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The New York Yacht Club



The New York Yacht Club was founded in 1844 by John Cox Stevens and eight other New York yachtsmen aboard Stevens' yacht, anchored in New York Harbor. Stevens proposed forming a club among New York businessmen and residents, which could serve as anorganization for weekend New York Harbor racing and summer cruises to New England. The Club's first order of business was to set the date, three days later, for the members to depart for Newport, R.I., a distance of about 175 miles, on the club's first annual cruise. The 2012 Annual Cruise was the club's 156th. In 1845, the club held what would become the Annual Regatta, making the 2012 Annual Regatta the club's 158th. In 1851, the yacht America, owned by Commodore Stevens, crossed the Atlantic on her own bottom and challenged all English yachts to a match race. No yacht was willing to race her, and America joined an open race around the Isle of Wight. For her victory, she won the Royal Yacht Squadron's "Hundred Guinea Cup" that would become the "America's Cup," named in honor of the yacht that won it.


Nearly 40 years before the first modern Olympics, NYYC invited yacht clubs around the Burgee hi res on poleworld to join in "friendly competition" among nations. NYYC held the America's Cup until 1983, the longest retention of a trophy in sports. During its stewardship, NYYC boats won 81 of 93 races. NYYC has a long tradition in transoceanic racing, and has hosted or co-hosted 12 of the 29 north transatlantic races that have been held since 1866, when modern ocean racing began with the first transatlantic race from Sandy Hook, New Jersey, to the Lizard in England. The race was won by James Gordon Bennett Jr.—soon to be the club's commodore. In 1905, NYYC yacht Atlantic won a transatlantic race from New York to the Lizard. Her record stood for 100 years as the Transatlantic Race Record for monohull yachts. In 2011, NYYC co-hosted a transatlantic race, establishing a new course from Newport, R.I., to the Lizard. The record for the course was set by NYYC yacht Rambler 100. NYYC's two clubhouses are rich in history. In 1898, NYYC Commodore J. Pierpont Morgan donated land on West 44th Street in New York City for the club to build a new clubhouse. Opened in 1901, it is renowned for its Model Room and Library. "Except for the absence of motion, one might fancy oneself at sea," is how the New York Timesdescribed it in 1906.


In 1987, the club acquired its Newport clubhouse, Harbour Court, the former home of NYYC Commodore John Nicholas Brown. Built in 1901 with a "window on the water," Harbour Court created a new energy and focus clubhouse1for NYYC through an extensive schedule of sailing and social events. In 1994, it hosted its Sesquicentennial Celebration for members and friends. In 1998, NYYC hosted Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex, which has since become a hallmark biennial event. The club continues to host a range of championship and world events which have included the Disabled World Sailing Championships, the ILC Maxi Worlds, the Rolex IMS Offshore Worlds, the Laser Masters North Americans, the Swan North Americans, the Rolex Swan Americans, the 12-Metre Worlds, and will soon host the Melges 32 Worlds. The club is active in team racing as well; in 1984 and 2005, NYYC hosted the ISAF Team Racing Worlds. A team representing the NYYC won consecutive ISAF Team Racing World Championships in 2007 and 2009, and placed second in 2011. NYYC has a long history in one-design racing, notably in boat designs commissioned by the club. In 1905, Nathanael Herreshoff created the club's first one-design boat, the NY-30 (18 built). This was followed in succession by the NY-50 in 1913 (9 built) and the NY-40 in 1916 (14 built). In 1936, Olin Stephens designed the NY-32 (20 built). In 1975 came the NY-48, and in 1976, a Peterson-designed NY-40 was created (21 built), followed in 1980 by the NY-36 (60 built). Class racing then waned until the introduction of the NYYC Swan 42, the eighth one-design boat created by NYYC. Twenty-five NYYC Swan 42s were purchased by club members and another 25 by others worldwide. The New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup presented by Rolex reflects the philosophy of the class: The NYYC Swan 42 is intended for racing by predominantly Corinthian crews in local, regional, and international events. The purpose of the class is to foster high-level competitive sailing among amateurs. The Invitational Cup is first and foremost a Corinthian competition based on a theme dating back to 1857 to feature "friendly competition" among yacht clubs from various nations. The success of the Invitational Cup and the keen interest to compete for the Cup led to the creation of the USQS in order to provide an opportunity for three U.S. clubs to claim their spot in the international event, as well as to offer a unique competition among prominent U.S. yacht clubs.