The Kisumu Yacht Club was founded at a meeting held in the Nyanza Club by those interested in sailing on the 20th of January, 1938. Mr. Tomkinson elected to the chair in the presence of 21 others.

Mr Cornish, Dr. Cornacle Messrs. Onslow, Farley and Stevenson were elected to draw the club constitution and rules. In June 1938 the first jetty was constructed and Kisumu Yacht Club held their first regatta in December the same year. During these years they faced a lot of difficulties. In April 1940 sailors planned a long distance race from Kisumu to Kendu Bay and return on 'August Bank Holiday' spending the night at Kisii but war restrictions prevented this from being realized.

On 9th Sept, 1944 (a Saturday), a yacht which mysteriously disappeared from Kisumu Yacht Club a few days earlier re-appeared. It turned up 200miles off on the side of lake Victoria near Bukoba in Uganda with three prisoners of war from Kenya. What good they thought they would do to themselves through the voyage is another matter. They were bound for Portuguese West Africa. They had along trek but got no further, the Chief of Ihangiro found them & surrounded by the tribesmen with bows and arrows and handed them over to Bukoba Police who in turn arranged for their return to Kenya.

In October 1948 Kisumu Yacht Club hosted the East African Regatta to yachting teams from Uganda, Naivasha and Mombasa. The Uganda team included members of Victoria Nyanza Sailing Club from both Entebe and Kampala. Mombasa won this event with Victoria Nyanza Sailing Club second, Kisumu Yacht Club third and Naivasha fourth; the winners being decided on a points basis according to the finishing positions of their boats in each four races. 

In the same event the Kisumu yacht club established a lead at the end the first day but Charles Atkins at a protest meeting was disqualified for failing to give way at a buoy.

In November 1956, the management committee completed the the construction of the now standing club house and celebrated the occasion on the 15th of December1956, with dinner and dance tickets being sold at Kshs.5/-.

Mombasa won the second Salt Water Trophy. Seven clubs took part in the regatta for the salt water trophy which Mombasa hosted for helm men from Karara, Kisumu, Lessos, Naivasha, Tanga and Victoria Nyanza Sailing Club from Uganda

Kisumu Yacht club launched the Olympic trophy to coach Sailors to the Olympic standard and this attracted many entries which sailed on the main lake. Despite strong winds and storms, the event was hugely successful.

In 1962, yachtsmen at Kisumu Yacht Club woefully watched a rowing boat paddle its way across over what once had been their jetty. The level of water had risen to 5ft. and it swept up the club lawn, along with the beautiful flowers and even the concrete seats for viewers.

Kisumu has in the past years organized a sailing event dubbed "Three Of A Kind" with three East African countries participating i.e. Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. The Events are sponsored by the former IDK (now UDV) which took over from Kenya Airways.

The club organises sailing events every week-end, motor boat racing, water skiing and even fishing competitions.

The management committee with the leadership of commodore Mr.Praful Shah embarked on constructing the club in keeping with new technology. The club now has a facelift. With his team they constructed a dining hall, built to the best standards; also the swamp that was a breeding ground for mosquitoes and had kept away members from visiting the club in the late evenings is now covered. The construction of resting sheds on this area is planned for the future. During the tenure of this team, a dyke was built and the loose-stone wall was re-constructed by qualified masons. The Commodore was also responsible for the Sailing School for the young. 

The Club has a lot more to look forward to in the future. Please feel free to contact or visit us in person for any queries and suggestions you may have. We look forward to your visit!

- Article contributed by Mr.Praful Shah

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