In 1935, when the City of Berkeley provided land and the Federal Government provided labor to build the Berkeley Yacht Harbor, the genesis of the Berkeley Yacht Club took place. It was a group of boaters whose boats were berthed in the harbor that formed the nucleus that would become the Berkeley Yacht Club. This founding group agreed to raise $1,000 and the City of Berkeley agreed to provide $2,500 for the Yacht Club. Professor B. H. Crocheron, head of the UC Agricultural Extension Dept., Dean Frank Probert of the UC School of Mining, Glenn Waterhouse, Olympic Champion Star Racer, Ralph Hoyt, District Attorney, Weldon Nichols, Tom Lake and Charles Pease were among this group. They were all able men of imagination, courage and unselfish devotion to boating.
On April 28, 1939 BYC officially came into being. Before the clubhouse was built, meetings were held at Drakes Restaurant, which was located on Bancroft Way near the UC campus. An article in the Berkeley Gazette dated April 25, 1939 reported that plans for a formal christening and flag raising ceremony were scheduled at the club on Saturday May 6, 1939. Dean Probert and Glenn Waterhouse were in charge of plans, which included the first BYC Regatta: a Snipe race and a 21-gun salute.