|Indian Harbor member George Lauder's queen of the club's fleet for many years, Windward.
Photo credit: Mystic Seaport Museum
Indian Harbor Yacht Club was founded in 1889 by dedicated sailors intent on being part of the thriving sailing community on Long Island Sound. The club's mission was 'to encourage and foster the sport of yachting, the art of yacht design and construction and the science of seamanship and navigation'. That mission holds true today as our members continue to excel on the race course, embrace the pleasures of cruising and enjoy the camaraderie of fellow members.
Over the years, our members have contributed to the establishment of national organizations that have defined the sport. These include NAYRU, which we know today as US Sailing, the US Power Squadron, the Yacht Racing Union of Long Island Sound and The American Power Boating Association. They have also participated in America’s Cup Syndicates and have organized international regattas for one-design classes, ocean races, and US Youth Championships.
The current clubhouse was designed in 1919 by noted American architect Henry Pelton and completed by the Charles Wills Construction Company in 1920 to replace the original shingle-style building which was lost in a fire. Both men were club members and while Pelton is best known for designing the Riverside Cathedral in New York, Commodore Wills' firm built buildings such as the University Club and the New York Stock Exchange. This same clubhouse, with sweeping views of Captain's Harbor, is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Since 1890 our members have excelled in sailing at all levels, including fleet racing, one-design racing, and ocean racing. Our members have won the Transatlantic Race, the Fastnet Race, and the Southern Ocean Racing Circuit. They have entered over 300 boats in the Newport to Bermuda Race since its inception and they have been overall winners four times. They have also won the American Power Boat Championships four times. In addition, our Junior Sailing Program, founded by Commodores Robert Law and Clifford Mallory in 1924, continues to encourage young mariners to develop skills that will encourage a life-long appreciation of the water.
As Indian Harbor Yacht Club continues a second century of sailing, we are proud to be a founding member of the National Sailing Hall of Fame. We also look forward to continuing to excel in our mission and to contribute to the future success of local and international sailing and seamanship.
To celebrate the club's 125th anniversary, noted author John Rousmaniere wrote a richly illustrated, and comprehensive, account Indian Harbor Yacht Club, A History, 1889-2014. Copies are available for purchase at the club's front desk.
For questions on club history, please contact Shelia Plaisance Graves our Club Historian.