A Short History

CYC was formed in 1964 by local men and women, with a mission to provide boaters and visitors with a place to gather and share their love of sailing. (More on the formation in Addendum below).  As the membership grew, improvements were made to the first clubhouse. In the early 1980’s, with an increased interest in boating and a change in the purpose of the harbour area from industrial to pleasure, plans were made to build a new clubhouse. Together with a BILD grant, donations and hours of CYC member volunteer work, the current clubhouse behind the marina was completed. The original clubhouse continues to be a sailing centre for the sailing school and centreboard craft.

In 1985 CYC donated the new clubhouse to the Town of Cobourg in exchange for a long-term lease for nominal consideration. Pursuant to the lease CYC pays all “taxes, costs, expenses and obligations” related to the occupancy of the leased premises. Building improvements and maintenance and repairs have been paid for by CYC since 1985. All the property in front of and around the clubhouse belongs to the marina, not the club and the club does not own any docks. Members who keep their boats at the marina, pay the marina full fees.

Cobourg Yacht ClubAs Cobourg Harbour developed and the marina grew, it required lift-in, lift-out services for their customers. CYC stepped up to provide this service on a volunteer basis for all marina customers.  Two years ago, the marina took charge of the lift-in process but CYC continues to provide all the volunteer lifting services. Members who have their boats lifted pay the marina in addition to volunteering. The Club feels it has a responsibility to the Marina and continues to work collaboratively with them.

CYC is not involved in the day to day operations of the marina. The Cobourg Marina allocates slips to boaters, sets all boating fees such as summer slips and winter storage fees and runs the gas dock. The Town owns the boat storage yard which can accommodate approximately 50 boats offering winter paid storage.
The Club is an active participant in the Parks and Recreation Committee. We recognize the importance of collaborating with all stakeholders who use our beautiful harbour.  As our town has grown, we see more and more usage. With safety as the forefront issue, we have and will continue to involve ourselves with the planning and development of its resource.

Cobourg Yacht Club is not a private club, it is a not-for-profit organization that is entirely self-funded by its members.  There are no restrictions to becoming a member at CYC, it is inclusive and open to all. The membership is comprised of people with boats in Cobourg Marina, members with boats stored and launched from the club’s yard, members with boats elsewhere and associate members who do not own a boat.

Monica Sheridan
Commodore 2020

Addendum – Club Formation

In 1964, the Mayor, Jack Heenan, and his council, received a notice from the race committee that convened the Freeman Cup, an around Lake Ontario Sailing Race. They asked the Town of Cobourg to host the sailors once they had completed the first leg of the race from Rochester, NY to Cobourg.  At that time there was no club or group who had an interest in sailing.  The harbour was in disarray with coal piles on the north wall and the remains of the ferry docks at the centre pier. It was very unattractive to tourists.  It was a safe  harbour and a place to rest for the night.  Cobourg was a destination!

A group of businessmen took up the Mayor’s call and arranged a party for the sailors providing comfort and food (racing boats aren’t all that comfortable below).  Their hospitality was offered as good will on behalf of the Town.  The party was held at a private home.

Interest was created and the group began the club using the pilings from the ferry docks as slips.  They went to Ottawa and procured a Charter from the Federal Government as well as a 99 year lease on all the harbour lands.

A compound, small fenced in area,  was built a year or so later and boats were stored along the beach south of the oil tanks.  The club borrowed from the Royal Bank to purchase a Beaver Lumber Cottage which they moved from the corner of William Street and University Avenue to its first location about half way between the centre and west piers beside the compound. Someone was able to procure two heavy belts from a local industry which were laid on the sand to make a track which would be easier to wheel the boats down to the water to launch.

A sailing school was set up right away and has continued with volunteer leadership ever since. Members purchased their own boats and shared them with the sailing school. To provide on the water safety, a power boat was purchased.  The Red Barren (Red in colour, Barren as in our bank account) was the only rescue boat from Oshawa to Brighton and it was often employed by our members helping others in trouble on the lake. Many meals and other hospitality were provided to those in need. The rescue service was provided free of charge and by members of the club. The Coast Guard wasn’t stationed here until 1985.

The club and all its activities were paid for and maintained by the members of the Club.    The Cobourg Yacht Club has always paid their own way.  From its inception the door has been open to visiting boaters.  The Club has always worked with the town and been proud to make the harbour a welcoming place.  Those early businessmen recognized that visitors to Cobourg need food and often enjoy shopping in our stores!  Cobourg Harbour is one of the most popular spots on Lake Ontario.

Liz McCaughey

Below are photos of 1) a sailboat coming into harbour and 2) a busy day in the harbour.

Sail Past 2006A busy day in Cobourg Harbour

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