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The New York Yacht Club - History and Milestones

Aug 17, 2007
A combination of tradition, elegance, and sailing spells the New York Yacht Club. It's founding in 1844 was no coincidence. Yachting in the United States traces its roots in the year 1800 to George Crowninshield of Salem Massachusetts. Crowninshield was a scion of a wealthy mercantile family who owned ships that traded across European and American ports during those days. His love for sailing culminated in the construction of a 22-ton sloop he named "Jefferson", which he used to sail pleasurably along the coasts of New England.

The founders of the New York Yacht Club were John Cox Stevens and eight progressive men from New York. They met on the afternoon of July 30, 1844 to test on a maiden voyage Stevens' new yacht, "Gimrock", which was berthed at the Battery situated at the base of the Manhattan Island. Stevens proposed of starting a club that would serve as an association of boat enthusiasts who are interested in racing off the harbor of New York and summer cruising across the cooler water of New England. That historic meeting also elected Stevens as the first Commodore of the club.

The NYYC found a home in its first clubhouse in 1845, located in Newport, Rhode Island. George M, Isdale, Jr., the Commodore of the club at that time, announced its completion to the members. The clubhouse, erected on the club's property in Harbour Cout, featured a gothic architecture according to the design made by Alexander Jackson Davis. The club members spent 23 years in this clubhouse prior to moving to its present clubhouse in Newport.

Since its founding, the New York Yacht Club had been hosting annual yacht racing events with the exception of the years 1861, 1898, the war years 1917-1920 and 1941-1945. The first NYYC annual regatta on July 15, 1845 defied time and is now on its 163rd year. Its members also actively participates other regattas. In 1998, the New York Yacht Club celebrated its 100th anniversary of cruising to Maine.

Clubhouses
One of the assets that the New York Yacht Club can be proud of, aside from its sparkling accomplishments, is its first clubhouse that still stands today on Harbour Court. Also in the same location is the club's on-the-water clubhouse, which was formerly the summer home of former NYYC Commodore John Nicholas Brown (from 1952-1954).

The club members began occupying the house after purchasing it in 1987. The clubhouse on 44th Street, New York serves as the New York Yacht Club's corporate headquarters. The clubhouse in New Harbour has a library that houses 15,000 books and a Model Room that is high enough to accommodate 300 people. The clubhouses feature Renaissance architecture that gives the impression of elegance and stability, portraying the staunch heritage of its founders.
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