July 30, 1844 — The New York Yacht Club was started today when John Cox Stevens (September 24, 1785 – June 13, 1857) invited eight friends to his yacht Gimcrack, anchored in New York Harbor. They resolved to form the NYYC and named Stevens commodore.
The theme of the club was, in those days, to race sailing yachts. Three days later, members departed on a yacht-club cruise to Newport.
The NYYC’s first clubhouse was built in 1845 on land donated by Commodore Stevens, at the family estate at Elysian Fields in Hoboken, NJ, which overlooked the Hudson River. The estate is now the site of the Stevens Institute of Technology, endowed by Edwin Stevens, John’s brother, and the fourth commodore of this club.
A Gothic revival clubhouse opened on July 15, 1846. This was followed the next day by the first club regatta, billed as a “trial of speed.” It became the “Annual Regatta.”
Only the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, World War I and II and the assassination of New York Senator Robert Kennedy have caused it to be cancelled.
Words of Wisdom for July 30, 2016
“Although it would be most agreeable to me that this race should be for a cup of limited value … I am willing to stake upon the issue any sum not to exceed 10,000 guineas.”
— John Cox Stevens, founder of Commodore of the New York Yacht Club; member of the America syndicate, which, in 1851 won the trophy that would become the America's Cup