The club was initially established in 1866 as the Ulster Yacht Club.
In a letter dated 20th August 1869 from the Secretary of State for the Home Department, it received the gracious approval of Queen Victoria to take the title of The Royal Ulster Yacht Club.
A Sealed Warrant of the Admiralty dated 19th February 1870 authorised the use for its flags of the Blue Ensign with the distinctive mark of the Club thereon – namely the Red Hand of Ulster on a White Shield surmounted by a Royal Crown.
Sir Thomas Lipton choose to challenge the prestigious America's cup five times through Royal Ulster Yacht Club.
The Clubhouse has commanding views over Belfast Lough and the Antrim Coast and is one of the finest examples of Edwardian style building in Ireland. There is a long tradition of cruising and yacht racing at Royal Ulster YC and members and guests can enjoy an active and varied social programme.
Members participate in keelboat, dinghy and motorboat activities, with Club racing on Thursday evenings during the sailing season.