New York Yacht Club

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
New York Yacht Club
Short nameNYYC
FoundedJuly 30, 1844; 179 years ago (1844-07-30)

The New York Yacht Club (NYYC) is a private social club and yacht club based in New York City and Newport, Rhode Island. It was founded in 1844 by nine prominent sportsmen. The members have contributed to the sport of yachting and yacht design. As of 2001, the organization was reported to have about 3,000 members.[1] Membership in the club is by invitation only. Its officers include a commodore, vice-commodore, rear-commodore, secretary and treasurer.

The club is headquartered at the New York Yacht Club Building in New York City. The America's Cup trophy was won by members in 1851 and held by the NYYC until 1983. The NYYC successfully defended the trophy twenty-four times in a row before being defeated by the Royal Perth Yacht Club, represented by the yacht Australia II. The NYYC's reign was the longest winning streak as measured by years in the history of all sports.[2]

The NYYC entered 2021 and 2024 America's Cup competition under the syndicate name American Magic.[3]


In 1845, the club's first clubhouse was established—a modest, Gothic-revival building in Hoboken, New Jersey, designed by architect Alexander Jackson Davis, on land donated by Commodore John Cox Stevens.[4][5] After outgrowing its cramped quarters, the club moved to the McFarlane–Bredt House in Staten Island,[6] then to Madison Avenue in Manhattan.[4][5] The Hoboken clubhouse itself was physically relocated to Glen Cove, New York, then to Mystic, Connecticut.[7]

Main Clubhouse New York City[edit]

New York Yacht Club Building, 1901

The present primary clubhouse is the New York Yacht Club Building, a six-storied Beaux-Arts landmark with a nautical-themed limestone facade, at 37 West 44th Street in Midtown Manhattan. Opened in 1901, the clubhouse was designed by Warren and Wetmore (1898), who later helped design Grand Central Terminal.[8] The centerpiece of the clubhouse is the "Model Room", which contains a notable collection of full and half hull models including a scale model history of all New York Yacht Club America's Cup challenges. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987.[4][5][9]

As Penn Club of New York (est. 1901) became the first alumni clubhouse to join Clubhouse Row for inter-club events at 30 West 44th Street[10] after Harvard Club of New York City (est. 1888) at 27 West 44th, New York Yacht Club (est. 1899) became the first non-alumni clubhouse to join at 37 West 44th, then Yale Club of New York City (est. 1915) on East 44th (and Vanderbilt) and Cornell Club of New York (est. 1989) at 6 East 44th on the same block, with Princeton Club of New York joining in 1963 at 15 West 43rd (the only alumni clubhouse who wasn't on 44th Street, whose members, part of the staff, and in-residence club, Williams College Club of New York were absorbed into Penn Club following a previous visiting reciprocity agreement between the Princeton-Penn Clubs, before Princeton's went out of business during COVID).[11][12] Despite being in New York City, Columbia University Club of New York (est. 1901) left Princeton after residence agreement issues[13][14] to become in-residence at The Penn Club, while Dartmouth shares the Yale Club, and Brown shares the Cornell Club.

Harbour Court, Newport Rhode Island[edit]

Harbour Court – New York Yacht Club

To better host regattas, in 1988, the club purchased an impressive water front property in Newport, Rhode Island.[15]


The Yacht 'America' Winning the International Race, 1851, Fitz Henry Lane

The New York Yacht Club was founded on July 30, 1844, by nine gentlemen. John Cox Stevens, the leader of this group, and a prominent citizen of New York with a passion for sports, was elected commodore.[16] John Clarkson Jay of Rye, one of the nine founders, was a grandson of Founding Father John Jay and served as the first Secretary of the board.[17] George L. Schuyler and Hamilton Wilkes were also NYYC founders who, together with Stevens and two others, created the syndicate that built and raced the great schooner-yacht, America. Wilkes served as the club's first vice-commodore. Schuyler played a key role in the founding of the America's Cup regatta, and served as its unofficial consultant until his death in 1890.[18]

In 1845, the club's burgee was designed.[19] The waters off Newport have been a key sailing venue for the NYYC since the beginning of its history. Indeed, the day the club was founded in 1844, its members resolved to sail from the Battery to Newport. Two days later, they did, with several stops on the way, and trials of speed.

During the first decades of the club's history, racing for prize money was the objective among most members. In 1851, a syndicate of NYYC enthusiasts built and raced America, capturing the "One Hundred Sovereign Cup" at the annual regatta of the Royal Yacht Squadron. On July 8, 1857, the coveted trophy was donated to the NYYC, to serve as a challenge cup for sportsmanlike competition between nations. The "America's Cup Race", named for its first winner, played a central role in the history of the club until this day.

In 1865, the club was incorporated, adopting the Latin motto: "Nos agimur tumidis velis" – "We go with swelling sails" (adapted from the verse of the famous Roman poet Horace, "Non agimur tumidis uelis", "We do not go with swelling sails", in Epistles, 2, 2, 201). During this time, membership transitioned from the "old guard" to a new generation of yachtsmen, who built large schooner yachts captained by professionals. Marking this evolution was the 1866 resignation of Commodore Edwin Augustus Stevens, brother of founder John Cox Stevens and member of the America syndicate.

"New York Yacht Club motto - Nos Agimur Tumidis Velis"
The Great Ocean Yacht Race Between Henrietta, Fleetwing & Vesta, by Currier & Ives in 1867

The year 1866 is remembered in club annals for the legendary "Transatlantic Race". In December, the NYYC schooners Henrietta, Fleetwing, and Vesta raced from Sandy Hook to The Needles, Isle of Wight for a $90,000 winner-take-all prize. The Henrietta, owned by 21-year-old James Gordon Bennett Jr., and skippered by Captain Samuel S. Samuels, won the race in 13 days, 21 hours and 55 minutes. Bennett would be elected commodore in 1871.

On August 8, 1870, the schooner Magic represented the New York Yacht Club in the international 1870 America's Cup competition in the New York Harbor and was won by Franklin Osgood's American yacht Magic. She beat 17 competitors, including the English yacht Cambria and the yachts Dauntless, Idler, Fleetwing, Phantom, America and others.[20]

In 1876, the Mohawk, a large centerboard schooner, capsized due to its sheets being "made fast" (fastened securely) when a freak squall struck. Vice-Commodore William T. Garner, his wife and crew died in the accident. It is believed that this tragedy led to the extinction of the great centerboard schooner yachts. The Mohawk was later sold to the U.S. Navy and recommissioned as the USS Eagre.

In 1895, Richard H. Barker composed 'The yacht club march: march and two-step: for piano' in honor of the New York Yacht Club.[21]

In 1994, as part of the club's 150th anniversary celebrations, Melissa H. Harrington wrote the book The New York Yacht Club, 1844–1994.[22]

New York Yacht Club Stations c. 1894[edit]

By 1894, the New York Yacht Club had a number of Clubhouses: Station 1 in Bay Ridge; 2 in New York NY; 3 in Whitestone NY; 4 in New London, Connecticut; 5 in Shelter Island, New York; 6 in Newport RI; 7 in Vineyard Haven and at Rendezvous Glen Cove. In 1868, the club bought a big mansion used as Station 2 at Rosebank, Staten Island. This building still stands and is known as the McFarlane–Bredt House.

Former Commodore J. P. Morgan was present at a board meeting on 27 October 1898 to discuss the construction of a new clubhouse. Morgan offered to acquire a 75-by-100-foot (23 by 30 m) plot on 44th Street in midtown Manhattan [23][24] if the NYYC raised its annual membership dues from $25 to $50 and if the new clubhouse occupied the entire site.[24] The board accepted his offer, and Morgan bought the lots the next day for $148,000 and donated to the club.[25][26]

Members hosted an informal housewarming party on 29 January 1901 and gave Morgan a trophy in gratitude of his purchase of the site.[27][28]

Racing and the America's Cup[edit]

The America's Cup featured in the New-York Tribune in 1903.

Following the disastrous[clarification needed] Bay of Quinte America's Cup challenge in 1881, the club's committee voted a new rule to govern its races:[29]

The America's Cup challenges of 1885, 1886 and 1887 used this rule with an 85 ft (25.91 m) waterline length limit. In 1887, the NYYC adopted the Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club's rating rule, which handicapped length comparatively less. Then, in 1903, the NYYC changed its rating system to the "Herreshoff Rule", devised by the yacht designer, Nathanael Herreshoff. Later renamed the "Universal Rule", it would be adopted by the majority of leading American yacht clubs. The rule governed yacht design for almost forty years.

The America's Cup was held for 132 years, from 1851 until Australia II defeated Dennis Conner's Liberty off Newport, Rhode Island in 1983. This record remains the longest winning streak in sports history.

Since the loss of the Cup the NYYC has been forced to reinvent itself and the club has become involved in team racing, dinghy racing, youth sailing, and international regattas. In 2002 the Club hosted the Intercollegiate Sailing Association Sloop North American Championships. In 2006 the Club hosted the Blind Sailing World Championships.[30]

The NYYC entered 2021 America's Cup represented by the American Magic team, led by Terry Hutchinson and Bella Mente Quantum Racing Association. In May 2018, it was announced that Dean Barker will helm the boat.[31] "American Magic" references the first Cup winner, the yacht America, and the first defender, the yacht Magic.[32]


Engraving of spectators watching the annual regatta, late 19th century

The club has held a number of World Championships including J/70 World Championship, Melges 20 World Championship, Melges 32 World Championship, Etchells World Championship, Farr 40 World Championship, TP52 World Championship and 12-metre Worlds.

Notable members[edit]

New York Yacht Club Landing in Newport c. 1910s

See also[edit]

Sailboat design for club fleets


  1. ^ Landlocked Berth for Boat Lovers; New York Yacht Club Spruces Up Its Grand Home And Finds It Can Thrive Without America's Cup, James Barron, The New York Times, 03 Feb 2001, "The effort to add fresh blood to the blue blood has increased the roster to about 3,000 members."
  2. ^ John Rousmaniere (1983). The America's Cup 1851–1983. Pelham Books. ISBN 978-0-7207-1503-3.
  4. ^ a b c "New York Yacht Club". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. 2007-09-17. Archived from the original on 2008-01-06.
  5. ^ a b c ""New York Yacht Club", October 1985, by James H. Charleston". National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination. National Park Service. October 1985.
  6. ^ Gray, Christopher (1991-09-08). "Streetscapes: The McFarlane-Bredt House; The Old Yacht Club On Staten Island". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-10-26.
  7. ^ Verde, Tom (1999-12-26). "The View From/Mystic; New York Yacht Club Reclaims Its Clubhouse". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-10-26.
  8. ^ Whitney Warren Dictionary of Architects in Canada
  9. ^ "New York Yacht Club--Accompanying photo, exterior, undated". National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination. National Park Service. October 1985.
  10. ^ Slatin, Peter (May 9, 1993). "Penn's Racing to Join Clubhouse Row". New York Times. Archived from the original on November 30, 2020. Retrieved November 2, 2020.
  11. ^ Chao, Eveline (January 7, 2022). "It Wasn't Just the Pandemic That Closed the Princeton Club". Curbed. Archived from the original on November 3, 2022. Retrieved November 3, 2022.
  12. ^ "Williams Club in New York moves to Penn Club building".
  13. ^ "The Columbia Club's New Home". Columbia College Today. July 5, 2017. Retrieved October 30, 2021.
  14. ^ Skelding, Conor (August 4, 2016). "Columbia, Princeton clubs at impasse over residence agreement". Politico. Retrieved October 29, 2021.
  15. ^ "NYYC - Harbour Court". 2023-06-29.
  16. ^ "Who founded the New York Yacht Club today in 1844?". Grateful American Foundation. 2015-07-12. Retrieved 2021-10-23.
  17. ^ Clary, Suzanne. "A Legacy of Sailing: Owners of the Jay Estate & Yachting in New York 1843 - 1966". Rye Magazine: Weston Magazine, Inc. (38): 244. Retrieved January 2, 2016 – via issuu.
  18. ^ "New York Yacht Club". National Sailing Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2021-10-23.
  19. ^ "Yacht Clubs of NY". Retrieved 2021-10-23.
  20. ^ "The Yachts and the Coming Race; Visiting the Cambria, Dauntless and America--Arrangements for the Great Race on Monday Next--The Entries--The Course, &c" (PDF). The New York Times. New York, New York. 4 August 1870. Retrieved 2021-06-13.
  21. ^ Richard H. Barker 'The yacht club march: march and two-step: for piano' (Toronto : Whaley, Royce & Co., c1895)
  22. ^ Melissa H. Harrington The New York Yacht Club, 1844-1994 (Lyme, Conn.: Greenwich Pub. Group, 1994)
  23. ^ "Yachting: Commodore Morgan Gives the New-york Club a Site for a House to Race for the Canadian Cup Yacht Associations Meet". New-York Tribune. October 28, 1898. p. 4. ProQuest 574511646.
  24. ^ a b "Commodore Morgan's Gift; Presents Three Lots to the N.Y. Yacht Club for a New Home". The New York Times. October 28, 1898. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on October 26, 2022. Retrieved October 26, 2022.
  25. ^ "New Yacht Club House; Commodore Morgan Buys a 75-Foot Frontage in Forty-fourth Street for a Site". The New York Times. October 29, 1898. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on October 26, 2022. Retrieved October 26, 2022.
  26. ^ "Com Morgan Pays $148,000.: Loses No Time in Making Good His Offer to Provide Site for New Clubhouse for New York Yacht Club". Boston Daily Globe. October 29, 1898. p. 5. ProQuest 498954045.
  27. ^ "N.Y.Y.C. Honors J.P. Morgan: Silver Loving Cup Presented to the Club's Ex-commodore". The New York Times. January 30, 1901. p. 7. ISSN 0362-4331. ProQuest 1013633831.
  28. ^ "Harriman Gets Chicago Lines.: Terminal Transfer Company's Stock Reported in Control of Eastern Man. Details of the Deal. Charity Ball for Benefit of Nursery and Childs' Hospital a Success. General New York News". Chicago Tribune. January 30, 1901. p. 5. ProQuest 173095798.
  29. ^ Thomas W. Lawson (1902). The Lawson history of the America's Cup. ISBN 978-0-907069-40-9.
  30. ^ Hargraves, Carly (January 30, 2006). "2006 IFDS Blind Sailing World Championships - Yachting Australia". Yachting Australia. Archived from the original on October 6, 2015. Retrieved 2015-10-01.
  31. ^ "Dean Barker leads Kiwi quartet as helmsman for New York's 2021 America's Cup bid". May 2018.
  32. ^ Alan Baldwin (27 March 2018). Ed Osmond (ed.). "Sailing: 'American Magic' to challenge for 2021 America's Cup". Reuters.
  33. ^ "Yachting. Meeting of the New York Yacht Club". New York Daily Herald. New York, New York. 6 Feb 1869. p. 7. Retrieved 2021-06-09.
  34. ^ "Frank F. Olney". The American Journal of Philately. New York, NY: The Scott Stamp and Coin Co. 1 Oct 1903. p. 353. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
  35. ^ Lambert, Bruce (26 February 1993). "Arthur J. Santry Jr., 74, Is Dead; Headed Combustion Engineering". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 August 2023.
  36. ^ Homans, James E., ed. (1918). The Cyclopedia of American Biography. The Press Association Compilers. pp. 299–300.
  37. ^ Hamersly, L.R.; Leonard, J.W.; Mohr, W.F.; Knox, H.W.; Holmes, F.R. (1914). Who's who in New York City and State. Cornell Library New York State Historical Literature. L.R. Hamersly Company. p. 666. Retrieved 9 March 2022.

Further reading[edit]

  • New York Yacht Club by New York Yacht Club and (Mar 4 2012). ISBN 1130831000
  • The History of Yachting, 1600–1815 by Arthur H. Clark; pub. under authority and direction of the New York Yacht Club (New York ; London : G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1904)

External links[edit]