Nanaimo Yacht Club History

After several false starts dating as far back as the late 1800s, the Nanaimo Yacht Club was finally formed officially in the summer of 1931. The first meeting was held in the waiting room of a funeral parlour!  It was decided to rent Anderson’s Boat House in Commercial Inlet for a clubhouse, approximately where the Port Theatre is now located. The principal activity of the time was power boat racing. The first club regatta was held on July 1, 1931.

A year later the club held an International Outboard Regatta which gave it an incentive to expand. In May 1932 the site of the present yacht club was obtained and arrangements made to build some docks. This meant that the members had do clear the embankment, bring in piling and lumber, a pile driver was hired, and all the work to build the docks was done by members. Everything was ready up for the boats to arrive at the end of the race on July 22 when boats finished the long grind from Olympia.

The same year work started on the foundations for a clubhouse. An old building was donated, torn down, and the lumber hauled to the club site. It was financed through $5 non-interest bearing shares, to be bought or paid for by labour on the building of the clubhouse at a rate of 30 cents/hour.  This tradition of member participation in the maintenance of the club facilities continues to this day, and is a key part of the success of the club.

With the completion of the clubhouse in 1934, social and racing activities attracted an increasing number of members. Over the years dock facilities were expanded and breakwaters installed. A Ladies Auxiliary was formed and was very active until 1996 when full spousal membership was adopted. Sailing gradually became a more significant part of club activities with the establishment of charters for the comet fleet in 1945, the Sabot fleet in 1964 and the Thunderbird fleet in 1971.

The first covered moorage was built in 1967, and more docks and sheds were added in 1969. The LOGLINE monthly newsletter was started in 1964, and the publication of the annual Yearbook was begun in 1965. The first Christmas Lights cruise was held in 1972.

In 1976/7 the present clubhouse was built and in 1988 the gatehouse was added, along with the promenade walkway and landscaping. The last major expansion occurred in 1996 with the addition of new moorage spaces to bring the total number of boats accommodated up to 370. In 2012 some rearrangement of the moorage spaces will provide more moorage for the larger boats which are becoming more abundant in the club.