The Yacht Clubs and Associations of Long Island Sound: Part II

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G) Riverside Yacht Club (Riverside, Connecticut) (excerpts from page: 85)

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 years. "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.

H) The Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club (Oyster Bay, Long Island, New York) (excerpts from pages: 86-90)

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 United States.

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. In 1892 it had a membership of 350, that being the limit of the club, and includes in its list all of the best known yacht owners of New York and Boston."

I) The Shelter Island Yacht Club (Shelter Island Heights, Long Island, New York) (excerpts from pages: 91-93)

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 Bewitching Skill.

"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." The yacht club not only became a center of yachting activity at the eastern end of Long Island,
but like other yacht clubs it was a center of summer social activity as well.

J) The Stuyvesant Yacht Club (City island, New York) (excerpts from pages: 93-95)

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 remarked.

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 located.

" 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.

We know of no yacht club that owes more to the willingness of its members, in time of need, to roll up their sleeves and go to work.

K) Miscellaneous Yacht Clubs

1. Locust Point Yacht Club (1932) Throggs Neck, N.Y.

2. Bronxonia Yacht Club (1910) Eastchester Bay, N.Y.

3. Morrisania Yacht Club (1896) Eastchester Bay, N.Y.

4. Harlem Yacht Club (1883) City Island, N.Y.

5. The City Island Yacht Club (1904-1905) City Island, N.Y.

6. Morris Yacht and Beach Club (1899) City island, N.Y.

7) Huguenot Yacht Club (1894) Echo Bay, New Rochelle, N.Y.

8) Nanhook Yacht Club (1937) Mamaroneck, N.Y.

9) Beach Point Yacht Club (1925) Mamaroneck, N.Y.

10) Port Chester Yacht Club (1928) Port Chester, N.Y.


1. The Cruising Club of America

Founded on February 8, 1922, "by a group of yachtsmen, "interested in cruising and the development of the cruising type of yacht." In its Constitution it is stated that "the objects of this club are to promote cruising by amateurs, to encourage the development of suitable types of cruising craft, to stimulate interest in seamanship, navigation and handling of small vessels, to gather and keep on file all information and handling of small vessels, to gather and keep on file all information which may be of assistance to members in cruising." A person eligible for membership in the Club must be a sailor and a gentleman of acceptable character and personality who has demonstrated his ability to handle or command and navigate or pilot a yacht or small vessel at sea and who has had sufficient cruising experience."

2. The Off Soundings Club

It is distinguished for its devotion to sailing than it is for getting off soundings. The Club was founded on November 7, 1933, at Springfield, Massachusetts, by Edward Southworth and his friends and cruising companions, E.S. Bradford, Sanford Lawton and John L. Blake.

3. The Corinthians

They are yacht owners who need crews and eager yachtsmen who don't have boats. The Corinthians," is a non-commercial association of amateur yachtsmen. Its primary objects are to promote sailing, to encourage good fellowship among yachtsmen afloat and ashore, and to serve as a 'clearing house' between non-boat-owning amateur sailors and boat owners needing occasional amateur hands for cruising and racing.

4. The American Power Boat Association

It was organized in 1903 "to promote the racing and use of power boats and the improvement of their design and construction, to formulate rules to govern trials of speed, endurance and competition between such boats and to further the interests of its membership."

5. The Eastern Cruiser Association

This association largely covering Long island Sound contests, cooperates with the A.P.B.A., maintains a "pool" of observers for predicted log contests, and in other ways promotes such activities among power cruisers.


Website: The History
Article Name: The Yacht Clubs and Associations of Long Island Sound: Part II
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


Bibliography: From my collection of Books:  Long Island Sound
Author: Fessenden S. Blanchard; Publisher: D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc.-Princeton, N.J. Copyright: 1958
Time & Date Stamp: