When our founders met on the porch of the Branford Point Hotel, their discussions often focused on plans to organize a club that would encourage the art of navigation, the advancement of aquatic sports, and gather together yachtsmen into a common interest association.
Herbert Smith of East Haven, Homer H. Sheppard of New Haven, and Norman Gillette of Short Beach incorporated the Branford Yacht Club on June 24, 1909. Herbert Smith became the first Commodore (1909-1910).
When the Branford Point Hotel was torn down, club members searched for a new home. Club meetings continued at a couple of different locations. There was a time when the club became dormant due to WW1. When the club was reactivated, they finally moved to the building at the town dock on Harbor Street. A local family in Branford purchased the building and deeded it to the town. On September 21, 1938, a hurricane destroyed a large part of the clubhouse, but our membership rebuilt it without a lot of fanfare.
Then came WW II. Fifteen percent of our total membership enlisted and those remaining provided approximately fifty-two thousand hours of service in US Coast Guard Flotilla #707. Without pay, without acknowledgement and at their own expense, members patrolled our coast line twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, to support the war effort.
In October of 1945, the BYC moved to the property that originally belonged to the Farnum Girls Camp-the site we now call home. Our membership generously donated to the purchase of this property with some members endorsing the mortgage. The Title to the property was transferred to the club on November 6, 1946 and our first meeting in the new clubhouse was held on March 11, 1947.
During the 1950’s, our marina began to take the shape that we know it today. Stationary docks were built, “B” Dock being the first. “A” Dock, also a fixed dock, was completed. The remaining docks were built as floating docks. Construction of the original wooden bulkheads was also accomplished during this period.
The 1960’s brought changes to the clubhouse. Michaelson Hall was added to the building in 1963. This addition gave us a facility that could proudly support our plan to provide a recreational home for area boaters and their families. “B” Dock was made a floating dock.
The 1970’s brought bulkhead replacements fabricated of steel to some of the existing wooden bulkheads. Showers were remodeled. The dredging of the total basin was completed. Fingers and piers were added on various docks. There were a great number of social events year after year that many members and guests took part in. This was a period in which much work was joyfully accomplished through friendship and camaraderie.