The development of yacht clubs in the 1800s is an important chapter of our boating and marina history in the U.S.—and tells us much about the country’s early yearning for nature and community.
If you’re a sailor, oarsman, or boater, you’re probably familiar with many yacht clubs around the country—but do you know which U. S. yacht clubs have the pedigree to lay claim to being the country’s oldest?
The first time I heard the phrase yacht club was during a weekend at our family camp on a lake in the Northern Tier of New York State, just outside Adirondack Park. As a boy, most of my weekends there were spent fishing, swimming, and boating, and at the neighboring marina I heard sailing stories about the St. Regis Lake Yacht Club, founded in 1897. (Not on the list here, it’s the 156th oldest yacht club in America.) I was and still am a powerboater—learning boating back then in an aluminum boat with a 7 1/2-hp outboard—but I was fascinated by the sailing stories I heard dating back to the turn of the 20th Century in New York’s Franklin County.
At Dockwa, our loose definition of a yacht club is:
Many yacht clubs nationally use Dockwa as their dockage reservation-and-booking platform or for marina management. So recently we had some fun office chatter—because we all work remotely, it was actually digital direct messaging office chatter—about which of the country’s yacht clubs have been around the longest.
Without further ado, and giving a shout-out to International Burgee Registry, here is the list of the 100 oldest yacht clubs in the United States, in chronological order of their founding from one to 100, with links to those still operating.
Fun fact: The New York Yacht Club (NYYC) launched on July 30, 1844, when John Cox Stevens invited eight friends to his yacht Gimcrack, anchored in New York Harbor. The nine who met formed the NYYC and Stevens became its first commodore. Members then departed on a yacht cruise to Newport, beginning the historical connection between the NYYC and Newport, RI.
currently Raritan Yacht Club, NJ
currently Raritan Yacht Club
founded as Marblehead Boat Club
founded as Carthage Ice Yacht Club
LIST SOURCE: Burgees.com. See the entire list of America’s oldest yacht clubs by clicking here.