Boston Yacht Club
One Front Street
Marblehead, MA 01945
Telephone 781-631-3100

BYC Web Site

History of the Boston Yacht Club

  • History of the Boston Yacht Club
    • The Boston Yacht Club was founded in 1866 by three Dartmouth alumni who sought a venue for yacht racing that would provide "that spirit of comradeship, of courtesy and chivalry, of sympathetic joy in a common sport". The ninety charter members grew the club until in 1874 the first clubhouse was opened at City Point in South Boston, membership then numbering 250 with over 80 yachts.

      Through a series of club mergers, the Boston Yacht Club grew and by 1910 the club operated from six different stations: Rowe's Wharf in Boston, Hull, City Point in South Boston, Marblehead, Dorchester, and Five Islands in Sheepscot Bay, Maine. Today the club operates from a single station in Marblehead, with currently 500 members and 400 yachts flying the BYC burgee.

  • America's Cup
    • The BYC historic involvement in the America's Cup mirrors our proud heritage. The twelve meter Nefertiti, two-time participant in defender trials for the America's Cup, received the backing of a BYC syndicate.

      Members, including Edward Burgess and George Lawley, Nat Herreshoff and W. Starling Burgess designed and built the successful cup defenders dating back as far as 1885. Most recently, Ted Hood, then a Marblehead resident and BYC member, stepped up to carry on the tradition. As sail maker, and sometimes skipper and designer, Hood held sway through 11 successful Cup defenses from 1958-77.

      The original schooner America has a place in club history. She was bought by member General Benjamin Butler (later Governor of Massachusetts and presidential candidate) in 1873. For over 27 years America flew the Boston Yacht Club burgee while she was actively campaigned by Butler and, following his death, his nephew until she was decommissioned in 1901.

  • The Power Squadron
    • The United States Power Squadron (USPS), a preeminent boating organization currently boasting more than 60,000 members, traces its roots to the BYC. Just prior to his election as Rear Commodore, Roger Upton created the organization to help improve seamanship and navigational skills as the popularity of recreational power boating saw exponential growth in the early nineteen hundreds. Starting in 1911, Upton created the Power Division within the Boston Yacht Club with 36 founding members, structuring a program heavy on classroom training and on-the-water maneuvering drills.

      During July of 1912, the club's power boaters were invited to join in on the annual cruise, and a fleet of 40 sailboats and 20 power boats left Marblehead for Peaks Island, Maine. A horrific storm blew up on one particularly long leg of the cruise, and only 2 boats of the sixty made it safely into Portland that evening. The power boaters came into their own as they assisted the disabled sailboats, towing many into port. From this auspicious beginning, the United States Power Squadron was born.

  • Legacy of Helping Others
    • The Boston Yacht Club has always supported charitable causes, giving to those less fortunate. The Boston helped organize the first Hospice Benefit Regatta, now an annual event, to raise money for the Hospice of the North Shore. The late member Charlie Quigley, Jr. founded the Wednesday's Child Benefit Regatta to raise money for children through the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange.

      In 1993, when the BYC proudly hosted the first World Disabled Sailing Championship ever held in North America. This event attracted 20 handicapped teams from 19 different countries. In recognition of this accomplishment, U.S. Sailing presented a Special Presidential Award to the Boston that same year. Based on the success of the World Championship, the U.S. Disabled Sailing Organization asked BYC to host the U.S. National Disabled Sailing Championship in 1995.

  • Heritage
    • Our club's proud heritage shows us that yes, in fact, an individual can very much make a difference. It also shows us that any greatness achieved was not performed by those seeking to be great, but by those following their dreams. Our true worth isn't measured by what we achieve, but by the fact that we desire to achieve. If in this process we can give something back to others, then we are all made better for the effort. This is the legacy of the Boston Yacht Club, passed down to us by those who have gone before. And it is one that we, her members, proudly carry forward into the future.