Brief History of False Creek Yacht Club

 

It all began when some boaters, gathered at the Marina near the old Connaught Bridge, decided to form a Yacht Club. The idea was for a new Club near the city heart which, besides traditional boating activities, would offer an exciting social and recreational environment unique in the Downtown/False Creek core. The interest shown in early 1981 plus a mail-out to boaters and landlubbers, resulted in the birth of FCYC.

Founding Members then elected a slate of officers with Barb Carstenson as Acting Commodore, and in September at the first General Meeting she was made full Commodore. False Creek Yacht Club was incorporated under the B. C. Societies Act June 4th, 1981. The Constitution Committee under Derek Hopkins documented the bylaws, incorporating the best ideas of other clubs consistent with our purposes “to own, manage and operate an internationally accredited Yacht Club; encourage and develop seamanship, general boating knowledge and navigation skill among yachtsmen, and to promote the cruising waters of BC.”

A General Meeting at Robson Centre, August 23rd, 1982 gave approval to the Board to buy a barge on which to build a Clubhouse. Funding was raised and TANTOR bought with hopes of having a floating Clubhouse moored in the Creek in winter and towed to a Gulf Island site as a summer outstation. It did not turn out quite that way for a variety of reasons, mainly the coming of Expo. The marina had to go when the land was expropriated by BC Place, and the barge moored up the Fraser river.

1983 saw the adoption of a Club burgee; we had several social events, our 1st Sailpast was directed by Fleet Captain Harry Fronczek. At the 2nd AGM in September 1983 at Robson Centre, Murray Napier became Commodore.

1984 was an active year: prospects of obtaining a land site were more favourable and actively pursued. Negotiations to achieve this went on many hours; plans were unveiled for a three-story Clubhouse. Our 2nd Sailpast and barbecue were held at the old False Creek Marina. Two of our members crewed in the Victoria to Maui race, Denis Cressey aboard Zamazaan and Murray Napier of Whistlewind. At the 3rd AGM on October 10th, 1984, members approved the sale of TANTOR and reallocation of Tantor funds to the FCYC building Fund to prepare for building at the new site. Bob Logan was elected Commodore at this meeting.

On February 23rd, 1985, it was announced that we had leased Lots 141 and 142 (now Lot 161). We searched for a tenant for the lower floors, and discussed plans to finance the project. The Cresseys presented three Alpha dinghies to the Club in March. Negotiations still went on at BC Place relating to the site. Successful cruises were held, the 3rd Annual Sailpast was directed by Ian Dowdswell, and some of our sailors carried the Burgee to the Swiftsure Classic Races. Plans moved on for a Club building to John Sproule’s design. Membership now 167. At the 4th AGM on November 20th Bob Logan was again elected Commodore.

1986 Expo Year, a wonderful Exhibition, total confusion in the Creek due to tremendous tourist traffic, ferries, visiting boats, etc. A year to be remembered by all those who frequented the Creek area. FCYC site finally approved by BC Place. Many Club events took place, the Alphas used more often. Sailpast and barbecue a great success. The Labour Day cruise to Thetis Island brought out 25 boats, 75 people who enjoyed the races, barbecues and lots of fun. November 1st TANTOR was sold. BC Place indicated final signing of lease imminent. Professionals now engaged by Board to increase memberships. 5th AGM held November 20th, when Bob Logan relinquished the gavel of authority to Stan Wilson.

1987 saw much activity re the new Club building. Andersons Restaurants as prospective tenants for lower floors, to prepay a 65-year lease so design of building was to be their choice. Drawings submitted by Bing Thom Architects and model presented March 2nd, 1987. Changes requested but design accepted and necessary Permits acquired. Granville Slopes Marina operation taken over by FCYC in April. Sailpast on May 10th. The highlight was when Hon. Grace McCarthy and Mayor Gordon Campbell officiated at groundbreaking ceremony on building site. Reciprocal privileges established with several US and Overseas Yacht Clubs. The 6th AGM held November 18th, 1987. Stan Wilson was re-elected Commodore. By mid-December Development Permits were in place, tenders prepared, pile driving slated for January, with construction to commence in spring.

In 1988 the Newsletter took on new dimensions, renamed Shore Lines and was published more frequently. A Club Crest was chosen by competition. 34 boaters paid homage to Acting Commodore Neil Byers at the 6th Sailpast. A number of super cruises were enjoyed by all who took part. After a good start the pile-drivers net problems reaching bedrock and doubled drilling depths before finding solid bottom. Savage & Johnson won the new building contract; an FCYC members attended construction site meetings, assisting in many site decisions. Steelwork rose quickly and it was soon evident how the new building would look. Andersons were now looking for restaurant completion by May 1989. Membership reached 345, and at the AGM held November 23rd, 1988, Peter Sears took the helm as Commodore.

Early 1989, an active Building Committee prepared tenders for the 3rd floor, a design was chosen, contracts placed with Gothic Construction, and the Board approved a budget covering construction and furnishing. A time-analysis chart was prepared and work began July 4th. A variety of interesting cruises took place, enjoyed by many members and guests. Work on the 3rd floor went ahead quickly. An appeal for donations had a good response. Andersons Restaurant finally opened August 10th. Big efforts to complete the Club for November 20th, 1989 proved impossible, so back to the Media Centre, perhaps for the last time, for the AGM, where Denis Cressey was elected Commodore.

With membership at 410, the lounge was first used December 1989 for a Christmas Party, the Red and Blue Dance, and other social events, all leading up to that great day May 5th, 1990 when the Grand Opening was officially celebrated; Scottish Dancers, Mrs. Grace McCarthy to cut the ribbon, and Naval pipers to pipe aboard many members and celebrities. This was followed by the Annual Sailpast on May 6th, with the largest number of participants to date, and since then an increasing number of special events have been organized in the Club lounge by our various committees. Already the ambiance and fellowship in the Club have been enjoyed by a great many members, their friends, and visitors.