enter name and hit return
SOME OF THE OLDEST YACHT CLUBS OF NEW YORK
1) NEW YORK YACHT CLUB- (New York City)
The oldest yacht club in the United States and the best known is the
New York Yacht Club which was organized on July 30, 1844, and incorporated
on February 16, 1865 "for the purpose of encouraging yacht building and
naval architecture and the cultivation of naval science."
John Cox Stevens invited eight other yachtsmen aboard his schooner
Gimcrack to organize the New York Yacht Club. The yachtsmen who assembled
aboard the Gimcrack, while she lay at anchor off the Battery, may well be
considered the founders of organized yachting in America. Their names were
John Cox Stevens, Hamilton Wilkes, William Edgar, John C. Jay, George L.
Schuyler, Louis A. Depau, James M. Waterbury, George B. Rollins and Captain
James Rogers. John C. Stevens had been elected the first Commodore.
In 1849, at the request of the Secretary of the Navy, the New York
Yacht Club submitted a design for a United States Yacht Ensign. This was
approved and the well-known flag with the foul anchor came into being.
In 1859 the club sailed its first real ocean race___a race around Long
Island, starting off the clubhouse at Elysian Fields, passing by Sandy Hook,
and along the south shore of Long Island, ending up with a trip westward on
the Sound to Throggs Neck.
In November, 1872, the club established headquarters in Manhattan,
where it has been ever since___in several locations, ending with its present
one at 37 West 44th Street to which it went in 1901. J. P. Morgan had
donated the land and the new clubhouse was built specifically for the
The yachting world owes much to the New York Yacht Club.
2) NORTH SHORE YACHT CLUB
(Port Washington, Long Island, New York)
(formerly the New York Canoe Club)
The New York Canoe Club was organized in 1871 and despite its change
in name and residences has been in continuous existence since that year,
sharing with the Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club the distinction of being
one of the two oldest yacht clubs with headquarters now on Long Island
Sound. The New York Canoe Club put canoe sailing ,cruising and racing on the
yachting map and under its new and old names has had a large part in keeping
them there ever since. The change in name to the North Shore Yacht Club came
"About 1951, the members tried to change the name to the New York
Canoe and Yacht Club, but the Secretary of State advised that this name
conflicted with a name quite similar which was already being used by another
organization. Thereupon, the members incorporated the North Shore Yacht Club
(1951). The members of the New York Canoe Club resolved very briefly that
the By-Laws of the New York Canoe Club would constitute the By-Laws of the
North Shore Yacht Club and that the officers and trustees of the New York
Canoe Club would constitute the officers and trustees of the North Shore
Yacht Club. The North Shore Yacht Club has therefore continued the New York
Canoe Club or vice versa."
3) THE SEAWANHAKA CORINTHIAN YACHT CLUB
(Oyster Bay, Long Island, New York)
One of the two oldest clubs with its headquarters now on Long Island
Sound, the Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club. At the time of its
organization, the group who left the handling of their yachts to
professional skippers and crews, the wealthier members, were in control of
the New York Yacht Club__as pointed out in the section on that club. Some of
the other group, the Do-it-Yourself exponents, who skippered and sailed
their own boats, decided to form a new club in which the principles of
amateur or "Corinthian" racing would prevail.
In 1871, a dozen yachtsmen gathered aboard the sloop Glance___W. L.
Swan, owner___anchored in Oyster Bay and organized the Seawanhaka Yacht Club
in 1882, and was incorporated under the latter name on February 1, 1887. To
perpetuate the memory of the 12 founders, the club's triangular blue burgee
has 12 White stars, eight in a horizontal direction and four others crossing
vertically. William L. Swan was the first Commodore, Charles E. Willis the
Vice Commodore, Frederic de P. Foster the first Secretary, Gerard Beekman
the Treasurer and William Foulke the Measurer. All took office in 1871.
By the rules of Corinthian racing each competing vessel must be
commanded by her own owner___not by a paid skipper___and sailed by amateurs.
The stated purpose was to encourage the members "in becoming proficient in
navigation, in the personal management, control and handling of their yachts
and in all matters pertaining to seamanship."
The peculiarity of the Corinthian race is that each yacht-owner sails
his own boat, not even advice from the professionals being allowed.
In 1876 the club membership roster included nine Roosevelts (it was
ten in 1877), one of them, "T.R., was later to become President of the
In the early days the club had a station on Staten Island and from
1887 to 1899 town houses in New York City in three successive locations. But
in 1892, first as a station and later as its headquarters, the club
established itself on Centre Island, Oyster Bay. The new clubhouse, still
going strong on its splendid site overlooking Oyster Bay Harbor, was opened
on May 28, 1892.
It was organized in 1871 by Bayard foulke, Gerard Beekman, J.W.
Beekman, Alfred Roosevelt, William Foulke and Frederic de P. Foster.
4) THE LARCHMONT YACHT CLUB
(Larchmont, New York)
"In the early evening of Memorial Day in the year 1880, five young men
were warming themselves over a bonfire built in a cleft of rocks on the
shore of what is now Horseshoe Harbor, in Larchmont Manor. These five loved
boats and they had just finished a hard racing day. Since a bonfire is
scarcely the most comfortable way to close a hard day at sea, it is not
surprising that these young men fell to discussing the possibility of
organizing a yacht club.
They were Frank L. Anthony; Fred W. Flint, who owned the yacht Helen;
William C. France, who owned the sloop Viva; Loring Lothrop, who owned the
ship called Lively Oyster, and Charles W. Jenkins, who owned the
Willis....Their boats were part of a mixed fleet of jib and mainsail
sandbaggers, sloops and catboats....It was decided that evening to organize
a yacht club to be called the Larchmont Yacht Club and to invite others to
The problem of a clubhouse for the new Larchmont Yacht Club was
resolved rather quickly. Fred Flint's father, T.J.S. Flint, a successful
Chicago grain operator who'd come east to live, owned most of the property
in Larchmont Manor from the Post Road south to the shore line. On this
property was a small union Church facing Horseshoe Harbor. The young charter
members (18 of them) made a deal with the elder Flint for the use of the
church as a clubhouse. The Club was to have the use of the church every day
except Sunday when the clubhouse would be opened to them only after the
church services were over. It was a momentous deal____the three year rental
amounting to the total of #3.00.
The membership soon grew too big for the church and after first
leasing several houses the club bought from Benjamin A. Carver their present
site of eleven acres on the westerly side of Larchmont Harbor. This was in
1887, the year the club was incorporated, and the Carver residence was used
as the clubhouse.
5) THE AMERICAN YACHT CLUB
(Rye, New York)
In May of 1883 when Gould was 47 years old and at the height of his
spectacular career, the American Yacht Club came into being, founded by Jay
Gould and a group of his friends, who became the incorporators.
In the beginning, the club headquarters were in a brownstone house on
Madison Avenue and 28th Street, in New York City, but they soon moved to 575
Fifth Avenue and the membership grew to over 100 yachtsmen from New York,
Boston, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh, etc.__none from Rye. It soon became
obvious that the club needed a shore station and in 1884, Charles Island,
near the entrance to Milford Harbor, Connecticut, was purchased. This
however, was too far from New York and after an "Excursion by Water for a
Clam Bake" on Milton Point, Rye, New York, in 1886, sentiment turned in that
direction. In 1887, some 12 acres were bought at the tip of Milton Point,
together with the rocks and islands known as Scotch Caps. The price was
$6,000 for what has become one of the outstanding locations on Long Island
Sound. It was bought from the Wainwright family.
On June 16, 1888, came the Grand Formal Opening of the new
clubhouse___for men only. Ladies were allowed to come to the informal
opening a week later. Soon four-in-hands and their horns were familiar
sights and sounds on the road leading to the Club, while large yachts came
and went to the blasts of guns in salute and the lowering or raising of the
Usually members from New York came by train to Harrison or Rye where
they hired a public hack for the rest of the trip. But the hack drivers got
very "unreasonable'" they wanted 50 cents for the ride. So the Club bought
its own white percherons and coaches, and members made the trip for 20
cents, thus saving money to pay expenses on their yachts. On gala weekends
it was not uncommon to see 20 coaches along the semi-circular fence on the
club grounds, while surreys, dog carts, station wagons, and other equipages
were housed in the club shed.
On July 27, 1951, the three story frame building burned to the ground,
despite the efforts of firemen from four adjoining towns. One brick chimney
was all that was left.
6) THE SHELTER ISLAND YACHT CLUB
(Shelter Island Heights, Long Island, New York)
The genuine yachting spirit of the Shelter Island Yacht Club may be
said to have had its real birth in 1890.
By 1892, the Club had its own clubhouse and the membership limit was
raised to 200 and annual dues to $10. In August, 1894, a revolutionary event
occurred, featured in headlines from New York to Montauk Point. A race took
place in which women were at the helm. Let the Brooklyn Eagle tell the
story, beginning with a few headlines.
"Fair Women at the Helm___Shelter Island's Season Closed with a
Novel Boat Race___There was Plenty of Excitement, and the Gentle Sailors
Proved Themselves Adepts on the Water___They Sailed the Catboats with
"The last race of the season in these waters was given a spice of
novelty by the condition which required that each boat entered should be
steered by a woman. The yacht club determined on this, as it was well known
that the women hereabouts are as brave and daring as they are beautiful."
7) RIVERSIDE YACHT CLUB
Some yacht clubs are the focal points around which the social life of
the community revolves. When there is a wedding reception it is held at the
yacht club; if a little group of earnest bird watchers wants to hold a
meeting to hear Professor Whoosis discuss "How to tell the birds from the
wild flowers" (to use the title of a long cherished book), they gather at
the yacht club; if there is to be a debutante dance its location offers no
problem; it will, of course, be held at the yacht club. The Riverside Yacht
Club, according to reliable reports, occupies such a place in the community
life of Riverside, which, though politically part of Greenwich, is socially
on its own.
Beginning in 1885, Mr. Tyson started his campaign for a yacht club
among his sailor neighbors. By 1888 he had succeeded, thanks to a very
generous contribution of Tyson money and Tyson land, and a clubhouse was
built on the eastern shore of Cos Cob Harbor near the entrance of the Mianus
River. George I. Tyson was the first Commodore and held the post for eight
"The object of the club," as stated very simply in the by-laws, "is to
encourage yachting and provide for the recreation of its members."
In 1929, the club purchased the land on the Tyson property and built
the present clubhouse.
8) THE INDIAN HARBOR YACHT CLUB
( Greenwich, Connecticut)
On July 1, 1889, under the leadership of Frank Bowne Jones, Richard
Outwater, Henry S. Doremus, Charles J. Hart and others, the Indian Harbor
Yacht Club came into being, rising from the ashes of the old Greenwich Yacht
The particular business of such society or club," it was originally
stated, "Shall be to encourage and support the sport of yachting, the art of
yacht designing and building, and the science of seamanship and navigation."
Later, when incorporated, the following words were added: "and to provide
for the amusement and recreation of its members."
This was primarily a sailing club and Henry E. Doremus was the first
Commodore, William Ross Proctor the Vice Commodore, and Charles J. Hart the
9) THE STUYVESANT YACHT CLUB
(City Island, New York)
It began on a ferry boat. It all started in the early eighties when a
group of young men living in Manhattan pooled their resources and bought a
rowboat which they transported to the Harlem River on a milk wagon and then
rigged it with a sail. Before long they branched out and chartered an old
sloop for cruises down the Sound. On one of these trips a powerful
nor'easter forced them to seek shelter in what was then called Cow Bay
(Manhasset Bay). Anchored near by was a dismantled ferry boat, the Gerard
Stuyvesant. "That boat would make an ideal clubhouse," one of the boys
Before long the ferry was bought and towed to Port Morris on the East
River. There it was beached at the head of a creek and became the
headquarters of the Stuyvesant Yacht Club___organized in 1889, incorporated
on April 27, 1890. Changing conditions and expansion made it eventually
desirable to move, first to a house at Port Morris instead of a ferry boat,
then to Pelham Bay and finally to City island, where the club is now
" One of the most dramatic incidents in the long history of the
Stuyvesant Yacht Club occurred on June 15, 1904, when many of its members
helped to rescue children and adult passengers of the ill-fated excursion
steamer General Slocum, which took fire going through Hell Gate and burned
in the East River in one of the worst marine disasters to take place on
American inland waterways, and in which 1021 persons lost their lives. The
club members saved as many of the victims as possible and ferried them to
the clubhouse where they were given medical aid.
The first Commodore of the Stuyvesant Yacht Club was John Kipp, who
served from 1890-1898.
10) THE MANHASSET BAY YACHT CLUB
(Port Washington, New York)
In 1887, W. J. Newman of Bayside and a group of about twenty kindred
spirits organized the Douglaston Yacht Club. During the following year these
men met at the Hotel Brunswick in New York, with some more enthusiasts
asdded, and raised enough money to buy an old scow, and put a house on it
with a piano and a bar. The dues were modest: $5.00 a year. The scow was
berthed along the shore of Little Neck Bay, where members held races, ran
aground frequently and, as Commodore Newman put it, "with renewed
recklessness and daring crossed the start and finish lines in mud and water
(according to the state of the tide)."
The Manhasset Bay Yacht Club was the outgrowth of this club on Little
Neck Bay, for before long some of its most earnest sailors decided to break
away and seek better sailing conditions elsewhere. They found them on
Manhasset Bay to the eastward, and leased land at Port Washington on the
eastern shore of the Bay somewhat to the south of their present site. From
an old Scow with a house on it to the present luxurious headquarters of the
M.B.Y.C. is a long way. But that is the way with some of the leading Sound
yacht clubs as we are seeing in this chapter.
The Manhasset Bay Yacht Club was organized under that name in 1891 and
incorporated in 1892. William J. Newman, who had headed up the Douglaston
Yacht Club, became the first Commodore of the new organization.
11) OTHER OLDER YACHT CLUBS
A) Knickerbocker Yacht Club--Port Washington, L.I., N.Y. organized in
B) Harlem Yacht Club--City Island, New York. Organized in 1883.
C) Huntington Crescent Club (Yachting Div.)--Huntington, Long Island, New
York. Organized 1886.
D) Douglaston Yacht Squadron of the Douglaston Club__Douglaston, Long
Island, New York. Organized in 1887.
E) Housatonic Boat Club____Stratford, Conn. Organized in 1887.
F) Cedar Point Yacht Club___Westport, Conn. Organized in 1888.
G) Horseshoe Harbor Yacht Club___Larchmont, New York. Organized in 1889.
H) Morris Yacht and Beach Club___City Island, New York. Organized in 1889.
I) Stamford Yacht Club____Stamford, Conn. Organized in 1890.
J) Hempstead Harbour Club____Glen Cove, New York. Organized in 1891.
SOURCE: Long Island Sound
Author: Fessenden S. Blanchard
Publisher: D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc.-Princeton, N.J.
Transcribed by Miriam Medina
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