Calhoun Yacht Club: More Than A Century of City Sailing
The Calhoun Yacht Club was organized by eighteen charter members on August 10, 1901. The purpose of the club was to promote yacht racing, iceboating, canoe racing, tennis and social events.
By the end of that first year, the club had eighty-five members, and was incorporated under the laws of the state. Club headquarters were situated in the Long Meadow Hotel, located on the north shore and west of where the Lake Street bridge is now.
Sailboats were gathered and organized into the early fleet of 25 boats which consisted of an Open Class, Swallows, Snipe and National Class boats. At this time, the longstanding C Class sailboats had not yet been designed.
The Open Class races were sailed on a handicap basis, time-allowance basis calculated using sail area and waterline measurements.
In order to participate in sailing during the winter months, 30 hearty sailors formed the first iceboat fleet on Lake Calhoun. As during the summer months, races were held on both Saturday and Sunday. A runner-mounted warming house was pushed out on the Lake Calhoun ice for the participants.
Around this period of time, double tennis courts were built on Knox Avenue and 31st. Street for club competitions and open tournaments.
Several classes raced over the years, including the famous 32-foot B-Boats which were early one-design yachts, and appeared in 1903. In 1911, as part of the celebration for the creation of the chain of lakes, CYC hosted the first Trilakes Regatta between MYC, WBYC and CYC.
The Calhoun Yacht Club raced 28-foot E-boat scows until the late 1960’s, along with 20-foot C Scows and D Scows, 17-foot X Boats 16-foot M-16 Scows. The still active C Scow fleet began racing on Lake Calhoun in about 1924.
Due to the popularity of sailing and an interest in serving the community, several CYC members formed the Lake Calhoun Sailing School, which now serves as a highly organized sailing camp and also introduces young sailors to competitive yacht racing. The school fosters and teaches responsibility, team spirit and individual development engendered through safety-conscious sailing activities to over 1000 students yearly.
Currently the Calhoun Yacht Club operates out of the Sailors’ Boathouse on the east shore of the lake, located close to the main dock in the northeast corner of Lake Calhoun. The fleets are comprised of C, Laser, 420, Optimist Pram and Keelboat Classes. The club meets for races Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m., Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. and Sundays at 10:30 a.m.
CYC hosted the annual Aquatennial Regatta beginning in 1941, along with several other annual regattas on Lake Calhoun, inviting sailors from area lakes to bring their boats ranging from RC sailboats to 20-foot C’s.
Calhoun Yacht Club is a member of the Inland Lake Yachting Association, the United States Yacht Racing Union, the U.S. Laser Sailing Association and Inter-Lake Yachting Association.
Camaraderie and social events are a main feature of the CYC schedule all summer, welcoming all persons interested in sailing and competitive sailing events.
For more about the history of CYC see the Minnesota Reflections web site.