For some years prior to 1968 the lack of a bona fide yacht club at the mouth of the Connecticut River seemed incongruous to a small but enthusiastic group of yachtsmen whose hailing port and homes were in Old Saybrook. The group was convinced that the area’s waterfront facilities which included a number of boat yards, marine services, a fine harbor of refuge, and a strategic location close to Long Island Sound, could not fail to win support for an association of their fellow yachtsmen.
The group had in mind an organization devoted to encouraging the sport of yachting, promoting the science of seamanship and navigation, and provision of a clubhouse for the recreation and use of its members.
The original founders of the club were J. Whittier Anderson, Everett A. Cooper, Edward W. Hildreth, and Robert B. Wright—all residents of Old Saybrook in the North Cove area.
On March 15, 1969 the first organizational meeting of the North Cove Yacht Club was held at the Old Saybrook Town Hall. Sixty-six individuals responding favorably to an invitation to membership prior to the meeting were designated charter members. By-laws were adopted and officers elected.
One of the first decisions of the Board of Governors was to join the North American Yacht Racing Union (now the United States Yacht Racing Union) as well as the Eastern Connecticut Yacht Racing Association and to participate, together with more than twenty other clubs in the area, in its Handicap Racing Program. The Club’s first invitational race in that program was held in June, 1969.
In 1970 two tracts of lands were purchased by the founders for subsequent sale to the Club. A capital assets fund was established the following year for that purpose and for the development of the property as soon as funds were adequate. By the end of 1971 the Club had acquired eleven new members and the capital assets fund had grown enough to purchase the land and to begin its development.
From 1972 to 1974 membership grew slowly but steadily. In 1974 the Finance Committee submitted a plan for development which included a time table for membership growth, construction of a bulkhead and a clubhouse, and landscaping. A construction loan was obtained, permitting construction to begin during the early spring of 1975.
The dedication of the clubhouse was celebrated September 20, 1975. Among the distinguished guests were the First Selectman of Old Saybrook, the Commanders of the local United States Coast Guard Auxiliary and the United States Power Squadrons, and the Commodores of neighboring yacht clubs. It was a truly memorable occasion with more than 300 persons in attendance.