in the numbers of members of the club, and to the increase in the number of boats, more Club premises and boathouse accommodation were required. Consequently another boathouse was built to accommodate 30 boat, complete with sail lockers and stores.

Club & Bathing Pool 1934

Club Verandah 1934

Club Garden 1934

Executive Committee, Sailing Committee and winning Crews 1934

(Barman Ahmat sitting Centre)

Noel Coward in Burling Pram with Sgt McDonald & W/Cdr Burling fending off 1934

Gp Cpt Burling 21st Anniversary July 1959

Gp Cpt Burling 21st Anniversary July 1959




Executive Committee, Sailing Committee, Power Committee & House Committee 1970

Ahmat sitting centre holding 1934 picture

Inset Sqn Ldr D Norton, Club's vice president (on leave at time photo taken)

An integral part of the Seletar Yacht Clubs history is Ahmat the Barman who remained with the club throughout its entire life. As can be seen above he appears in the 1934 and the 1970 Photographs. During the 1939/45 war he went to ground – as did the clubs silver. He returned to service at the same time as the silver, after the war. The silver was buried in a gunny sack on the site of the new Officers' mess. Ahmat retired for medical reasons in September 1970.