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On September 15, 1894, the Huntington Yacht Club was organized at a meeting held at the home of J.W. Shepard.  A constitution and set of by-laws were adopted and officers and trustees were elected with Henry H. Gordon as the first Commodore.  The entrance fee was $25.00 with $15.00 yearly dues.  The Club’s intent was “to promote social intercourse, create an interest in yachting and other aquatic sports and provide a suitable and convenient Club House, anchorage and harbor or basin for the use of its members.”  The By-Laws provided for three regattas annually.

By 1906, our Club had “excellent sailing and powerboats moored in the cove that formed our anchorage.”  Among these “excellent” boats ca. 1910 were Commodore August Heckscher’s 187' ANAHAMA and Juliana Ferguson’s 110' THE MERMAID.  Club members included George Cortelyou, who served as U.S. Postmaster General and as private secretary to Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Grover Cleveland, and William McKinley; Frederick L. Upjohn, a founder of the Upjohn Company; George W. Brown, owner of famed Brown Brothers Pottery; and Andre, Jacques, and Louis Bustonoby, creators of the famous CHATEAU DES BEAUX ARTS Casino overlooking Huntington Bay. Members William Atkin and Cottrell Wheeler designed and built boats for many Club members.  They and the Bustonoby Brothers, helped sponsor the first international Harmsworth Race in American waters, held in Huntington Bay.

In the 1920s, several younger Club members created the Suicide Class of small-boat racing, a development class rather than a one-design class.  By 1930, the widespread popularity of Suicide racing brought national prominence to HYC.  During the 1920s and 1930s, the Clubhouse was expanded and membership increased.  The Hurricane of 1938 caused water to rise two and one-half feet over the first floor, and volunteer HYC members worked to save the Club.  Member Joan D’Auria, then 7 years old, recalls being carried to safety by the Club manager!

During World War II, many members joined the Armed Forces or the US Coast Guard Reserves and Coast Guard Auxiliary.  The first Coast Guard Flotilla in our area, Flotilla 12-04 included over 30% of HYC membership, some of whom donated their boats to the Coast Guard for patrol work.  Although gasoline rationing and unlighted buoys and lighthouses restricted Club social and racing activities, HYC celebrated its 50th birthday in 1944 with many events.
The 1950s saw the Club booming until the great fire on November 9, 1959 that destroyed the Clubhouse and most of the Club’s archives.  Out of the ruins rose hope and the members agreed to build a new Clubhouse.  The first piling was placed before Christmas and he building was ready by June 1, 1960, in time for Commissioning, attended by 250 people.
The 1960s was a period of major expansion. Through the efforts of future Commodores Michael M. D’Auria and Robert Wagenseil, approval was received to move the Harbor channel to permit building of a marina, which was completed by 1970 and expanded during the 1970s.  A swimming pool was constructed and new membership categories were created. Racing and social activities were held year round, with Frostbite races taking place until the Harbor froze over.
During the 1980s and 1990s, HYC continued to grow.   The Marina was expanded to hold over a 90 boats.  Major renovations were made to the Clubhouse, docks, pool areas, and snack bar. In Joseph Verderber’s administration, the North Dock was rebuilt with upgraded electrical service to accommodate larger boats.  During John Scannello’s tenure, HYC bought land, beachfront, and associated riparian rights of the property on our northern border. During Saul Federman and Fred Spiegel’s tenure, the Marina maintenance dredging project was completed, restoring adequate depth to slips on the North Channel. Negotiations continued for the addition of new slips adjacent to the North Dock.  An Endowment Fund was created for the future financial security of HYC.
In 1994, during the tenure Commodore John Scannello, the Club celebrated its 100th birthday with a gala ball and the publication of a Centennial Book that took years of research by the History Committee. We have since received donations of historical items, including valuable early photographs and trophies, one of which, a crystal trophy dated 1895, was donated by Florence Gordon Cantrell, granddaughter of our first Commodore. A  HYC Centennial Book supplement is being written, to include photos of all current members.
Women have always been involved in HYC activities including women’s Frostbite races, the Skipper Moore Ladies Races, and more recently, the Women’s Spirit Race.  Women have been full boating members, have chaired committees, and in 1990, Henrietta Schavran was elected Trustee and then Secretary and Treasurer.   The HYC Ladies Auxiliary was formed in 1967, originally to promote ladies’ social activities. Since then, the Auxiliary has become a major HYC entity, raising substantial funds for Club improvements and charitable causes.  It paid for the outside stairway to the upper deck, for spring landscaping, for Club and pool furniture, and for new dinnerware. The Ladies Auxiliary donated funds collected over a three-year period to buy a permanent canopy installed over the walkway to the Clubhouse, and also donated funds to buy outdoor heaters for the new Patio. In 2009 and 2010, the Auxiliary raised a large sum of money for the purchase of new Pool furniture. In 2012, a new flagpole was erected at HYC, donated by the Ladies Auxiliary, which allocated funds in 2011 and 2012 for its purchase. In 2013 and 2014, the Auxiliary donated funds for outdoor plantings, benches and other beautifications, creating an elegant Club entranceway. They also purchased new furniture for the lobby and have continued to add outdoor plants and furniture from 2014 through 2019.  This includes the recent beautification of the area west of the Pool. A long standing proud tradition of the Auxiliary is awarding its Trophy for Sportsmanship yearly to a young sailor in the HYC Junior Sailing Program.
HYC ushered in its third century of nautical life in excellent financial health and continuing membership growth. During Commodore Dr. Robert Scully’s administration, the South bulkhead was replaced and the North expansion (i.e. the Cove Dock) was 90% completed. Other improvements, continued under Commodores Eliot Levine and Martin Egeland, included replacement  of the sound system, redecoration of the Dining Room, South Room, and Lower Lounge, and upgrading of the kitchen and snack bar. Three defibrillators were installed. The parking lot bulkhead was replaced and drainage systems installed. The Clubhouse electrical systems were upgraded. Our longtime plans for expansion of the Marina finally became a reality with the total completion of the Cove Dock to the north of the existing North Dock, adding 11 new slips, some capable of accommodating large yachts.
In 2006 and 2007, under Commodore Carl Caiola, the Club underwent major exterior and interior work, including re-facing of the entire building, erection of a canopied walkway to the main entrance, new wrought iron gates and fencing, and major landscaping. Interior work included new carpeting and a new sitting area in the South Room. A new bar and new floors, as well as French doors leading to a new patio were added to the Lower Lounge. Club members and the Ladies Auxiliary donated patio and lounge furniture.
In January 2008, a disastrous flood caused by a frozen pipe nearly destroyed the interior of the Clubhouse. Under Commodore Lenny Mestrandrea’s supervision, emergency repairs and replacement of ceilings, floors, carpeting, some walls areas, etc. were done in time to reopen the Club for the Change of Watch in February. The lower lounge, now named the Regatta Room, was remodeled, with new furniture and, in the center of the floor; a large marble mosaic compass rose was installed. Other major improvements have included the replacement of the whole North Dock with installation of new docks, new stanchions, and other equipment. Plans were made in 2009 for the replacement of the South Dock. In 2010, work to replace all docks, stanchions, electrical and other equipment was completed by April 15 in time for summer occupancy. In 2011, the historic World War II dinghy, donated to HYC decades ago, was beautifully restored. In 2012, work that was planned in 2011 to upgrade the Dock house was completed.
On October 29, 2012, the disastrous super storm Sandy wrought great havoc at HYC, causing major power outages, flooding and severe damage to the lower floor of the building, the workshop and pool buildings, as well as the docks and parking lot. Under the direction of Commodore James V. Archdeacon, members and employees were mobilized and the disastrous effects of Sandy were successfully addressed. The oil burner and other major equipment needed replacement, as well as carpeting and other interior items. A temporary system was put into place whereby members were able to obtain fuel from our pumps for their personal use. Many members suffered damage to their homes but fortunately, no injuries were sustained. In 2013, repairs and restorations to the building and grounds, for damages caused by Hurricane Sandy, were completed. In 2016 and 2017 under Commodore Bill Pecce’s administration, several important projects were planned and completed. These include a total renovation of the upstairs bar and major dredging at the North Dock. In 2018 and 2019, during the tenure of Commodore Les Lerner, a number of enhancement projects including outside railing were completed. Plans were finalized for the installation of the generator and elevator.  By the fall of 2019, both the generator and the elevator were fully operational.
The HYC annual summer cruises and the numerous social and official events continue to be very popular.  In 1992 and 1996 a large number of members organized and performed in two musical extravaganzas based on well-loved Broadway shows. In recent years, informal Karaoke Nights at the Club have become very popular. Social Sunday is a major Club event that includes a formal Blessing of the Fleet. Also successful are the Bluefish Tournament and the recently revived Frostbite races. In 2007, two long-time popular social events were revived: the annual Mother Daughter Sunday Brunch, sponsored by the Ladies Auxiliary, and the Men’s Dinner Evening, both of which continue to be a huge success. Although 2010 and 2011 witnessed a national economic recession, HYC retained financial stability under Commodore Daniel Kalina, and our tradition of nautical and social events continued successfully. Under his administration the restaurateur was changed. In 2011 and 2017, among HYC racing achievements, Officer Jack Posner won the coveted Vanderbilt Cup for the annual Vanderbilt Cup Race.  Over the years, the activities for our younger members, the Junior Yacht Club and Junior Swim Teams, were an extraordinary success. During 2017-2019 the HYC Junior Swim Team won the coveted Swim League champions for the third year in a row.   In 2019, HYC celebrated its 125th Anniversary.  Throughout the year the club displayed festive banners and held many gala, social, nautical and official events.
 HYC continues to be involved in community affairs and environmental projects to protect our waters and shorelines.  Our Club’s junior sailing and swim programs are open to young people from our community.  Division 22 and Flotilla 22-01 of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary (an arm of the Coast Guard and Division of Homeland Security) hold meetings and conduct public education classes at HYC.  In 1997 we hosted the Cabot 500 Race as part of a Town-wide celebration of the 500th year of Cabot’s discovery of Newfoundland, and in 2002 our members participated in Sail America, to help families of victims of September 11.  In 2000, HYC presented a new trophy, the HYC Annual Charity Cup, to be awarded to the overall winner of the HYC Charity Race, one of the HYC Annual Day Racing events.  This “Race for the Cure” has benefited the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Research Foundation and to date has raised over $125,000.00, some of which was given as a grant to Huntington Hospital. The 2007 HYC Annual Charity Race was dedicated to the Juvenile Diabetes Fund and raised over $12,000.00 for the cause. From 2008 through 2012, the Ladies Auxiliary has made generous donations to the Family Service League, Huntington Hospital Cardiac Unit, Sloan-Kettering Cancer Memorial Hospital at Commack, NY, and to other hospital services, as well as other charities. The Auxiliary continues successful food, toy and clothing drives for the poor and collects gifts for orphaned children. In 2014, HYC conducted its sixth Veterans’ Appreciation Day, at which over 200 war veterans and their families participated. Many spent a day at sea on members’ boats, and everyone was offered breakfast and a luncheon that included ceremonies to honor all veterans. The day was a great success.
We can proudly say we are continuing our long tradition of excellence in boating, social, and community goals.  At the Huntington Yacht Club, our members enjoy the challenges and joys of the sea and the relaxing camaraderie among friends when they return to home port.
Henrietta Schavran,
Historian, Huntington Yacht Club
Updated 1/23/2020