Business name : Gulf Yacht Club


In the early 1960’s, False Creek and Coal Harbour were very different places.  Dozens of small yards and wharves existed along a scruffy commercial waterfront, a fascinating wonderland. Separate from the mighty Yacht Clubs, a marine mélange of builders, live-aboarders, and weekend sailors of average means haunted the wharves to gossip, bargain, and simply look at boats, …a casual network of friends.


Tony Swain, owner of the SUZY-B, a 20 foot gaff sloop, suggested the False Creek sailing folk join the Kitsilano Yacht Club’s Cruising Fleet. Thus, for a modest fee, members got a place to meet, simple club amenities, a proud burgee, and visitor privileges when away cruising. About 25 such cruising sailors joined KYC and held a number of meetings at the club. However, the KYC was basically a keen racing club, and cruisers using the wharf conflicted with competitors at scheduled events. So the cruisers tried again, and flyers were distributed around the wharves inviting sailing folk to a meeting at Peter Bold’s Dance Emporium at Main and King Edward in Vancouver.   …Forty-five people turned up.

From the ideas at this meeting, a core group of six worked through 1964 on creating a club for those who simply wanted to cruise under sail. To avoid pomp, some preferred a club ‘President’ rather than a ‘Commodore’, but eventually, it was prudently decided to conform to the traditional yacht club practice, as set out in the current yachting bible, Chapman’s, with a commodore, fleet captain, proper flag etiquette, dress for sailpasts, and a gavel for banging the meetings to order.


The original Constitution created by this group has required only minor changes over the years. In essence, the rules required ownership of a sailboat with a fixed cabin, and a return crossing of the Gulf as preconditions to membership. The fixed cabin was to exclude the wild ones willing to sail a dinghy across the Gulf to qualify.  Racing and power boating were excluded. Most important, the Club would not own facilities such as docks or a clubhouse, and consequently be inexpensive to join and to belong to. The new club would simply provide cruising fellowship. A friendly lawyer, Tony’s landlord, Judge Vance, registered the yacht club as a society in Victoria, and the Gulf Yacht Club was born.

Many of the forty-five who conceived the club, never actually qualified due to unsuitable boats, unfinished projects, or vagaries of life. But, because they felt the concept sound, they voted for rules that disqualified even themselves! No one, not even the founding executive, had yet met the Gulf crossing requirement, so none could yet be a member.