"Pine Beach Yacht Club"

History of the Pine Beach Yacht Club

IN THE BEGINNING. . . Early in 1909, Charles M. Horter bought what is now Pine Beach Borough for $10,000. By April 11, 1909 streets and lots had been planned, Midland and Henley Avenues graded, and Riverside Drive open to Station Avenue. On that day, Easter Sunday, a Philadelphia & Long Branch Railroad train brought the first group of prospective lot buyers. In the group were Charles F. Wheeler and William L. Wilson, founders of the Pine Beach Yacht Club. In 1910, Wheeler and Wilson saw the need for “a clubhouse to supply recreational needs and provide fellowship among residents . . . someplace to go and meet friends.’’ By May 1, 1916, they had sold enough $25 charter subscriptions to incorporate the Pine Beach Yacht Club. The certificate says . . . “The purposes . . . are the promotion and enjoyment of yachting, fishing and gunning, and general social purposes.” Enter the Clubhouse. The plans called for “a one-floor bungalow- type with wide piazzas and will be built for comfort - though appearances will not be sacrificed.” Later, the plans were changed because, “The plain peaked roof seemed so ugly that dormer windows were set in.” On Saturday, August 12, 1916 the Club was officially opened. Electricity was furnished by the dynamo of the Pine Beach Inn (Admiral Farragut Academy) which had the only electric lights in town. Cost of constructing the Club: $1,500. As Pine Beach grew, so did demands on the Club for more than an open hall. In 1921, what is now Hoffman Hall was jacked up and the first floor, as it is today, was built underneath it. Cost: $7,000. In celebration, the Club sponsored the first 4th of July parade with a band brought in from Philadelphia. Games and Dances follow.

AN OVERVIEW. . . The Yacht Club from its beginning until after the second World War was primarily a social club. Only a minority of its members were boat owners. It was, until the depression years (1929), the leader of most social and community activity - far ahead of both chapel and fire company. On weekday evenings, the ladies would gather at the station to greet homecoming husbands laden with groceries. Dolly Richard remembers walking to the station at Henley and Pennsylvania Avenues switching a tree branch to repel hordes of mosquitos. What groceries husbands didn’t bring, could be had in the Acme store on Main Street in Toms River. Wives who didn’t have motor boats for shipping could board the Josie Rogers, Ariella or Dorianne - steamboats that circled between Toms River and Seaside Park. Saturday nights were the big nights: dances (music by a hand-wound Victrola) skits, barn dances, county fairs, auctions, even a male ballet chorus complete with rouge and tutus. Moonlight motor cruises were highly favored as were motorboat races on Sundays. Today, with both parents working, the Club serves the community as a safe, supervised daytime junior sailing school. Busy parents and adults make time for evening and weekend socials and racing.

SINCE IT OPENED. . . The Club has been an election hall, police station, gas station, a breeding ground for champion racers, a tea room, a dining hall, theater, snack bar, a safe, supervised recreation and sailing school for youngsters, an important member of regional racing, to name a few activities and programs PBYC members have undertaken. The Borough, in 1925, rented the Club as an election hall, then disputed the $85 fee. The skippers’ lounge, in 1972, became the Borough Police Station. A Sunoco gas pump was installed in the front yard in 1933 to sell gas at 18 cents per gallon. The Tea Room Committee, using authority granted to it “to act in all matters pertaining to the tea room” spent $3.41 for decorations. While we are here, words of praise and thanks to the ladies who organized the Ladies Auxiliary in 1925. They were given a “rising vote of thanks in September for raising $1,000 to pay on the mortgage.” Another rising vote of thanks to “the backbone of the Club” in 1927. A glowing tribute in 1929 certainly can be extended to the ladies who have continued to earn “Rising Votes of Thanks” through the decades for the untold hours they have spent in the kitchen and have devoted to our activities and festivities. The first mention of sailboat racing appears in the May 27, 1944 minutes when a suggestion to schedule “a day for sailboat races in addition to outboard races was made.” Exactly three years later, the first Sunday races were held and for the next 30 years, they were a major adult event. In 1946, an initiation fee of $25 was paid to join the Barnegat Bay Association so our Snipe and Lightning fleets could race. In 1949, the Club was accepted as an associate member of the BBYRA; Lightning Fleet 92 was formed. Snipe Fleet 256 continued to grow until 1962 when it had 18 boats-the largest fleet in the state and one of the largest on the East Coast. Although the fleet has diminished in size, interest remains high among our fleet. Enough so that the Club for years has hosted the traditional Blue-Gray Regatta. The BBYRA associate membership apparently has a short life. In 1978, application was made for full membership which was granted in 1980. Since then, through the sailing prowess of seniors and juniors, the Club has each year become a more formidable contender in the races as the award flags in Hoffmann Hall attest. In the mid-eighties, Prindle Catamarans joined the fleet, and increased rapidly as BBYRA championship flags were hung in Hoffman Hall. The Flying Scot fleet also expanded during the same period and probably is one of the largest in the region. The Club, looking for an inexpensive boat that kids, as well as adults, could handle, resulted in the purchase of 12 Sunfish ($495!). Fleet 459 was chartered. With the fleet in hand, discussion on starting a junior sailing program led to its start in 1975 with 16 students. In 1987, there were 84 students. Of all the Club activities, none has brought more recognition than the champion performance of our juniors in BBYRA and interclub races. Our enhanced reputation among our peer Clubs comes to a large degree from the junior sailors’ excellence in racing and in sportsmanship. Auxiliary races, started in 1975 with eight sloops, continue today. One prize, unearthed from the attic of a pioneer resident, is the Murphy Jug, an ancient chamber pot. Winning crews are required to drink a toast from their trophy. Club officers, in 1925, recognized kids by creating a junior membership. In 1923, a formal junior organization was discussed, but no action ensued. In 1952, the Junior Pine Beach Yacht Club was formed “to promote activities of interest to children revolving around boating, sports, social activities and citizenship.” All, however, has not been tea and crumpets, as commodores, staff and members starting in the 1920’s, would attest. Maintaining the Club and dock was a chronic and expensive problem, particularly during depressed economic times. The building and dock persisted in sinking in the mud. That, and other deficiencies promoted the committee in 1945 to propose to the Borough that the Clubhouse be demolished and a combination municipal building and yacht club be constructed. Another proposal in 1962 called for replacing the building with a beach club complete with tent, deck furniture, showers and other amenities on a fenced concrete deck. To the club’s benefit, these proposals were never acted upon. Instead our conscientious caretakers have continually maintained and improved the Clubhouse. The aluminum siding was installed in 1981. The patio deck and sail room were added in 1985. The kitchen was renovated in 1990 and a new expanded dock was added in 1995. The club has served us well over the years, but in 2001 structural deficiencies were identified in the clubhouse and a debate ensued as to the future of the building. Temporary repairs have been made to the clubhouse by the membership, but it was decided by the membership in 2003 to pursue the construction of a new club for the enjoyment of our current and future members. Many members have donated their time, energy and financial resources to plan the design and funding of our future club. Our fundraising efforts allowed us to complete this historic undertaking in the spring of 2009.

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