History of the Shrewsbury Sailing & Yacht Club


As SSYC celebrates its 80th year in existence in 2016, it's interesting to reflect on the history of the club. The references below are adapted from our club publication "Sails on the River – 1936 to 2011, The 75 Year History of the Shrewsbury Sailing and Yacht Club", along with additional help from long-standing members. For anyone interested in learning more about SSYC over the years, the 75th anniversary publication has a wealth of information.




Founding of the Club

In 1935 - 1936, there was a growing interest in an organization to conduct races for sailboats of various sizes on the Shrewsbury River. Two groups of people met in late 1935 and then in March / April of 1936, the club was founded and ran races from late May until mid September with boats including handicap classes, Comets and Lancasters (a lapstraked Cape Cod dory sloop). Right from the inception of the club, there were multiple women skippers including a class champion.






Club Name and Burgee Change

The original name of the club when founded in 1936 was the Shrewsbury Handicap Sailing Association. A few years later there was a name change and in 1951, the club’s name was changed again from Shrewsbury Sailing Club to Shrewsbury Sailing & Yacht Club. And during that same year, the burgee was changed from blue with a white “S” to the burgee that flies today over the club.





Evolution of the Property

In 1947, the club was able to obtain four adjacent 25-foot lots for $400 that is the area where the main clubhouse is currently located. In 1949 construction was completed on the clubhouse (photo is of the clubhouse dedication ceremony). In 1954 the club purchased an additional four 25 foot wide lots from the Borough of Oceanport which comprise the area where the two trailer rails closest to the main clubhouse reside to this day. Three additional lots were bought from Oceanport in late 1957 and comprise some of the area under the decking off the kitchen and the beach area out to the fence. The 1960’s started off with the club buying the last of the current club property with the purchase in September 1960 of an additional eight lots from Oceanport.





Junior Sailing

In 1953, the Junior Program was established and became a huge success with graduates of this outstanding program winning many honors for the club. To support a large program, the junior building was built as part of the expansion of the main clubhouse in 1985 – 1986 and modified over the years to create a class room and an instructor office. The Junior Program remains a vital element of the club with many families giving feedback that the mini-camp and summer session were great experiences for their children and many of these families have become SSYC club members.





Mary Patten

As racing grew, it became apparent that there was a need for a starting platform of some sort as the fleet grew the first summer. Through the efforts of the founders and the cooperation of the City of Long Branch, a life raft from the historic “Mary Patten” of the Sea Bright & Long Branch Steamboat Company (more commonly known as the Patten Line), which was in a state of decay at the Pleasure Bay dock was obtained. The name “Mary Patten” came back full circle a number of years later when the club purchased the first of a series of pontoon Race Committee boats and designated it the “Mary Patten”, a tradition that carries forward to this day.


Mary Patten 1990 Mary Patten Current