The Royal Kennebeccasis Yacht Club derives its origin from the Saint John Yacht Club which was founded during two meetings of yachting enthusiasts in May of 1894. Frank Whelpley, Albert McArthur, Howard Holder and Fred Heans believed that the sport of sailing could be better encouraged in Saint John through the organized structure of a formally established Club. The Squadron of the new Club consisted of only six yachts. Initial dues were one dollar per year and one dollar for the entrance fee. During the first sailing season in 1894, the club’s anchorage was at Indiantown. Indiantown, however did not provide sufficient room for expansion, and after debate it was decided that the new anchorage would be located in Millidgeville. The first Clubhouse was constructed in 1895.
The Club membership decided at a general meeting on April 5,1898 to adopt the name of the river on which its races were sailed. The organization was to be called the “Kennebecasis Yacht Club”. The membership also consented to the application for the Royal Warrant which would permit the Club to use the prefix “Royal” in its name. Only three other yacht clubs in North America enjoyed this privilege in 1898. Notification that Queen Victoria had granted the Royal Warrant was received and the Club officially became the “Royal Kennebecasis Yacht Club” on July 5,1898. It is interesting to note that because of a spelling error in the Royal Warrant “Kennebeccasis” was spelled with two c’s, and thus the spelling of the Club’s name is slightly different from that of the river. The R.K.Y.C. executive also applied for the Admiralty Warrant on behalf of its membership. It was granted on February 12,1899. Each yacht of the R.K.Y.C. Squadron which was granted an Admiralty Warrant had the right to fly the Blue Ensign of Her Majesty’s Fleet, often called the “Blue Duster”. Possession of an Admiralty Warrant was a considerable distinction for any yacht belonging to a Royal Yacht Club.