The club was first formed in 1775. Prince Henry Frederick, Duke of Cumberland and Strathearn, younger brother of King George III, made a silver cup available for a race on the River Thames. He formed the Cumberland Fleet, an alternative name of the Club even today. The RTYC name originated in 1830. Members of the club initially met in coffee houses. The club owned various properties in London from 1857 onwards and moved to its present location at 60 Knightsbridge in 1923, although the current clubhouse was built more recently.
In 2007, the RTYC officially announced a partnership with Team Origin, Great Britain's bid to enter the 33rd America's Cup.