On Friday, June 10, 1988, 1,500 New York Yacht Club members and guests attended the first 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 of the NYYC from 1952-54.
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. Many summer Cruises – known as the Annual Cruise -- included a stop in Newport. Then beginning in 1930 the NYYC conducted the America's Cup in Newport -- first in J-Class yachts and then 12 Metres -- until losing it in 1983.
John Nicholas Brown died in 1979 while aboard the Malagueña. After his wife Anne Brown's death in 1985, her children put the property on the market. Meanwhile, some members of the New York Yacht Club were thinking that the club could benefit from owning a waterfront property. John Nicholas Brown had on occasion mused that Harbour Court would make a fine yacht club. The NYYC purchased the property in 1987.
Following the loss of the America's Cup, Harbour Court created a new energy and focus at the NYYC. The facility became the national- and international-focal point of many of yachting's premier events. In 1994, it hosted its Sesquicentennial Celebration, for 2,000 members and friends. In 1998, the NYYC hosted the first Race Week at Newport, presented by Rolex, the Disabled World Sailing Championship and the ILC Maxi World Championship. In 2000, as part of Race Week, the NYYC hosted the Rolex IMS Offshore World Championship. In 2003, the club hosted the Laser Masters North Americans and the Swan North Americans. In 2005 the club conducted the Swan American Regatta, the 12-Metre Worlds and the Grey Goose ISAF Team Racing Worlds. The NYYC has also hosted the IFDS Blind Sailing World Championship. The summer of 2017 saw the J Class World Championship, the fifth biennial Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup, and the Melges 20 World Championship. To celebrate the 175th anniversary of its founding in 1844, the New York Yacht Club will host a week-long regatta at Harbour Court, July 15 to 20, 2019.
Youth, too, is being served at one of the oldest yacht clubs in America. Harbour Court has twice hosted the Optimist Dinghy Association US Championship and the IYRU O'Neill World Youth Sailing Championship. In 2000, Harbour Court hosted the U.S. Junior Championships for Sears, Bemis and Smythe Trophies. In 2002, the NYYC hosted the ICSA Sloop National Championship with Brown University. In 2008, the club hosted the Intercollegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) National Championships.
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