1937 was probably the beginning of an idea to form a Yacht Club. In this year two canvas covered canoes were built and fitted with sails at the homes of Harold (Bill) Bainbridge and Maurie Miller who were neighbours and lived in Barnes Grove which is adjacent to the present Club- house. The photos shown were taken on the beach where we still rig today.
Both these yachts formed part of our first fleet as you will see as you read on.
The germ was sown one summer evening when Ron Austin and Graham Strachan, who were learning to sail an 18 foot Williamstown punt "San Loon, told me that the owners of some other yachts had suggested organising a few races before the season ended. A meeting was held at my home on 10th March 1938 when Councillor S. Black, Harry Flint, father and son, Tom Broardhurst and Len Hildebrand joined us. After some discussion it was decided to form a Yacht Club to conduct racing and organise some shore assistance.
The 24th March was selected for the first meeting and likely recruits were invited to come along. Some twenty people attended and decided to form a Yacht Club to be known as the Chelsea Yacht Club. The first Officers and Committee were duly elected as follows:-
President Dr. Ivan Le Souef
Vice-President Councillor S. Black
Commodore Mr. S.O. Bertram
Hon. Secretary Mr. R. J. Austin
Hon. Treasurer Mr. T. Broardhurst
Committee Messrs. H. Flintsen., G. Strachan & J. Bardin.
Ten yachts were placed on the register including Vyres (V.J.), San Loo ( 18 Foot punt), Tom Thumb (an 8 footer), Sea Chal ( a 10 footer), and two canvas canoes fitted with sails.
Others present at the meeting included Len & Geoff Hildebrand, Morrie Miller, Ron Scarlett, Harry Flint Jnr., H. (Bill) Bainbridge, Lindsay and Bruce Sykes and Frank Black.
The selection of a President and a Vice-President to guide the fortunes of the Club on shore and a Commodore to control the yachting activities was primarily due to the in- experience of the meeting concerning conventional yacht club procedure, but, over the years, it has proved a happy and successful method of sharing the duties and has given marked flexibility to the control of the Club, especially when most of the administrators were not active sailors and the Commodores preferred to concentrate on sailing including , all the shore based activities which are so necessary to conducting a successful season.
Easter was selected for our first regatta and Frankston Yacht Club, Which had formed about a year previously, promised to help us. Thus started the spirit of friendship and cooperation between the two clubs that has strengthened with the years
Unfortunately, I cannot obtain the results of this meeting, but I well remember all the work that went into the designing and fabrication of our first buoys which had to be light and easily handled so that they could be easily laid and recovered from our yachts, we did not have a workboat then. Even more important, they had to be cheap, as the Club had very little money.
OUR FIRST HOME
During May the Club realised that the building on the foreshore at the end of the Esplanade, Edithvale, was not being fully utilised by the Life Saving and Boating Club that occupied it, so our club members attended a meeting of the Committee of Management in force. So successfully did we press our case that we were granted the use of portion of the lower storage area of the building and five members of our club were elected to the Committee of Management. Thus we gained our first Club Rooms and here also we held our early meetings and entertainments.
On the 19th October 1938 the first regular Annual General Meeting of the Chelsea yacht Club was held. The office of Vice- Commodore was created and John Bardin was elected to fill it, also Graham Strachan was elected Treasurer in place of Tom Broardhurst. The meeting also decided to form a Ladies' Committee from our well wishers to assist at Club Functions. The days of the Ladies' Committee are long gone, however our women members remain integral to the success of the Club.