Bristol Yacht Club had a modest birth in 1877 when a group of Brown University students got together and formed the Zephyr Boat Club "for the purpose of mutual interests and the practicing of rowing on our harbor, the principal object of the club being however to have a good time."
That same year, the Zephyr Boat Club became the Neptune Boat Club, and in 1899 we became the Bristol Yacht Club. Our initial purpose, having a good time, has continued on for over 100 years. We've updated this mission to "encourage and promote yachting, seamanship, aquatic sports and social activities among our members." We've had several clubhouses in several locations around the harbor but our desire to have fun has helped us survive fires, floods, hurricanes, and two world wars.
Today, Bristol Yacht Club sits in the west side of Bristol Harbor in the old Red Crest Estate. In 1955 some forward thinking members saw an opportunity, purchased the site, and the rest is history.
Our recently renovated clubhouse and active waterfront make it easy to have fun. Members actively volunteer to maintain the house, grounds, and waterfront. We might host an informal clambake on the lawn one day and a formal dinner dance the next. Our competitive but friendly Wednesday race series often draws more than 40 boats on the line; we are active in the NBYA (Narragansett bay Yachting Association), MOHOSA (Mount Hope Sailing Association), and Newport to Bermuda races. Our annual Sid Clark Offshore Race dates back to 1904 and may well be the oldest distance race in the country.
Over the years our members have raced fleets of Herreshoff 12 1/2s, Herreshoff S boats, International 110s, Thistles, Dyer Dhows, Pearson 26s, Sea Sprites, 420s, Lasers, Optis, Mercuries, and A-Cats. The Penguin frostbite fleet is one of the oldest continuously operating frostbite fleets in the country.
The annual cruises in and out of the bay are perfect opportunities for developing life-long friendships. Visiting yacht clubs on their cruises find Bristol Yacht Club a convenient place to visit as we are close to so many shore side activities, museums, and restaurants.