SBYC History

The Commodores Reminisce

In case you missed it at the Commodore's Ball, here is a video put together by Charleen Hubbell asking each commodore to tell us about what they remember most when they were commodore at SBYC. Enjoy!


1893, July 4 - Earliest record of handicap racing by a group of Sodus Point cottage owners.

1893, Fall - Sodus Bay Yacht Club formally organized at a site where Krenzer’s Marina now stands.  A.C. Bartle was the first Commodore. Membership was not limited to owners of boats.

1895, August 9 - The Sodus Bay Yacht Club is incorporated as a not-for-profit organization with the primary objectives “to promote and encourage interests in yachts and yachting, to encourage the traditions of yachting, to provide and maintain a suitable clubhouse and facilities for the use and recreation of its members…”


1900 - Original clubhouse and docks were completed at the cost of $2,200, supervised by Commodore Meade and the trustees.

1904 - Miss Rose Williams, racing a Lark, became the first woman in central New York to win a yacht race, crossing he finish line twice in first place, picking a silver cup in the James Holmes race, and tied for third prize overall for the season.

1905 - “Ladies” over the age of 21 were allowed to join the Club as Associate Members upon paying $2.00 in dues.

1907 - SBYC’s application to join the Lake Yacht Racing Association (LYRA) was accepted.

1913 - SBYC recognized by the local community as a major tourist attraction. A promotional piece provides the following quote “Visitors are cordially welcomed to the spacious club home of the Sodus Bay Yacht Club on the south shore of Sand Point. This organization is largely drawn from western New York. The club house is a rendezvous for the members and their families from all points of the Bay.

A commodious dancing pavilion, greatly enjoyed by the members, has been a recent addition.”

1920-1935 - The ailing economy resulting from WWI leads to foreclosure on Clubhouse and property.  While there were no facilities, the Club continued and the membership grew from 5 to 39. In 1935, a group of members formed the Sodus Bay Realty Corporation and purchased the Clubhouse and property back from the State. The Corporation then leased the facilities back to the Club.

1922 - Club was forced to give up LYRA affiliation due to drop in membership.

1924 - LYRA event held at SBYC under the flag of the Rochester Yacht Club. Over 100 boats participated.

1934 - C.P.H. Vary, who served as Secretary-Treasurer from 1926-1942, was the first SBYC membership to be given an Honorary Life Membership.

1934 - SBYC joined the Central New York Yacht Racing Association.

1935 - The “Robin”; class was introduced. Designed by Benjamin Wood of Sodus, NY. The fleet grew to 19.  SBYC joined the North American Yacht Racing Union.

1938 - SBYC was accepted back into LYRA as a full member.

1958 - Total membership (all categories) grows to 150.

1959 - The 75th LYRA event was held at SBYC; this was the third LYRA held on Sodus Bay. SBYC took on a carnival atmosphere for the event with at least 70 boats moored in the harbor.


1964 &1969 - SBYC hosts the start of the Freeman Cup Long Distance Race which is prelude to LYRA course racing.

1976 - SBYC hosts the LYRA Regatta. The Freeman Cup Long Distance race finished at the entrance to the Bay and two days of course racing followed.

1981 & 1985 - SBYC hosts the start of the Freeman Cup Long Distance Race which is prelude to LYRA course racing.

1986 - Clubhouse undergoes a major renovation; enlarging the bar area and improving bathroom facilities.

1991 - The Challenge Cup Regatta drew a record 45 boats, including 20 J/24s. Stuart Needel on FALCON became the first SBYC sailor to win the Freeman Cup Long Distance race.

1991-1992 - The East Floating Dock System was constructed and installed using member labor. This addition provided 16 new docks for use by the membership.

1993 - SBYC celebrated its Centennial Year. Events included a Winter Ball at Oak Hill Country Club, an Antique Boat Show, and a Centennial Match Race Regatta won by John Swartz on Sea Witch. An additional highlight was SBYC’s hosting of the LYRA Regatta for the 8th time.

1994 - District (7)  J-24 Championships held at SBYC.  The Club installs a small boat hoist to accommodate a growing number of small boat sailors.

1995 - CNYYRA (Central New York Yacht Racing Association) held its annual regatta at SBYC. At the same time SBYC was host to the J/24 District Championship. In all over 110 boats participated.

1996, July - SBYC hosts the 8 Metre World Championship

1997 - Through the efforts of Past Commodores Bud Seymour and George Sibley, the Club purchased the boathouse and property directly to the north of the Club. This property was owned by Heidi & Eugene Van Voorhis members of both Rochester and Sodus Bay Yacht Clubs. Upon Heidi’s death and Eugene’s sale of their property on Newark Island, there was no longer a need for the property.

1998 - At the Eastern Yachting Circuit (EYC) meeting in Kingston, Fleet Captain Mike Foley and Rear Commodore Tom Knapp bid to host the Annual EYC regatta at SBYC in 1999.

1999 - The Eastern Yachting Circuit Regatta was held and included a long distance race from Oswego Yacht Club to Sodus Point and three course races.  Eric Will and his crew aboard Bushwacker won the Soverel 33 North American Championship.


2000, Spring - Sixteen new floating docks were installed. The project under the direction of Past Commodore Jim Lyles and directed by Docks and Moorings Director, Jim Adolf, was begun in early 1999 and finished in early spring when several “work days” were scheduled to assembled the docks. All 16 slips had been rented during the previous winter so many in the work party were slip holders anxious for their new dock to be in the water.

2000, July - SBYC hosted the prestigious LYRA Regatta for the 9th time. Under the capable leadership of Ed St. George, Past Commodore Chuck Willette as Regatta Race Officer, and a group of dedicated volunteers, the event was a resounding success. From July 31st to August 6th over 125 boats from around the lake participated in this exciting event. For the first time, the Regatta was linked with the Western New York Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The event became known as the Leukemia Cup Regatta and approximately $15,000 was raised toward the life saving work of that organization.

2001 - The Clubhouse kitchen underwent a major renovation. Workspace was more than doubled, hot water tanks were upgraded for the kitchen and the bathrooms and an office was created for the Club Manager.  Erik Will and the crew of Bushwacker successfully defended their Soverel 33 North American Championship at Larchmont Yacht Club, placing first in four of the seven races.

2002 - The Club purchased the Compson cottage and property directly north of the boathouse property. Past Commodore Ed St. George is awarded the Lake Yacht Racing Association’s highest award “THE Blake Van Winckle Memorial Award” for service to the more than 50 yacht clubs in the association. LYRA founded in 1893 is the oldest association of racing yacht clubs on the continent.  

2003 - All of the property north of the Clubhouse including the garage, the boathouse and the Compson cottage were torn down making the area available for future club expansion.

2004 - Through collaboration with Skip Shumway, the club acquired four IDEAL 18 sailboats for member use.  The property north of the club was modified with a dock for the boats and a work shed to act as a base for the new “SBYC Small Boat Program”.  Tom Knapp ran the program, which included one design club racing as well as open sailing, to rave reviews from club members.  Through the efforts of Bob Wood and a dedicated group of volunteers, a working Officer of the Day program was established and successfully operated over the entire summer.  The highlight of the social scene took place on Labor Day Weekend when Rochester Yacht Club joined us in a three-day Pirate’s Weekend complete with costumes, great food, music, a pirate’s invasion and movies on the lawn in the evening.

2005 - The Small Boat Program continued to be popular with the membership with David Drushler and his wife Nathalie LaRochelle at the helm.  After 20 years of Rochester YC wins, the SBYC racers were finally able to bring home the Challenge Cup to the clubhouse, winning it back by a slim 1 point margin.  Pete and Leigh Quackenbush and the crew on Moongator won the Best in Fleet trophy at the LYRA Regatta in Youngstown.  The season was blessed with good weather and, along with the Lighthouse Race, we saw the return of another favorite “fun race” – the “Bang and Go”.  Water balloons and cannons, along with buckets abounded!  At the Annual Meeting, Ed St George was recognized with Life membership for his many years of service to the club and yachting in general on Lake Ontario.

2006 - SBYC hosted both LYRA and the North American 8 Meter Regatta.  SBYC also hosted Sodus Bay Junior Sailing Association’s 50th Anniversary.  And SBYC had 10 new members in 2006.

2007 - The Ideal 18’s were purchased and continue to club assets, making the club more attractive to new members.  SBYC hosted the EYC as well as the Challenge Cup, while SBYC and SBJSA partnered to host a Laser/Optima regatta.  SBYC member and LYRA President MIke Foley is awarded the Lake Yacht Racing Association’s highest award “THE Blake Van Winckle Memorial Award” for service to the more than 50 yacht clubs in the association. LYRA founded in 1893 is the oldest association of racing yacht clubs on the continent. 

2008 - SBYC hosted a very successful Centrals Regatta and Challenge Cup. We resolved our property tax assessment issue with the town saving us money. The SBJSA completed their new Educational Building which includes handicapped showers and restrooms that can be used by SBYC

2009 - In addition to our normal racing and social events, SBYC hosted the North American Lightning Championship Regatta for ten days in August. It was an amazing event to host with excellent participation from our membership and to watch as the Women’s, Junior’s and Master’s Lightning racers from all over North America raced on Lake Ontario. A special thank you goes to Tom Knapp, Alys Klingenberg and Ed St. George for Co-Chairing this event. With the purchase of the south end of Irwin Street, and after much planning, the north side of our property under went a much needed facelift with a new walkway and landscaping. The house roof was finally repaired after many years of dripping rainwater in the bar and kitchen. Thank you to Dave Parker and his committee for these two major renovations.

2010 - The renovation to the front wall and East Basin saw all of the old concrete removed and new rock filler added before new concrete was poured.  The new water and electrical lines were embedded into the new concrete and new power and light towers are being installed which will complete the project.  A great turnout of volunteers made this project a success.  The Annual Challenge Cup Regatta saw 31 boats of all sizes participating in the two-day event.  A round of applause goes to Fleet Captain Mike Thurley with help from Rear Commodore Pete Quackenbush for planning such a successful regatta.  SBYC and SBJSA also hosted the Centrals Regatta for small boats with 68 boats competing during the regatta.

2011 - A good year for the House financially and in participation, as private parties and member special events (Lobster Fest, Pig Roast, Clambake, Cuban Night) boosted attendance. SBYC Challenge Cup racers were successful in winning back the Challenge Cup trophy for SBYC.Ideal 18 participation was high, culminating in a well-attended and spirited Ideal 18 “Poker-Run” Fun Race. The adjacent Pier Point property was purchased by SBJSA. An easement will be given to SBYC to construct a much needed wave break system on the newly purchased property.  Plans for an Adult Learn to Sail Program beginning in 2012 were initiated. 

2013 - It was another good year at the club. Financially it was a little tough with membership down a little and a few open docks. SBYC again hosted the Centrals small boat regatta with SBJSA. We again hosted the Cup and brought the trophy back to SBYC. A great day of successful racing. Major repairs were completed on the cooler/freezer refrigeration system thanks to Tom Thurston. SBYC had a presence at the Syracuse boat show pursuing future members. The adult learn to sail program initiated in 2012 was again a huge success in 2013. 

2014​ - The year was a home run with the implementation of the New Member Program authored by Larry Monheim and Dave Parker, with 82 new members signed onto the plan. SBYC bid for, and was awarded, the 2015 LYRA Annual Regatta and the 2016 Eastern Yacht Circuit Regatta. We hosted, and defended, our annual Challenge Cup Regatta, and hosted the Shark’s Multi Hull National Regatta. Close cooperation with the Sodus Bay Junior Sailing Association has begun long term planning on synergies between the two organizations and adjacent properties to become a strategic location for competitive sailing on the south shore of Lake Ontario. This cooperation also saw the beginning of a program with Rochester Institute of Technology’s Collegiate Sailing Program and we again co-hosted the Centrals Regatta with SBJSA. An improved financial outlook allowed the club to implement a new point-of-sale system in the clubhouse, dining room and bar, and allowed us to purchase the first sections of a new wave suppression system as part of our long range planning.

2015 ​- The attraction of competitive racing at the club has paid some dividends with a successful and profitable LYRA Annual Regatta. Additionally, we attracted the attention of Canada and have been named Challenger of Record, for the US Trials, for a Modern 8 Meter to compete for the Canada’s Cup at Royal Canadian Yacht Club in 2016.  The first section of the Wave Attenuator was launched for testing this fall by the Long Range Planning Committee. The new member program continues to provide the expected boost to membership in its second year as well as providing the excess activity and support to the financials.  The facility footprint with SBJSA continues to make for a location that may be unparalleled on Lake Ontario as a regatta and racing event venue. 

2016​ - Another exciting year for the club.  In addition to our regular racing schedule, we successfully hosted the Annual EYC Regatta, as well as the Challenger Series for the 2016 Canada’s Cup. We had many wonderful social events, and business at the bar and Dining room was up. The new member program has continued its success, bringing many new faces to the club.  On the docks, we replaced the light towers on the west floaters with towers to match those on the front wall, replaced the worn-out swim ladders and saw the positive effects of the new wave attenuator.  In the clubhouse, the Men’s room remodel was completed, and we bought a new oven for the kitchen.  Our most prominent project was the new roof that was put on the dining room, as well as putting new windows and siding on the second floor of the clubhouse.  

2017​ - A year to remember.  High water and flooding dominated much of our season.  Several early season events had to be cancelled or rescheduled, including Sail Pass (cancelled), the Annual Challenge Cup Regatta (cancelled)  and the Commodores’ Ball (pushed back to July).  The entire spring racing series was washed out.  Through the efforts of many imaginative folks, we were able to finally get the docks launched by late June, and started to see boats occupying them by the Fourth of July.  Moreover, the can-do spirit of our members was evident throughout, and we were able to salvage much of the season.  Revenue was down for the year, but expenses were kept in check and we were able to get through the year without a deficit.  We are looking forward to 2018 and our 125th Anniversary!

2020 - Just when you thought high water was the worst thing to happen, then Covid-19 comes along.

Memory Lane 2022

Sail For Hospice Regatta 2022

This summer, our Sail for Hospice Regatta also counted as the first day of racing for the annual SBYC Challenge Cup two day club regatta. It was a hot light breezy day and everyone had a great time on Lake Ontario! Two of the 8 metres were on the line and they were distractingly beautiful to watch.

Learn More about this event here.

Challenge Cup 2022

Sodus Bay Yacht Club hosted the 2022 Challenge Cup Regatta.  It was a weekend of lighter winds and flat water. The regatta included 27 boats in four divisions. Everyone got a lot of sun, enjoyed great music by the Baby Boomers, and feasted on great food. 

Learn More about this event here.

LYRA 2022 / 8 Metre North Americans

A huge congratulations to Bob Carey and his committee for organizing a very successful LYRA Regatta.  52 boats registered with approximately 260 or more racers. Add race committee, support people, volunteers, non-racing members enjoying the club and the activities, we saw about 350-400 people at the Club! We'd also like to acknowledge and thank the sponsors for this year's LYRA regatta.

Learn More about this event here.

J/24 Regatta 2022

Sodus Bay Yacht Club hosted the 2022 J/24 Regatta.  It was a weekend of variable winds winds. The racers saw it all. The regatta included a total of seven races over the two days. All in attendance got a lot of sun, and enjoyed great food and company. Thank you to Pat and Shelli Fitzsimmons for hosting the bagel breakfast before each start of the day of racing.  

Learn More about this event here.

Antique Boat Show 2022

A wonderful event open to the public included more than 20 antique boats both in the water and on the hard. Thanks to Dave Williamson and all the volunteers who made this event a great success, not only for SBYC but also for the community. Despite the quick downpour mid-event, the sun came out and spectators could view the boats along with a card indicating information about the boat year, model and owner.