The NYYC Annual Regatta presented by Rolex
By Lindsay Shuckhart, NYYC’s curator of collections
The clubhouse opened in Hoboken, NJ, on the banks of the Hudson River in 1845. Two days after the opening, there was a "trial of speed." This became the Annual Regatta.
On July 15, 1845 the members of the New York Yacht Club met in their Hoboken, NJ, clubhouse for the first time. Two days later they began a tradition that lasted: the club’s Annual Regatta now in its 154th edition. 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. This would not have been possible without the support of the clubs of the Y.R.A. of L.I.S., especially Indian Harbor, American, Larchmont, Seawanhaka Corinthian and Riverside. 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.
Over the years numerous artists have celebrated the tradition of the NYYC Annual Regatta including James Edward Buttersworth, 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 art collection includes prints, drawings, paintings, photographs, and silver of the club’s Annual Regatta over the past century and a half.