Our Story

  • History
    • Royal Vancouver Yacht Club – A Brief History

      (See ‘RVYC Chronicles’ for more detail)

      The Vancouver Yacht Club was formed in 1903, seventeen years after Vancouver was incorporated. The Club had as its first headquarters a small rented house at the foot of Thurlow Street in coal Harbour and proudly counted eighteen yachts in its fleet!

      The first elected commodore was Walter E. Graveley, a real estate dealer whose racing credits included sailing on the Countess of Dufferin, the 1876 challenger for the Americas Cup.

      The Club soon built a two-storey floating clubhouse on a leased water lot just west of the foot of Bute Street. In 1905 it was towed to a new site in the shelter of Deadman’s Island, close to our present coal Harbour location. This building was later hoisted onto the bank in Stanley Park and used as a spar shed until 1977.

      In 1905 the Club included 187 Members and 43 craft flew its burgee – a Cambridge blue pennant with a black diamond in its centre. That same year an application was made for a Royal Charter. In 1906 permission was granted to use the prefix ‘Royal’ and for Members to fly the Blue Ensign. The present burgee, incorporating the Royal Crown, was designed that year. During this time, several Members took advantage of Life Memberships for the princely sum (it was then!) of $50.

      The Club continued to expand and in 1927 a permanent Clubhouse was officially opened at Jericho on English Bay. In 1978 the Club completed further expansion and modification as membership growth continued, approaching 1,400 Active and Associate Members. In 1996 a total renovation that took over a year to complete prepared the Club for the twenty-first century. By this time the number of Active and Associate Members exceeded 1,600.

      Between 1960 and 1993 the Club acquired seven Offshore Stations. 28 acre Tugboat Island in Silva Bay on Gabriola Island was purchased in 1960; Alexandra Island in Centre Bay on Gambier Island 1n 1965. The Membership approved acquisition of 400 feet of waterfront at Secret Cove in 1972 and in the spring of 1977 we bought our first ‘complete’ marina at Scott Point on Saltspring Island. Colourful and historic Wigwam Inn at the head of Indian Arm was purchased in 1985 and in 1989 the Club took possession of our second ‘full service’ marina at Garden Bay in Pender Harbour. In 1993 the Club purchased 18 acres with 1,400 feet of waterfront in Cortes Bay on Cortes Island. The search continues for a second Offshore Station in Howe Sound.

      At present there are 1,805 Active Members, 130 Intermediate Members, 222 Post-Secondary Members, and 339 Junior Members. In addition there are 1,354 Joint members, 557 Non-Resident Members, and 540 Special, Legacy, Honorary Life, and Life Members. The fleet numbers 489 sailing yachts and 888 power yachts berthed at Jericho and Coal Harbour Stations or moored elsewhere. 

      Numbers from 2019 Yearbook

  • Today and Tomorrow
    • In 2018 the Canadian Society of Club Managers deemed RVYC as their large club recipient of their Club of the Year award. Our Home Port marinas are Green Marine certified by the Georgia Strait Alliance, Coal Harbour even received their highest rating. Our seven Offshore Stations are also Green Marine Certified.

  • RVYC Chronicles
    • Royal Vancouver Yacht Club has well over a century of history – a history of which we are justifiably proud. In one way or another that history has been documented in printed form. Today we have our monthly issues of Seabreeze and our annual issues of our Yearbook. This information is supplemented, and possibly being supplanted, by information available on our website – such as this presentation of our Annals.

      Our History Committee has consolidated our story and published the information in four major steps. The first step was the annals covering the years from 1903 through 1965. This was extended by a supplement covering the years 1966 through 1970. A second volume of the Annals was produced to cover the years 1971 through 1985.

      The information in the three print documents is reproduced in six downloadable files (see below).

      The information is presented in PDF format and requires suitable software to open and read it. Adobe Reader is available for free at http://get.adobe.com/reader. The files are “bookmarked” and “searchable”. If you open one of the files there will be an icon near the upper left corner that resembles a piece of blue ribbon. Clicking on this will display the list of bookmarks and clicking on any of the bookmarks will take you to the relevant page in the file. In Mozilla Firefox, to search the document, go to the "edit" tab and then select "find" (the search box will likely be in the bottom left of your screen). Then type in an appropriate word in the blue box near the upper right hand corner and then click on "next". If the word exists in the file, you will be taken to the first instance of it.

      Section 1 - Club History, Part 1 (1903 - 1970)

      This part of the story begins with the arrival of the first Europeans to what is now English Bay in 1791; continues through the formation of the Vancouver Yacht Club; through two World Wars and concludes in 1970, by which time Royal Vancouver Yacht Club had grown to include about 1800 members, including a strong Junior contingent, an excellent club house, two home port marinas and two offshore stations.

      Section 2 - History, Part 2 (1971 - 1985)
      This part picks up our story in the year 1971 and carries through to 1985. In those fifteen years, the Club had grown from what had been considered a near-capacity 1800 members to nearer 3000. The number of offshore stations had increased from two to five. The Jericho Clubhouse had undergone a major renovation and upgrade. Sailing and power boat activities had increased. The Vic-Maui Race had become firmly established. The Commodore’s Cup Regatta was established in 1985 and we appeared likely to be sending our sailors to the Olympics for the first time in over twenty years. The Club was becoming a significant force within the regional and world yachting fraternity.

      Section 3 - Racing
      This section includes information drawn from all three volumes and so, information in this section is not as consistently presented as in the “History” sections. Cruising by sail and power are covered in this section and there is some information on predicted log racing. Much of the section is devoted to accounts of particular events or classes, such as Vic-Maui or the Dragon Class.

      Section 4 - Yachts
      This section also includes information drawn from all three volumes and so information in this section is inconsistently presented. The contents of this section are drawn from four chapters of the 1903-1965 Annals, one chapter of the supplement and two chapters of the 1971-1985 Annals. Most of the information is presented in what one would consider a reasonable format for doing so but the information from Chapter 3 of the 1971-1985 Annals is very odd. This list combines sail and power vessels alphabetically, names the type of vessel and lists the years in which the respective names appeared in Yearbooks, without reference to who owned the vessels. Most curious…

      Section 5 - Members (accessible to logged in members only)
      This section is compiled from two chapters of the 1903-1965 Annals and one from the 1971-1985 Annals. From the earlier volume we have presentations on Junior Members and Honorary Life Members. From the later volume we have what was essentially a membership list from the year 1985, except that Affiliate Spouses are included in the list, despite that they are not, and never were, Members for the purposes of the Society Act and are named separately in the Yearbooks of the day.

      Section 6 - Miscellaneous
      There is not much to say about this section. It comprises part of three chapters from the annals relating to our participation in other yachting organizations. The fourth, and by far the major, part of this section includes the 206 pages related to our trophies. Because of idiosyncrasies in the manner of indexing trophies, searching this part of the archive can be awkward.

  • Nautical Library
    • The Nautical Library was set up as a service to members to enjoy books by yachters for yachters across a wide array of subject matter. The Library is located on the Parkade Level, in the corridor leading to the lift. A comfortable chair donated by the WRVYC is always ready to offer a place for members to peruse a selection or two.

      Click here for the full INVENTORY of our nautical library (UPDATED PDF file from May 2016)

      Depending on your browser, press Ctrl + F to open a search window.

      For your convenience, here are the categories that can assist in narrowing down your search. We are happy to advise we now also have popular fiction and non-fiction books in our inventory. 

      2.0 Biography & Autobiography
      4.0 Boatbuilding & Maintenance
      4.1 Boat Design
      4.2 Mechanicals
      4.3 History
      5.0 Sails & Sailing
      6.0 Clubs
      6.1 Yacht Clubs
      6.2 Cruising Clubs
      8.0 Cruising
      8.1 History
      8.2 Boat Design & Operation
      8.3 Coastal
      8.4 Offshore
      10.0 History
      10.1 Shipwrecks
      10.2 Discovery
      10.3 Navy
      10.4 West Coast
      10.5 Narratives
      10.6 Oceans
      12.0 Maritime Novels & Historical Fiction
      14.0 Navigation
      14.1 Weather
      14.2 Celestial
      14.3 Piloting
      16.0 Power Boats
      18.0 Sail Racing
      18.1 History
      18.2 Boat Handling/Tactics/Rules
      18.3 Dinghy/Keelboat
      18.4 Offshore
      18.5 Pictoral
      18.6 America's Cup
      20.0 Seamanship
      20.1 Seamen
      22.0 Ships & Yachts
      22.1 Workboats
      24.0 Travel 
      26.0 Medical 
      28.0 Marine Art
      28.1 Photography
      28.2 Painting

  • History Committee
    • Royal Vancouver Yacht Club’s History Committee is a small group of volunteers dedicated to preserving the heritage of our Club. A major part of the collection can be seen on the walls of the Jericho Clubhouse, the Mermaid Inn and our outstations. Photos, paintings, ship models, half models and marine artifacts such as the very rare folio page of our coast as surveyed by Captain Vancouver, enhance the beauty of our Club’s main station and outstations. Most of the collection has been donated by Club members.

      Much of this material has now become available to members. We have digitised in excess of 1,000 photos and some of these even date back to the early 1900s. We are working on making them searchable on this website as well.

      We also produce articles for the Seabreeze that (we hope) will be of interest to members. In addition, we have an extensive library (located on the parking level) that is available to members and is searchable on the website.

      Interested in being involved? Email historian@royalvan.com.

      History Committee Members for 2020

      PC Patrick Oswald
      Ray Parsons
      PC Guy Walters
      David Williams
      PC Howard Bradbrooke (Chair)

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