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Home / The Club / About


Axe Yacht Club - A Members' Club NOT A Marina

A Warm Welcome

The Commodore and all members of the Axe Yacht Club welcome you and hope that you enjoy the facilities the Club offers. Founded in 1936, the Club's objective is to promote & facilitate a range of water sports, whilst enjoying & preserving the beautiful Axmouth Harbour.

Volunteering at AYC 

A particular feature of the Club is that it is maintained and operated by volunteers from across the membership. This self-help ethos is the essence of AYC and over the years has significantly reduced the cost of projects and maintenance. This has enabled the Club to keep the cost of being a member of AYC low compared with other harbours. Giving time to the Club is a requirement of membership and volunteering is also a great way to meet other members of the Club. Volunteering at AYC.

The affairs of the Club are managed by the volunteer Executive Committee, which is chaired by the Commodore. Club activities are overseen by three Rear Commodores (Activities Afloat, Harbour Services, & Social). They are supported by a number of sub-committees and this enables as many members as possible to be involved in the day-to-day running of the Club from the grass roots up.

Activities Afloat

The Club currently has around 900 members who enjoy a very wide range of water-based activities; racing, cruising, dinghy sailing, day boating, angling, power-boating, scuba diving, water ski-ing, and windsurfing. Having a membership with such a broad range of boating interests is a huge strength of AYC and sets us apart from many other clubs. To run the programme of Club yacht and dinghy racing from April to October relies on volunteers to act as Race Officers, time-keepers & support boat drivers/crews.

Coastal cruising is a very popular Club activity, with AYC yachts & motor boats being regular visitors to other ports along the south coast, across the Channel, and further afield. For those keen to race as well as cruise, there is a full programme of bay & passage races.

Dinghies launch from the beach in front of the Clubhouse to sail in Lyme Bay, and also have the benefit of being able to sail in the more sheltered surroundings of the River Axe & Axmouth Harbour. The dinghy sailing programme includes fun skill development sessions and Club racing in Lyme Bay. There is also a series of races held on the River Axe throughout the season. Cadets take part in all aspects of the dinghy sailing programme. In addition, a Cadet Activity Week is held during the summer holidays, which includes water-based activities and social events for cadets & their families. All cadet sessions are organised by parents and volunteers. We rely on parents to help with rigging dinghies, launching/retrieving and manning the support boats. If you are keen to help but do not have much experience don't worry - training will be given!

The motor boaters enjoy a range of activities including angling, power-boating, scuba diving & water ski-ing. Some motorboats are moored on the pontoons during the season, whilst others use the slipway for launch and retrieval.

See Activities Afloat for more details.

Harbour Services

Axe Yacht Club is a members club and definitely NOT a marina. The Bosun is contracted to provide general marine services for the Club, including supervision of boat parking in the yard, operation of the boat hoist and other plant machinery, as well as maintenance dredging in the winter months. He is supported by a team of volunteers from across the membership who provide invaluable knowledge, skill and hard work to help maintain the facilities we all enjoy, including the mooring basin, pontoons, boatyard, and clubhouse. Power and water points are available in the yard. An upgrade to the Harbour Services team headquarters adjacent to the slipway, known affectionately as 'Fred's Shed', is planned for 2024. See Harbour Services for more information.

Social Programme

The Club's activities afloat are supported by a full programme of social events. The Bar is open every Friday evening and Sunday lunchtime throughout the year. During the season, it is also usually open on Saturday evenings. A flag is flown from the flagpole in front of the race hut at the east end of the clubhouse when the bar is open. The social team relies on volunteers to help with making tea & coffee, baking cakes, cooking Sunday lunch, helping with fund-raising events, running BBQ's and organising a multitude of other functions throughout the year - see Social Programme

** Volunteers are needed in all areas of the Club both Summer and Winter **

So, if you have any spare time, why not help out and have a bit of fun along the way!

Contact and let us know what area of the Club you can help with.

General Information


The Clubhouse offers a stunning view across Lyme Bay framed by the cliffs of Beer Head. It is open to members 24 hours a day with access controlled by an electronic fob. In addition to showers/toilets and changing facilities, there is a large function room, a kitchen and a well-stocked Bar. See Clubhouse Facilities for more details. Sea state, wind direction and forecasts are displayed on a screen in the Clubhouse, together with another screen showing a Webcam view of the river entrance.

Family, Cadet & Young Person Membership

Whether your interest is sailing or motorboating, we aim to encourage the whole family to get out on the water and have fun. Family membership is available for one or two co-habiting adults & their children under the age of 18 years. A child aged 7-17 years may apply to join as a cadet member either in association with an adult member of their immediate family or as part of a family membership. There are currently approximately 100 cadet members. There is also a concessionary membership rate available for those aged 18 to 25 years. See Family Membership & Cadets.

Site Access

The Club leases the site, which extends from the roadway to the beach, from East Devon District Council. The Club holds a 28 year lease, effective from March 2017 and sublets an area of the yard to the Axe Vale Canoe Club.

Vehicular access is via the main gate and barrier, which is operated by a key fob. Public pedestrian access to the beach is along the rear of the houses on Trevelyan Road, and for safety and security reasons we do not encourage wandering through the boatyard. The slipway is not generally available to non-members. The boatyard is crowded and busy when boating activities are in progress and extreme caution is required when walking, working or driving. A speed limit of 5mph is in force over the whole site.

Vehicle Parking

Above the beach area is the designated parking place and parking in the boatyard is prohibited except for off-loading. One parking permit is included with each membership unless the membership secretary is informed that it is not required. Members may obtain an additional parking permit from the membership secretary. Permits must be renewed each year and displayed clearly when parked at the Club. Overnight stays in vehicles or on boats in the yard are not permitted. 

Yard Storage, Moorings and Slipways

There are around 105 moorings on the pontoons in the basin. These are all allocated to Club members and there is a waiting list managed by the Harbour Secretary. Please contact the Harbour Secretary with any queries about the waiting list and NOT the Bosun ( Access to the pontoons is controlled via the same electronic fob as the clubhouse and main gate, and this is programmed to each individual member's needs. For safety reasons, no BBQs are permitted on any boat or pontoon within the harbour. Moorings may only be occupied between April and October.

The boatyard can accommodate a number of launch & retrieve boats and dinghies but yard storage space is a limiting factor for the Club at present, both summer and winter. A waiting list for yard storage will be introduced in 2024/5. Boats should be prepared for launch before arrival at the main slipway so as to make a quick getaway to avoid congestion. The small slipway can be used to launch and recover tenders and small dinghies when not in use by the Canoe Club. There is a designated dinghy parking area adjacent to the clubhouse. Dinghy sailors have the benefit of being able to sail on the Axe estuary as well as in Lyme Bay. Beach launching for dinghies is facilitated by a Gridforce ground re-inforcement system and matting laid over the shingle just to the east of the Clubhouse. A winch is available to help with recovery.

Using The Basin and Estuary

Boating in the basin, estuary and on the approaches requires considerable care because of strong currents of up to 5 kts, particularly during Spring tides, in moderate to strong winds and because of the shifting shingle bar just off the river mouth. General advice for harbour users is given for guidance only and the Club accepts no responsibility. Members & visitors using the Club and boating in and out of the River Axe do so entirely at their own risk and must carry third party insurance liability cover of £3,000,000 minimum. All harbour users are strongly advised to read the Pilotage notes - Axmouth Harbour Pilotage.

Club Dinghies & Support Boats

The Club owns a number of dinghies and support boats, which are available for use during organised sailing sessions. The Club dinghies allow members of all ages who are new to dinghy sailing to gain some basic skills, before considering buying their own boat.


Members are welcome to introduce up to three guests to the Club in any one day and should sign their guests in the Visitors book, which is on the shelf in the Clubhouse entrance. The same guest may not be introduced more than three times in any calendar year. Members must purchase a visitor's parking permit if their guest brings a car on site (available in the main entrance of the clubhouse). Visitors are expected to obey the Club rules. Visitors arriving by sea should make prior arrangements by telephoning the Bosun James Widger on 07842-933610 or by emailing the Rear Commodore Harbour Services and should visit Fred's Shed at the earliest opportunity after arrival at the main slipway pontoon to confirm their intentions and requirements. The Harbour Services team may be able to allocate a mooring where the current user is away for the night, at a cost of £15 per night.

RYA Training

The Club is affiliated to the RYA and offers RYA recognised shorebased training courses (VHF radio, diesel engine, first aid, yachtmaster, day skipper) and powerboat courses for members and non-members. Although the Club is a recognised training centre for dinghy sailing, due to the unpredictable nature of beach launching and the tidal nature of the river, we cannot offer formal RYA dinghy training courses in the same way that a commercial RYA sea school can. RYA coaching/certification weekends are organised at intervals.  See Training for more details.

Security and Safety

Although CCTV and lighting is installed on Club premises, members and visitors should be careful to secure their own property as the site is fairly open to access by the public. Basic First Aid kits are available in Fred's Shed and the Clubhouse. An automatic cardiac defibrillator has been installed outside the Clubhouse main entrance. Dial 999 for police, fire, ambulance or coastguard.

AYC Development Plan

The '5yr Strategy to Develop Family Sailing' at AYC was put in place in 2012. This led to a 6% pa growth in Club membership, with cadet and student members currently making up ~13% of the total. The AYC Development Plan aims to build on the success of the 'Family Sailing' initiative and lays out the Club's ambitions & plans for the coming years. It is regularly reviewed and updated by the Executive Committee.

Club Ownership

Axe Yacht Club (AYC) is owned by its members. The principal assets are held in trust by the Trustees, but the Trustees have no authority to take any action without the authority of the club's Executive Committee. The Executive Committee have no authority to authorise any action with regards to the Club's principal assets without the approval of the membership by way of a General Meeting. The Club operates within a set of rules, bye-laws and policies which are consistent with model rules proposed by our regulatory body, the Royal Yachting Association. These Club Rules are all available on the website - Club Rule Book.

Updated May 2024

If you would like to apply to become a member of Axe Yacht Club please see the 'Join The Club' page for more information. 

A list of the current fees can be downloaded from that page.

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