Lavallette Yacht Club

Founded in 1904, Lavallette Yacht Club is situated on Swan Point, an ideal sailing location on Barnegat Bay. LYC is host to both large and small regattas for adults and juniors alike, including the Wayne Barr Gaff Rig Regatta.

Stories from Lavallette Yacht Club

Formally organized at a meeting in the quarters of the R to R (Road to Ruin) Club on the evening of August 13, 1904, the Club ranks as Lavallette’s second oldest institution, antedated only by the Union Church. Parenthetically, it should be noted that there was no formal link between the R to R Club and the Yacht Club. The R to R was a weekend and vacation retreat for members and guests –who were noted for their lively pursuit of fun. They were however, instrumental in the founding of the Yacht Club and providing leadership, financial support, and business and legal expertise during the early years.

By July of 1905 the Clubhouse was ready for occupancy. The two-story structure consisted of four first-floor rooms-those now know as the Commodores’ Room, the Snack Bar, and the two Juniors’ Rooms-topped by a single, open room that remains little changed today. There was a first floor porch, barely level with its sandy surroundings.

Just why the beachfront location was chosen must remain a matter of speculation; the early log-keepers did not go into detail on this point. Clearly the intention of those at the initial meeting was to build on the bay front. At a meeting of the Trustees the following March, however, sentiment in favor of the oceanfront site prevailed.

Two possible reasons suggest themselves: One, the bay front was not a particularly appealing place. It was marshland, mosquito-infested and more hospitable to its sizeable population of snakes and muskrats that to humans. The Bay Boulevard was a one-block stretch of road from Reese Avenue to President Avenue that was frequently more bay than boulevard. And then, as now, it was often hot and humid when the beachfront was pleasantly cool. Two, Lavallette’s need for a yacht club might be questioned, but there was no doubt it needed a center for community activities and entertainment. There was no school, no town hall, the struggling church was housing the municipal offices, and the R to R as yet had no home of its own. Residents of the fledging resort could not look to neighboring towns for diversion; the only link was the railroad, and it would be another seven years before a gravel road made its way from Bay Head to Seaside Park. If the Yacht Club was to serve as a social center, the beachfront would be the better site. During its decade on the beach and for so long thereafter as was needed, the Club performed this function admirably. It provided the town with dances, dinners, and entertainments throughout the summer season; housed meetings of all types; and for at least one summer was the home of the Sunday School classes of the church.

Lavallette Yacht Club is proud to become a Founding Member of the National Sailing Hall of Fame. Lavallette Yacht Club’s members and Board of Governors enthusiastically support the efforts to preserve America’s sailing legacy; we look forward to visiting [the museum] to honor our sport’s greatest sailors. Founded in 1904, LYC has a rich sailing history; we have hosted many regional, national, and international championship regattas. LYC continues to thrive, boasting a large and vibrant junior sailing program. Many of our junior and adult sailors are accomplished champions, not only in our local Barnegat Bay Yacht Racing Association but also across the United States and Canada.

William E. Scheyer