The tradition of yacht racing and cruising has been in the hearts and souls of Youngstown Yacht Club sailors since its inception. The Club’s first yacht was the Blue Moon, a New York 30 sloop which dropped anchor off the Club dock on July 2, 1931. The nine-man syndicate from Buffalo that brought her to Youngstown joined a small group of promising local sailing enthusiasts and formed the Youngstown Yacht Club.
In 1936 the fledgling Club agreed to hold the L.Y.R.A. regatta in Youngstown. Enthusiastic racers from Lake Erie sailed into the mighty Niagara River to attend the event. Struck by the prevalent natural beauty and exceptional sailing conditions, these sailors decided to stay, bringing to the Club a cadre of experienced sailors who were to provide much of the Club’s leadership for the next 40 years. Overnight, Youngstown became a power in Lake Ontario racing, and a sailing center for the Buffalo area. The Club has been increasing membership, improving facilities, and promoting racing and cruising ever since.
Sailing craft that have written history at YYC encompass a wide variety of boats. Early racing sailors, who competed in one-design fleets of Snipes, 6-Meters and R-Boats, were a special breed. They thought nothing of challenging each other to a midnight race from Youngstown to Toronto to settle a bet on who was the best croquet player — the nearest croquet course being at the Royal Canadian Yacht Club! These sailors were the forebears of generations of serious sailors and consistent winners on the racing circuit, many of whom sail out of YYC today.
While racing brings the glory (and the frustration), cruising yields the memories. Few sailors would deny that their happiest memories come from cruises around the lake. The first organized Club cruise was in 1943 when, in spite of wartime shortages, five yachts, including the Blue Moon, sailed off in the sunset to the Bay of Quinte. YYC continues the custom of organized Club cruises today, to the delight of many of our cruising members.
Of all our Club’s activities, one of the most successful is unquestionably the Junior Sailing Program. This happy development started in 1955, by which time YYC had become a “big boat” Club. Thirteen members, with 43 children among them, joined together to purchase a fleet of dinghies. By the early 1960s, these dinghies were made available for a Club-sponsored program with instructors. By the 1970s, the program grew from volunteer instructors to a paid staff, and to a top-notch operation.
The Youngstown Yacht Club is proud of its heritage, and continues to support the traditions of the sport of sailing in all Club activities.