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Founding of the NYYC

history3Gimcrack was the first flagship of John Cox Stevens, first commodore of the NYYC. Later, he was part of the syndicate that owned America that won what became the "America's Cup" in 1851 in England.

John Cox Stevens and eight other progressive New York yachtsmen met aboard Stevens new yacht Gimcrack during the afternoon of Tuesday, July 30, 1844. Gimcrack was anchored off the Battery at the foot of Manhattan Island.

Stevens proposed forming a club among New York businessmen and residents, which could serve as an organization for weekend New York Harbor racing, and summer cruises in the cooler New England waters.

These nine individuals agreed to form the New York Yacht Club, with Stevens to serve as commodore.  With much enthusiasm for their accomplishment, the group further agreed to assemble their yachts three days later and cruise to Newport, Rhode Island.  A summer cruise among New York Yacht Club members has been an annual event ever since, with the exceptions of 1861, 1898, and the war years of 1917-1920 and 1941-1945. In 1998, the club celebrated the 100th anniversary of its first cruise to Maine.

Gimcrack was the first flagship of John Cox Stevens, first commodore of the NYYC. Later, he was part of the syndicate that owned America that won what became the "America's Cup" in 1851 in England.The club's first annual meeting took place at Windhams Tavern on March 17, 1845, during which the membership elected a full slate of officers. Commodore Stevens was reelected; Vice Commodore was Hamilton Wilkes; Corresponding Secretary, George B. Rollins; Recording Secretary, John C. Jay; Treasurer, William Edgar. These officers directed the Secretary to design a club burgee, and the present distinctive burgee of a red cross with a white star in the center on a dark blue background was adopted the following June.

The first clubhouse, a small gothic building designed by Alexander Jackson Davis, opened on July 15, 1845, on land in Hoboken, NJ, donated by Commodore Stevens. It served as the center of club activities for 23 years. Later it was moved to Glen Cove, Long Island where it was known as "Station 10." (The NYYC maintained 11 stations all situated along the east coast's racing and cruising route for the "landing and embarking convenience of members and for ships stores..." The first clubhouse was on loan and on display at Mystic Seaport for 50 years.

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