The History of Smyrna Yacht Club

Over a century ago, around 1884, wealthy sportsmen whose leisure time was spent hunting, fishing and cruising on luxurious yachts, decided to organize in New Smyrna Beach. There they found an ideal location for cruising and holding regattas. The great industrialists and titled Europeans traveled and sailed for weeks just to spend their leisure time in this wonderful cruising area.

In the fall of 1928, the Smyrna Yacht Club was formally established. Thirty-six families were charter members and a wealthy investor, Russ J. Christy, became the first Commodore, serving in that capacity for six years. On October 9, 1929, SYC was incorporated. On December 3, 1930, land was leased from the city to build a clubhouse and construction began almost immediately.

Smyrna Yacht Club, nestled in an exotic setting, soon became a landmark along the Indian River. To this day, the Spanish Renaissance styling of the clubhouse is preserved and admired by residents, tourists and members of other clubs in the Florida Council of Yacht Clubs.

Smyrna Yacht Club made social history in 1932 when it sponsored an international yachting regatta. Sportsmen and spectators from England, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden and Cuba joined U. S. enthusiasts. The grand prize was the tall silver Lipton Cup Trophy, which is now permanently on display in the Club’s trophy case. It is one of only twelve trophies deeded to Clubs around the U.S. by the tea magnate Sir Thomas Lipton. This tradition continues to this day as SYC conducts the annual Lipton Cub sailing competition, attracting entrants from the entire East Coast.

In the 1950s, as membership grew, a ballroom and swimming pool were added and legislation was passed enabling the Club to obtain a license and add a bar. In the 1970s, the Board and members worked hard to upgrade the Club facilities, adding more activities and improving management. The Women's Improvement Committee (WIC) changed their name to SYC Ladies and continued to provide improvements to the Club with fundraising activities that continued for over 50 years.

In 1977 SYC was the 20th Club to join the Florida Council of Yacht Clubs. The FCYC currently consists of 36 Yacht Clubs.

In 1987 an in-house project of construction of a Tiki Bar on the south tip of our island was completed. The Tiki Bar features casual dining and liquid refreshments with stunning views of the ICW.

In October of 2005, the SYC Ladies voted to establish a scholarship fund with a minimum of $2,000 per year to assist New Smyrna Beach High School students enrolled in the Diversified Career Technology Program to further their education at Daytona State College. Additionally, in June of 2006, the Scholarship Committee entered into an agreement with Daytona State College Foundation to ensure money for our scholarships will be disbursed for the purpose that the SYC Ladies envisioned.

In 2012 the SYC Compass Fund was started for member donations to purchase items the Board of Governors approved but were not budgeted for. 

The SYC Historical Society was formed in 2014 by the Commodore and the Club Historian to compile a time capsule to contain our Club History. The time capsule was sealed and buried in the north entrance and will be unearthed on the Club’s 125th anniversary in 2053.