Eastern Yacht club
Marblehead, Massachusetts, USA
Welcome to the Eastern Yacht Club. The Eastern was organized in 1870 by a group of individuals from Boston and its North Shore who were seeking to have a club imbued with the “true yachting spirit”. Throughout its history the Eastern has consistently pursued its mission of “encouraging yacht building and naval architecture and the cultivation of nautical science”.
From the beginning the Club was a leader in yacht racing. The yachts Puritan, Mayflower and Volunteer, all flying Eastern colors, successfully won the right to defend the America’s Cup in 1885, 1886 and 1887 and soundly defeated their British challengers. The young and now famous naval architect Edward Burgess designed each of the winning yachts. The Eastern’s interest in the America’s Cup continued into the 20th Century when a syndicate from the Eastern Yacht Club built the J-boat Yankee which lost by a split second the right to challenge for the 1934 America’s Cup to Rainbow. Chandler Hovey and his family owned and raced J-boats in the 1930’s and built the 12-meter Easterner in an effort to defend the America’s Cup in the late 50’s and early 60’s. Eastern member Ted Hood participated in various 12-meter campaigns both as a sail maker and yacht designer. In addition, he skippered Constellation in its successful defense of the America’s Cup in 1974.
Not all of the attention at the Eastern has been focused on America’s Cup competition. Eastern was the force behind the races in Sonders (a boat of about 20 feet on the waterline designed to a measurement rule) which were held with both Germany and Spain in the years leading up to World War I. The Eastern had to conduct extensive negotiations with the German Kaiser before he was convinced to support this international competition. During the 20’s and 30’s, as well as during the last half of the century, Eastern members owned numerous cruising boats that successfully competed in local and international ocean races. Notable yachts included the 72 foot Francis Herreshoff design named Tioga which was built for Harry E. Noyes and was subsequently raced for many years under the name Ticonderoga. His son, Brad Noyes, had a series of boats named Tioga designed by the famous designer Aage Nielson. Ted Hood raced a number of successful boats of his own design named Robin.
Eastern members currently own Etchells, IOD’s, Sonars, Stars, J-24’s, J-100’s, J-105’s, Rhodes-19’s, Lasers and Vipers, among other one design classes, and have won world and national championships in a number of those classes. Junior sailing has not been ignored. An Eastern member donated the Sears Cup, which is presently the US Sailing junior double-handed trophy, as well as the Curtis Cup, the Northeast Regional Championship leading to the Sears Cup. While the Pleon Yacht Club is an independent junior yacht club, the Eastern has long supported junior sailing by leasing facilities to the Pleon at a nominal sum.
The Eastern Race Committee is recognized as one of the very best on the East Coast. Each year the Race Committee runs a multitude of local sailing events including the weekly Marblehead Racing Association one-design series, PHRF races, team races and special class events. The Eastern regularly runs national and world championships. In 2011 the Eastern will host the IOD Worlds and the Etchells and J-105 North Americans.
By 1880 Boston’s North Shore had become the favored racing venue for Eastern members and visiting yachtsmen. As a result, the Club decided to build its clubhouse on Marblehead Neck, where it still stands today. Throughout the Eastern’s clubhouse you will find paintings, photographs, trophies and models that mark the history of American yachting from the glorious days of the huge racing yachts to the present day streamline one-designs. The Club’s extensive collection of historic trophies includes a large and ornate silver tankard known as the Puritan Cup. It was first awarded in 1885 to the 94 foot gaff-rigged cutter Puritan to honor her resounding defeat of Priscilla in the competition for the right to defend the America’s Cup.
The Club’s full-model collection includes a stunning model of the yacht Constellation under full sail. This model, by the famous model builder H.E. Boucher, is six feet long; the mast stands a majestic 56 inches high. Designed by Edward Burgess, the “queen of the fleet” was 106 feet on the waterline with a 12 foot draft. From 1897 to 1941 the Constellation was the official and unofficial flagship of the Eastern fleet. An equally large model of the yacht Fortuna, a 109 foot yacht also designed by Edward Burgess, greets visitors as they enter the Clubhouse. Eastern’s club room contains half-models of various one-design classes and a wall which features specific one-design classes on a rotating basis. The model room at the Club contains over 65 half-models of historic and modern yachts. Additional historic half-models are displayed throughout the Club.
The Eastern’s clubhouse has a formal dining room, porch dining and a cocktail area, all overlooking the harbor. The grounds feature an Olympic sized swimming pool, six tennis courts, three paddle tennis courts, a pier with two cranes and pier house, gangway and dock. The Club offers non-smoking rooms for guests and visiting sailors.
updated Saturday, March 29, 2014