A yacht club is formed by a group of people with a common interest in using boats to get away from land and enjoy cruising local and distant waters, racing for the thrill of personal combat against other sailors and the elements, or just messing about on boats. In the children’s classic “The Wind in the Willows”, it is described thus: “There is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats…or with boats…in or out of ’em, it doesn’t matter.”
West Vancouver Yacht Club has just such beginnings and aspirations. Formed in 1945, the Club consisted of 45 people with only 6 boats between the lot of them. In 1946 the first Sailpast was held, and Club members and friends have been enjoying this annual event that starts the boating season every year since.
Humble beginnings, started by the dreams of a few, moved on to acquire the foreshore rights in Fisherman’s Cove in 1951 with a small cottage for a clubhouse. By 1963 the clubhouse you see overlooking the moorage was completed and then extensively updated in 2012. Much of the work carried out on Club projects is through members’ volunteering labour and expertise; volunteering is a mainstay of Club participation and camaraderie.
Many accomplishments over the years have contributed immensely to the enjoyment all the members have for “messing about in boats”. The annual Southern Straits Yacht Race brings sailors and boats to the Straits of Georgia to challenge each other in the boisterous spring weather conditions. Outstations have been added at Gambier Island and Kendrick Island and more recently with leased space in Pender Harbour and Telegraph Harbour. The Club sail training program, designed to help youngsters and adults become proficient in the skills of sailing, is now one of the premier such programs available to anyone in the community, not just Club members. To serve this program, the Sailing Center was built in 2002 as a focus for activity and learning in all aspects of small boat sailing.