New York Yacht Club then The New York Yacht Club was formed on July 30, 1844, aboard the yacht Gimcrack, anchored off the Battery, New York Harbor. Nine men were present: John Cox Stevens, the owner of Gimcrack, Hamilton Wilkes, William Edgar, John C. Jay, George L. Schuyler, Louis A. Depau, George B. Rollins, James M. Waterbury and James Rogers. “On motion, it was resolved to form a yacht club, that the title of the club be the New York Yacht Club, that the gentlemen present be the original members of the club and that John Cox Stevens be the commodore. After appointing Friday 2nd August at 0900 the time for sailing on the Cruise, the Meeting Adjourned” - from the original minutes of the New York Yacht Club. “The New York Yacht Club has been an organization of remarkable achievement for all its years,” wrote Walter Cronkite, a member since 1963. “Auspiciously, it was founded on a yacht ... And barely four years after its founding, its prominence was such that the United States government asked it to design a flag that would fly only on pleasure vessels. That flag, unchanged from the original, has been the U.S. yacht ensign ever since. And a scarce seven years after its founding, the club’s burgee flew over the yacht America as it established in that famous race off Cowes the superiority of America’s yacht designers and builders.” The tradition of Corinthian competition in the United States and around the world began when John Cox Stevens founded the New York Yacht Club in 1844. In the painting to the right, Commodore Stevens welcomes Queen Victoria aboard America in 1851, after winning the “100 Guinea Cup,” later known as the America’s Cup. and now Within 50 years, membership in the New York Yacht Club stood at 1,000; by 1903, it passed the 2,000-member mark. And now, the club’s membership is at 3,200. Fifty-four percent of members are yacht-owners. The yachts range from 22 to 289 feet, and 1,116 are sailboats, 614, powerboats. Today’s members come primarily from the New York metropolitan area and New England as well as across America and around the world. They are cruising sailors, powerboaters, Corinthian racers, professional sailors, team-racers, match-racers, Olympic medalists, America’s Cup skippers and crews, and sailmakers, yacht designers and boatbuilders. They are distinguished by one thing: an abiding passion for yachting. pride of place The original clubhouse, a small Gothic building with gingerbread trim, was constructed in 1845 across the Hudson River from Manhattan in Elysian Fields in Hoboken, New Jersey. It was on property owned by the family of John Cox Stevens, the first commodore. The estate is today the site of Stevens Institute of Technology, endowed by Edwin Stevens, who like his brother John, was a commodore of this club. The three permanent clubhouses of the New York Yacht Club: the first clubhouse (above), the 44th Street Clubhouse in Manhattan and the Harbour Court clubhouse in Newport, RI. Although the list of yachtsmen who have served as commodore of the New York Yacht Club is relatively short, their legacies to the club and to the sport of yachting are legion. J. Pierpont Morgan (above), whose term as seventeenth commodore was from 1897-1899, disrupted the club’s October 1898 General Meeting with a dramatic announcement. It was his intention to purchase a two-lot site on West 44th Street and to give it to the club. It would be the location of the club’s first permanent clubhouse. Following two years of construction, the burgee was hoisted above the spectacular new building for the first time on January 20, 1901. Embodying many exceptions to the architectural rules in vogue at the end of the century, the building, designed by Whitney Warren, is particularly remarkable for its shipat-sea echo and the rooms that house the club’s preeminent model, fine arts and library collections. The natural alliance between the New York Yacht Club and Newport, Rhode Island, began three days after the club’s founding on Friday, August 2, 1844, when a fleet of the founders’ eight yachts got underway from the Battery bound for Newport on the first summer Cruise. On Friday, June 10, 1988, 144 years later, this alliance reached a logical conclusion when 1,500 New York Yacht Club members and guests attended the commissioning of Harbour Court, the club’s first permanent waterfront facility. Standing on eight acres overlooking Brenton’s Cove, the Renaissance Norman-style mansion was completed in 1906 for the John Nicholas Brown family. John Nicholas Brown was commodore from 1952-54. Harbour Court has become the national- and international-focal point of many of yachting’s premier events. annual cruise On the day the New York Yacht Club was organized, the Cruise was born. It has long delivered on the founders’ intent: great cruising and racing in the company of friends. The imminent departure of the first Cruise was described by Philip Hone, the popular American diarist: “There is a gay, saucy-looking squadron of schooner yachts lying off the Battery which excites considerable admiration. About a dozen of these handsome little vessels, owned by gentlemen of fortune and enterprise, are preparing for a voyage to Newport, under command of that excellent fellow, John Cox Stevens as commodore ... The arrival of the squadron at Newport, will, of course, occasion a sensation among the company there ...” A summer Cruise among New York Yacht Club members has been an annual event ever since, with few exceptions. Since 1844, club members have cruised and raced in company up and down the eastern seaboard and around the world. A recent edition of the Annual Cruise celebrated the The pleasures of cruising and racing in the company of friends has been a tradition at the New York Yacht Club since 1844. Beyond the Annual Cruise, the club organizes ad-hoc cruises of Chesapeake Bay, Bahamas, Newfoundland and England. It is thought of as bringing the yacht club to the membership. 100th anniversary of the New York Yacht Club’s first Cruise to Maine, when in 1897 Commodore J. Pierpont Morgan’s 241-foot flagship Corsair II led a fleet of club vessels farther afield than it had ever sailed. In addition to the Annual Cruise, the New York Yacht Club now organizes smaller cruises. There was, for example, a Cruise-in-Company to England in 2001 for the America’s Cup Jubilee. (Also, a number of other yachts belonging to members were transported from Newport to England on a semi-submersible cargo ship to race and to take part in the festivities.) Some of these yachts are still cruising in Europe. In 2003, there was a Newfoundland Cruise. The club has cruised in the Chesapeake a few times and the Bahamas. annual regatta On July 15, 1845 the members of the New York Yacht Club met in their Hoboken, New Jersey, clubhouse for the first time. Two days later they began a tradition that would continue for well over 150 years, the club’s Annual Regatta. The Annual Regatta has been a tradition at the New York Yacht Club since 1845. Since 2004, its 150th edition, it has been a three-day event. The nine participating yachts raced off Robbins Reef to stake boats off Bay Ridge and Stapleton, out to the Narrows to a buoy off Southwest Spit and finished off the clubhouse at Hoboken. The winner was Cygnet owned by William Edgar, one of the nine founding members of the New York Yacht Club and commodore from 1855-1858. Thousands gathered to watch the race from the shores and from the steam yacht Wave. Through the years the course for the Annual Regatta varied. It was held in Glen Cove, Newport, off Oyster Bay, Buzzards Bay and western Long Island Sound. Only wars, beginning with the Civil War in 1861, and a political assassination—New York Senator Robert F. Kennedy—have prevented the Annual Regatta from being sailed. In 2004, the New York Yacht Club celebrated the 150th Annual Regatta, as a three-day event—more than 125 yachts competed. Over the years numerous artists have celebrated the tradition of the New York Yacht Club’s Annual Regatta including James Edward Buttersworth, Currier & Ives (opposite), Albert Van Beest, A. D. Blake, Nathaniel Stebbins and silversmiths of Tiffany & Co. and Black, Starr & Frost. In addition to the trophy presented to Cygnet in 1845, the club’s fine arts collection includes prints, drawings, paintings, photographs and silver of the club’s Annual Regatta over the past century and a half. race week at newport In 1998, the New York Yacht Club created a new event and a new format known as the New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport, presented by Rolex. The biennial event, held in even-numbered years, is split between handicap racing and one-design racing, with a distance race in between. Recognizing that sailors living in the northeast have a large investment in their boats and a short season in which to use them, the Race Week format maximizes competitive options by allowing boat owners to compete in handicap, onedesign or a distance race. Or in all three events. Handicap racing at the NYYC dates back as far as 1845—the New York Yacht Club’s second year of existence. The club conducted its first distance race on the ocean in 1858. The origin of one-design racing at the New York Yacht Club can be traced to 1900. Also an important part of Race Week are 12-Meter yachts—if gone from the America’s Cup still a popular class at the club—and classic yachts. Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex is one of the three events making up the annual New York Yacht Club Classic Series. The one-design side of Race Week serves as the North Americans, Nationals or East Coast championships for a number of popular onedesign classes. The typical Race Week at Newport draws 180 boats and about 1,000 sailors. The Race Committee runs about 175 races. Yachts that race under handicaps, one-design yachts, classic yachts and 12 Meters all have their moment in the sun in the biennial New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex. transatlantic racing The New York Yacht Club conducted the first transatlantic race in 1866 and the fastest —for 100 years—in 1905. In 2005, in the Rolex Transatlantic Challenge, Mari-Cha IV broke Atlantic’s 100-year-old record. Both yachts are pictured above. The Rolex Transatlantic Challenge in 2005 was the 11th transatlantic race hosted by the New York Yacht Club. The inaugural transatlantic race departed New York Harbor on December 11, 1866, bound for the Isle of Wight in England. A fleet of three New York Yacht Club yachts battled ferocious winds, snowstorms and high seas to settle a wager. The winner was Henrietta, which finished on Christmas Day. Henrietta belonged to James Gordon Bennett Jr., the only owner to make the passage. Bennett was the youngest member ever elected to the New York Yacht Club and later its only two-term commodore. On May 17, 1905, a fleet of eight yachts from the New York Yacht Club, as well as two each from England and Germany set out on another transatlantic race. The record time of 12 days, 4 hours, 1 minute and 19 seconds was established by the famous Atlantic, owned by Wilson Marshall, a club member, who went along on the race. Charlie Barr, a threetime defender of the America’s Cup, was Atlantic’s skipper. In 2005, Mari-Cha IV completed the 2,925-mile racecourse from New York to the Lizard in England in 9 days, 15 hours, 55 minutes and 23 seconds, which was 2 days, 12 hours, 5 minutes and 56 seconds faster than Atlantic’s time. championships History was made at Harbour Court in 1996 when the New York Yacht Club became the first private organization to host the World Youth Sailing Championship. The event had been held 26 times and only twice previously in the United States. Never before had it been hosted by a yacht club. Organized by ISAF, individual countries sent their best national teams to Newport to compete in single- and double-handed divisions for boys and girls up to the age of 18. Harbour Court was the site of the Optimist National Championship in 1989 and 1992. An event for sailors up to the age of 15, 125 youngsters competed in 1989 and 150 raced in 1992. The sight of the lawns of Harbour Court covered with the children who are the future of sailing will always be a metaphor of what the New York Yacht Club represents. In 2000 Harbour Court hosted the U.S. Junior Championships for Sears, Bemis and Smythe Trophies. In 2002 the New York Yacht Club hosted the ICSA Sloop National Championship with Brown University. In 2005 Harbour Court conducted the 12 Meter Worlds and the Swan North Americans. Harbour Court cohosted the 1998 World Disabled Sailing Championship with Shake-a-Leg Newport, ISAF and the International Foundation of Disabled Sailors (IFDS). Said the president of ISAF, “If ever there was a statement that disabled sailing has made it to the major leagues, it’s here at the New York Yacht Club. This is more than just a race. It’s an inspiration for everyone.” Harbour Court in Newport has allowed the New York Yacht Club to welcome the yacht-racing world. america’s cup by journalists as the “longest winning streak in sports.” Nowhere is there a more visual history of evolution in yacht design than in the Model Room of the New York Yacht Club. In August 2001, the New York Yacht Club joined with the Royal Yacht Squadron for the America’s Cup Jubilee, in Cowes, England. 64 club yachts sailed over or were On August 22, 1851, a trophy that came to be called the America’s Cup was won by the schooner America, representing the New York Yacht Club. Racing in Cowes, England, she defeated a fleet of 14 British yachts to win the silver cup that belonged to the Royal Yacht Squadron. This was 68 years after the American Revolution, 10 years before this nation’s Civil War and 45 years before the Modern Olympics. Watching the race 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. The line became forever associated with the event. New York Yacht Club yachts finished first in the America’s Cup with stunning regularity. Boats flying the club flag held onto that Cup for 132 years, until 1983. During that period of 25 defenses, New York Yacht Club boats won 80 of 92 races. That record is often described taken by ship to England. The Jubilee was a weeklong regatta and party to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the race that came to be called the America’s Cup. “For sailors, the America’s Cup Jubilee had it all,” wrote the New York Times. “Fleet racing, J Boats, vintage gaff riggers, an incomparable collection of 12-Meters, and some of the greatest yachtsmen of any era. It could be another 150 years before there is another event like it.” America, a club yacht, won the “100 Guinea Cup” in 1851, later called the America’s Cup. The top photo is of the America’s Cup Jubilee in 2001, and the other photo is the Model Room of the New York Yacht Club with its model collection of Cup yachts. one-designs NY40 In July 2005, the New York Yacht Club announced its latest one-design, the NY42, designed by Frers and built by Nautor’s Swan. The yacht was born out of a strong desire by members to create a truly Corinthian class that promotes high-level and high-performance competition but with owner-drivers and predominately amateur crews. The boat was designed to race one-design but also be competitive under the IRC. Within four months of the announcement, 35 yachts had been sold—25 to members. NY30 NY42 Since 1900, the New York Yacht Club has created nine one-design classes. One of their charms is longevity. Above is the 100th anniversary of the NY30 class. The NY42 is the ninth one-design class created by the club since 1900. The legendary yacht designer Nathanael Herreshoff, an honorary member of the NYYC, designed the Newport-30 class in 1896. Members who had seen or sailed in these Newport 30s went to “Cap’n Nat,” and in 1900 came the first of these classes: the NY70, to be followed by the famous NY30s in 1905. (In 2005, this class celebrated its 100th Anniversary Regatta at the Harbour Court facility. Seven of the 18-total yachts built made an appearance.) In 1977 came the NY40 — of which 21 were built. It was a popular class at the New York Yacht Club for more than 25 years. Team racing is extremely popular at the NYYC, which conducts interclub, national and world championships. The club also uses its fleet of 13 Sonars, replaced in 2005, for match racing. team racing Team racing has been a focus of the New York Yacht Club since 1983. In team racing, two teams of three or four boats per side compete against each other to achieve the lowest aggregate score. Individual races are short in distance but are packed with action because each time a boat moves up or down a position within the fleet, the balance of the entire team’s score is affected. Unlike fleet racing, which focuses on individual accomplishments, team racing requires that boats help each other by using rules, marks and wind shadows to advance the overall position of the group. Competitors are thinking of how tactical maneuvers contribute to the overall strategy. Team Racing has flourished at the New York Yacht Club because the emphasis on group performance enables a wide variety of members to compete successfully as a single team. This same attribute enables the club to sail against a wide variety of other clubs in friendly competition. The typical NYYC team-racing season goes from April to October, includes all levels of competition and encompasses over 25 events. Besides intramural competition, the club will host or visit yacht clubs in Europe, the Caribbean, the West Coast and up and down the eastern seaboard. Harbour Court in Newport is the “home port” of the club’s fleet of 13 Sonar-class sailboats, designed by member Bruce Kirby. This fleet of identical boats enables the club to provide the world’s best team racing as well as match racing to members and visiting sailors. In 2005, the club hosted the ISAF Team Racing World Championship. inside the club Above a bedroom at Harbour Court. Right a packed clubnight and below, the Grill Room. Harbour Court in Newport has 19 bedrooms and five apartments for members, their families and friends. The 44th Street clubhouse in midtown Manhattan has 18 bedrooms. This is not more of the same, but each clubhouse, each room, has a story to tell. “Except for the absence of motion, one might fancy oneself at sea,” is how a visitor described the 44th Street Clubhouse in 1901. There is the elegant Formal Dining Room in Newport; New York boasts the Grill Room, paneled in oak, “which feels like a sailing ship’s sweeping sheer line – a gentle swoop,” wrote author John Rousmaniere, a member. Both restaurants are known for their fine cuisine, marquee chefs, wine lists and service. “Welcome home! ” is the motto of the staff. The famous Model Room at 44th Street or tents on the lawn at Harbour Court within steps of the ocean host member-sponsored functions: corporate meetings, large weddings, parties and special events. More intimate gatherings: meetings, birthdays and anniversaries, are accommodated in the Commodores Room in New York, the Afterguard Room or the Wardroom Terrace overlooking 44th Street. Station 10 at Harbour Court – the first clubhouse dating to 1845—is a popular spot for weddings, as are the formal gardens designed by the firm of Frederick Law Olmsted, Central Park’s designer. Meeting participants or wedding parties can be accommodated in the luxurious overnight rooms. The level of energy continues through the “off season” as the club hosts dozens of special events that continue to pack the clubhouses. members New York Yacht Club 37 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036 (212) 382-1000 Harbour Court, 5 Halidon Avenue, Newport, RI 02840 (401) 846-1000 www.nyyc.org Editors: Michael Levitt and Geri Zelenick. Writers: Melissa Hubner, Lindsay Shuckhart and Chris Woods. Graphic Designer: Darcy Magratten. Principal Photographer: Dan Nerney. Also Carlo Borlenghi /Rolex, Thierry Martinez, Michael Levitt, Craig I. Jones, Rosenfeld Collection, Jook Leung /360VR Studio and Morgan Library.