HISTORY

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The Avalon Yacht Club was formed as a result of a group of men looking for a place “to sit down and have a drink” and “take our wives to dance”. This group of the old “Casino Club” members raised funds from their friends and then pleaded their case for a “spot of land” to officials of the Borough of Avalon. In 1941, the Borough agreed to sell them the current location—7th Street and the Bay—which at that time was the community dump!

The official dedication was held on Monday, May 30, 1942. Even though the war was on and gas rationing made getting to the club difficult, the members found innovative ways. The younger set walked and a hay wagon would pick up the older members at various spots on 2nd Ave (now Dune Drive) and drop them off at 7th Street and 3rd Ave. From there, the members walked a long, narrow path strung only with dim lights, due to the war, to get to the Club. The hay wagon proved the best way for all to navigate the homeward trip! The camaraderie progressed so greatly that by the late 1940’s we had approximately 70 Proprietary members, 120 Annual members, and 50 Junior members!

Sailing has always been a large part of Avalon Yacht Club. In that first summer of 1942, five interclub regattas were held, the first being with Sea Isle City. AYC then joined the South Jersey Yacht Racing Association which included clubs from Absecon, Ocean City, Sea Isle City, Stone Harbor and Wildwood. By 1951 the swimming and sailing program began to flourish. Avalon Yacht Club hosted its first South Jersey Championship regatta and in 1952 our own Ed Palmer was the State Moth Champion! The enrollment grew from six sailors to over forty by 1956. In 1958, Youth Directors were hired to supervise the ever growing numbers of sailors and junior members. To this day, our program is one of the best in South Jersey with Avalon Yacht Club actively participating in weekly intraclub races and MAYRA regattas for 420s, Lasers, Sunfish and Optis.

Our club officially opens on Memorial Day weekend when we combine the observance of Memorial Day and the ceremony of the beginning of our season. Our Past Commodores and current Flag Officers as well as the Board of Trustees, local clergy, and our Mayor participate in this annual event. Join us this year to watch this important and moving tradition of our Club!

As Historian of AYC, I am always looking for items that illustrate the history of AYC. Any donations of documents, photos, significant letters, news articles, or item of “historic interest” is greatly appreciated. If you have an item that is significant and/or unique and you are willing to donate it, please contact me at historian@avalonyachtclub.com

 

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