Membership is limited to 25 members and admission is by way of ballot. Visitors are forbidden from entering the Club unless they have spent the previous night at the Captains house, however The Admiral is permitted to “invite who he pleases”. Dress code is monitored and prominence is given to etiquette during club entertainment. Rules about the quantity of wine to be consumed, the number of meat dishes and the Rota of entertainment amongst the members all suggest that the club room at the castle on Haulbowline Island saw much merriment in the 18th century.
The organisation of the Club relates to that in the Navy with an Admiral, Vice Admiral and Captains. Thus, many aspects of the sailing rules of the club reflected contemporary naval practice and show the influence of Dutch 17th century mock battles and naval reviews. The necessity to manoeuvre in a regulated fashion was vital in sea battles where a swift response to orders could decide the outcome. The ability to either pursue an escaping enemy or to escape from a threatening situation meant that the ability to sail quickly was also of considerable importance. Therefore, the skills of manoeuvre and “chacing” were highly rated in the navy and were reflected in the kind of sailing carried out by the club.
The prodigious amount of gunpowder used by the fleet is mainly funded by fines which can be levied for such indiscretions as tardiness in arriving at the appointed rendezvous or for failing to attend meetings.