The Royal Newfoundland Yacht Club (RNYC) is located in Long Pond, Conception Bay South, Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Pond is protected by a barachois, a natural sandbar that serves to shelter this idyllic marina from the waters of Conception Bay and that of the Atlantic Ocean.
The RNYC began its rich history as the Avalon Yacht Club. Founded in 1936, the story goes that Arthur and Marjorie Johnson took Max Barbour canoeing at Long Pond, as they wanted to show Barbour the sheltered haven that was the Long Pond area. According to Arthur, Barbour set his sights on starting a yacht club not long after.
In 1960, amid a series of issues including a clubhouse burning down and the dredging of the inner pond and channel, the Avalon Yacht Club amalgamated with the nearby Newfoundland Yacht Club, which is still the site of the club to this day.
“They came to an agreement and combined both clubs in the Newfoundland Yacht Club,” said RNYC Commodore Kris Drodge. “And in 1964, it took on a Royal designation. It’s probably one of the last yacht clubs to receive a Royal designation. Not just in Canada, but probably the world. One of the often-forgotten benefits of being part of a Royal yacht club is the ability of members to visit other reciprocating clubs throughout the world with the same designation, having similar privileges as their own members.”
From 1965 on, the newly minted RNYC would continue to grow its membership, now boasting 262 registered members.
The RNYC has berths for 134 local and visiting yachts, a full-service clubhouse, space for boat storage, a fuel dock, a 50-tonne travel lift, a boom truck/mast crane, accessibility aids and a fully functioning restaurant for members and their guests to enjoy.
The Club is also recognized as one of only three recognized CANPASS open ports of entry for customs clearance on the Avalon Peninsula.
Another note of interest is the presence of the Canadian Coast Guard Inshore Rescue station, which uses the RNYC as its base during the summer months.
The RNYC also hosts a market at the marina and provides rental bookings to the public for personal/corporate events such as Christmas parties and weddings.
“We have a craft fair that we’ve created to support the local artisan community,” said Drodge. “We do that every year in July, and that’s open to the public of course.”
The club also features a Junior Learn to Sail program, which has seen several of the sailors they’ve trained go on to compete in the Canada Games.
“The Junior Sailing School was brought into the yacht club in the early ‘90s from it’s previous location in Octagon Pond,” said Drodge.
“When it was brought into the club, it was brought in as a development stream into sailing. It was key for the club to create longevity like any other club would like to see. In the past number of years, we’ve had a very substantial influx of donations made by some generous benefactors to the junior sailing school in order to update its fleet to build a more robust infrastructure, all in preparation for the Canada Games in 2025 — which the RNYC is hosting.”
The RNYC also hosts several races over the year, notably their Race Week in August which is open to other clubs to attend.
“Race Week is our premier racing event. We do invite other clubs and other sailors from other areas to the event in order to participate and compete for those awards while at the same time building a solid pool of competitive sailors for this sport,” said Drodge, adding “It is also a great place for local businesses to sponsor the sport for great visibility.”
The Club also co-hosts a race in St. John’s with the St. John’s Port Authority in late June, where competitors sail to the city, perform a race in St. John’s Harbour and then race back to Long Pond the following day. The RNYC also hosts their Wednesday race series, which occurs over the course of the summer.
Drodge says the RNYC is experiencing a period of growth after some decline during the COVID-19 pandemic, with members sailing on from the shores of Newfoundland or taking on smaller powerboats. The RNYC is hopeful that 2023 will continue this growing trend that has been seen during the last couple of years , as recreational boating is becoming more popular in Newfoundland and Labrador and clubs and marinas, like the RNYC, start playing an integral part in the industry and the communities they are in.
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