The Royal South Australian Yacht Squadron (RSAYS) began its life as the South Australian Yacht Club (SAYC) on 5 November 1869. On 25 October 1890 Her Majesty Queen Victoria granted the title Royal South Australian Yacht Squadron, which it has borne ever since. The Admiralty warrant authorising wearing of the Blue Ensign was dated 4 November 1890.
The first race was held on 1 January 1870. The four competing yachts were the Curlew, Isabella, White Squall and Express. They ranged in waterline length from 13 to 19 feet.
Meetings of committees and the general body of Members were held in sundry hotels — the Clubhouse, Ship Inn and Largs Pier