Club Brochure1.75 MB - New York Yacht Club

New York Yacht Club
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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