It is known that a club called The Mosquito Yacht Club was founded in 1856. On Tuesday, 15th October 1867, an advertisement was placed in The Sydney Morning Herald - "Mosquito Yacht Club - Boatowners wishing to join please meet at McGrath's at 8 tonight." The advertised meeting duly took place at Punch & McGraths Hotel in King Street and, with Mr. T. Strickland in the chair, it was decided to form a yacht club to be called "Prince Alfred Yacht Club."
The name Prince Alfred was adopted to commemorate Prince Alfred's forthcoming visit to Sydney. In January 1868, His Royal Highness, Prince Alfred, The Duke of Edinburgh, in command of HMS Galatea sailed into Port Jackson. He was met by two lines of yachts from the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron and The Prince Alfred Yacht Club, between which HMS Galatea passed.
In August 1911, The Prince Alfred Yacht Club was given permission by King George V to use the prefix "Royal".
The Club originally occupied premises in Moore Street, Sydney, known today as Martin Place and it eventually moved into 51 Castlereagh Street. In 1956, the Club purchased property in Rowe Street and a new building was built on the site.
In 1919, the Committee decided that Sydney Harbour was becoming too congested for yacht racing and a sub-committee was formed to inspect land that would be suitable for yacht racing in the Pittwater area.
As a result, Green Point was purchased for this purpose for an amount of 650 pounds. Apart from a few tree-planting ceremonies, the land remained practically unused until a group of enthusiasts, who had built Jubilee class yachts, banded together and built a boatshed, slipway and pontoon to cater for their needs. The Governor of New South Wales, the Honorary Commodore of the Club, Lord Wakehurst, officially opened the current premises on 17th December, 1938. No less than 22 Jubilees started in the race held that day.
Unfortunately, during World War II yachting in Pittwater and Sydney Harbour was disbanded. After the war, in 1947, the boatshed was increased in size, moorings were laid in Crystal Bay and Pittwater again came to life.
In 1956, a caretaker's cottage was erected adjacent to the boatshed; a liquor licence obtained and a small bar built by converting four lockers in the boatshed. Four sheep were kept on Green Point for use as mobile lawn mowers and a cattle ramp was erected at the front entrance to contain the sheep within the property.
The slipway and boat storage area were re-built in 1957 by the use of voluntary labour and the racing fleet on Pittwater was increasing in leaps and bounds. The Club purchased the adjoining property, Moonbar, on the western side of Mitala Street and converted the building into a Clubhouse. This land, previously owned by Mr. Ashley Buckingham, became known as Buckingham Palace, and it was a popular venue for club members, with a lawn area and in-built swimming pool.
In 1962, the Club dredged the north western side of Crystal Bay and reclaimed an area between Moonbar and Green Point. Marina A, accommodating some 52 vessels, was constructed from the dredged area. At the same time, a hardstand area was established in front of the cottage to accommodate ten 5.5 metre yachts.
Yacht racing on Pittwater in the sixties was gaining momentum. Moonbar although extended, was unable to cope with the influx of members and guests, so it was decided that a new clubhouse should be built on Green Point to cater for the larger patronage. On 15th May 1968, probably the club's most important function was held. His Royal Highness, Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh visited to lay a foundation stone for the present clubhouse. Unfortunately due to torrential rain and a 60 knot southerly, Prince Phillip laid the stone by remote control from Moonbar. Regardless, it was a memorable day for members when this royal "sailor" joined them for lunch.
1969/70 saw significant progress in the club's development. Pittwater was booming, the city premises was wanted by developers and an opportunity arose for the city club to join The Sydney Club, formerly The Millions Club. By selling the city property and developing Pittwater, it meant that members using the city premises would be happily accommodated almost next door at the Sydney Club and development could continue at Pittwater. The Sydney Club was located at 9 Rowe Street, Sydney, and all RPAYC members were automatically yachting members of the Sydney Club.
The Sydney Club had excellent bar and dining facilities available for lunch and dinner and RPAYC members were welcome to join in any of its activities such as golf and theatre parties. The Sydney Club ceased when it amalgamated with the University and Schools Club, which is now situated at 60 Phillip Street, Sydney.
The RPAYC Clubhouse was erected on Green Point together with four marina arms on the western side of Green Point and additional hardstand areas.