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On the waterfront in Downtown Toronto since 1894 From novice to old salt, there is a place for everyone at National Yacht Club.
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This Month in History – June
May 26th, 2015 @ 08:55 PM EST by Newsletter Author

June 1903 – The first power boats at the National Yacht and Skiff Club. The 1890’s fleets of the West End Boating and National Yacht Clubs were all sailing vessels consisting of narrow skiffs less than 18′ in length, small deep draft knockabouts and larger sail boats including Mackinaws, traditional sloops and yawls.

The first reference to a power boat in the NYC roster is recorded on June 6, 1903. Harry Stubbs highly polished brass steam launch TESBY cruised with Club sail boats to Frenchman’s Bay. Gasoline motor boats were becoming available in Canada around this time and interest in fast motorboats grew rapidly in the early years of the 20th century. Frank Fielding, Club Secretary-Treasurer, owned a gasoline launch by August 1903. It often provided a new service – towing members’ skiffs to and from the race course and regattas. Captain Maw and George Fielding had newly designed gasoline motor boats with spark plug devices in 1904.

As Toronto’s yacht clubs had half a dozen flyers by 1905, a proposal was made to hold the first ever handicap motor boat race on Toronto Bay. Stubbs’s TESBY was employed as the Judges boat for Toronto’s Dominion Day Regatta.

1906 was a benchmark year for NYC’s power fleet:

  • A Motor Boat Section was formed to promote cruising and racing.
  • Joining the fleet were a couple of large class speedsters capable of 14 mph – a top end speed at the time.
  • QCYC and NYC’s fleets joined forces and cruised to Oakville for a rendezvous with the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club’s motor boat fleet.
  • Commodore Edward Collette branched into power boat racing purchasing VIOMA which he raced successfully.
  • AUTO-FLOAT and VIPER won all the Large Class silverware at the Toronto Motor Boat Regatta. NYC hosted parties in celebration.
  • Lou Marsh had the first taste of power boat racing in his 23″. Marsh endorsed the power bug – a foretaste of things to come for the National. Marsh’s golden years of “sea flea” racing were still some 20 years in the future.

June 1915 – The Club’s early fleet may be considered to have been limiting by today’s standards. However, the Long Distance Racing and Cruising program was often more extensive than we have experienced in modern times. The 1915 Events Calendar suspended all at home Club evening and weekend on water activities for two weeks. This allowed the entire NYC fleet to schedule 10 days of racing and cruising to Olcott, New York, numerous NYC hosted events at Olcott and the races home.

June 1941 – Although participation in events was shrinking as members mobilized for the war effort, there was significant interest in the NYC power boat race to the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club. The race was the last major Club event for five years. Subsequent government fuel restrictions and rationing came into effect in the fall of 1941. This curtained most Club activities for the duration WWll with the exception of a limited dinghy racing program.

June 1966 – NYC’s Open Regatta was the season opener race event for Toronto area yacht clubs. A record 300 boats crossed the start line.

Wayne Mullins

Past Commodore and NYC’s Honorary Historian