The Royal Nomuka Yacht Club was formed to introduce the lost art and traditions of Vaka sailing to the youth of Tonga and the Greater Pacific.

To achieve this, we have established a ‘Vaka’ and ‘Vaka Voyaging Canoe’ one-design class and implementation of Vaka training programs and sailing events.

We support the formation of a Tonga Sailing Federation and the introduction of the International Optimist dingy to Tongans, 9-15 years of age, using a mobile training package of five optimist yachts to share with Tongan sailors throughout the island groups.

The Royal Nomuka Yacht Club (RNYC) was formed with a letter of assent from His Royal Highness Crown Prince Tupouto’a ‘Ulukalala who holds the esteemed position of Patron. It has been founded by adventurer, explorer and sailor Don McIntyre specifically to reintroduce the lost art of Vaka sailing to the youth of the Kingdom of Tonga.

The RNYC opened on October 22nd 2015 with a simple flag raising ceremony by HRH the Crown Prince on Nomuka IKI. Official Blessings, a Tongan Feast with cultural dancing, and the exchange of traditional gifts marked the occasion. The club will embrace all forms of water sport and sailing, with a focus on Vaka and Vaka Voyaging Double Canoe training, Optimist dinghies, youth development and adventure. An annual Tonga Vaka Festival, held in October each year and commencing in 2019, will be hosted by RNYC.

Founding members of the Royal Nomuka Yacht Club. His Royal Highness, Crown Prince Tupoutoʻa ʻUlukalala (centre) is Admiral of the Club.

Situated on the picturesque tropical Island of Nomuka IKI in the Ha’Apai group of the Kingdom of Tonga , our traditional Tongan Club House (to be built in 2018) will look out across white sand beaches and crystal clear waters to the main Island of Nomuka. Its vibrant community just one mile distant. In 1807, 50 giant sailing canoes from Lifuka arrived at Nomuka to prepared for the invasion of Tongatapu. Four were fitted with carronades from the ill-fated Port Au Prince. Other sailing canoes arrived over a few days anchoring off Nomuka IKI creating a combined force of around 170 sailing canoes manned by 5000 warriors and 1500 women. These then sailed south into battle and a courageous bloody victory that would change the Kingdom of Tonga forever.

Nomuka is the place European navigators and explorers always came, including Captain Cook on his last two circumnavigations, William Bligh in HMS Bounty in the last days before the Mutiny, and the Spanish who were the first to discover Tonga. Captain Cook named all of Tonga ‘The Friendly Islands’ while on Nomuka. Nomuka has a rich history of Vaka and Voyaging Double Canoe sailing and maritime traditions extending out across the Pacific. Nomuka IKI is a perfect place to establish the Royal Nomuka Yacht Club as the centre of Vaka sailing for youth, not only in Tonga, but the entire Pacific in years to come.

Founded in 2015, the RNYC will continue a long tradition of offering traditional Tongan hospitality to visiting mariners, yachtsmen and yachtswomen from around the world and will extend a warm, friendly welcome should they wish to visit us.

Please explore these pages to discover more about the history of Vaka sailing, the Nomuka community, Tongan traditions and the RNYC facilities and activities, on and off the water. Contact us if you would like to become a member or support youth sailing in Tonga.