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 purpose.
The Yacht America
The Isle of Wight in the Solent has long been the epicenter of yachting in England. In 1851, a schooner painted black arrived there looking to win races. This was the yacht America, owned by John Cox Stevens, the first commodore of the New York Yacht Club (NYYC), and other club members.
America crossed the Atlantic on her own bottom and challenged all English yachts to a match race. No yacht was willing to race her, however.
Finally, America joined a free-for-all on Friday, August 22, around the Isle of Wight. Watching the race, which included 15 English yachts and America, was Queen Victoria, who supposedly inquired, “Which is first?” Told it was America, she asked, “Which is second?”
“Ah, Your Majesty, there is no second,” was the reply. Or so the story goes. America won the Royal Yacht Squadron’s “Hundred Guinea Cup.”
See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/America_%28yacht%29
Find the location of the harbor court: http://bloosee.com/r/iE49GF
37 West 44th Street
+1 (212) 382-1000
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Being from New York I am not surprised we have the oldest yacht club. After all we are THE heart of the US. :-)
Hehe! Patrick they don’t just call it the big apple for no reason. I seriously had no idea that the oldest yacht club would be in New York, I got to go see it live on my next trip there!
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