In 1969, a group of enthusiasts of vintage wooden power boats decided to form an association for the purpose of perpetuating their interests. Thus the Classic Yacht Association was organized with a dedication to promote and encourage the restoration, preservation and maintenance of fine old power-driven pleasure craft. Since that time, the Classic Yacht Association has become a major influence in the growing awareness and appreciation of the classic yacht. The Association and its various fleets are active in a yearly agenda of yachting and social activities that focus attention on the unique craftsmanship and design of the classic era.
In general, the qualifications for membership of a boat are that it be of good design, construction and maintenance, built prior to December 31, 1964, and show no external alterations that detract from the designer's original intent. Additional objectives of the Classic Yacht Association are to promote, sponsor and develop yachting activities for the Association and its fleets and to cultivate a spirit of friendship among its members and those interested in the old boats and their era.
At present, the Association is made up of five fleets, the Southern California Fleet includes member boats from Santa Barbara to San Diego. The Northern California Fleet covers San Francisco Bay and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The Pacific Northwest Fleet encompasses the waters of the Columbia River, Puget Sound, and Idaho. The Canadian Fleet is centered in Vancouver, B.C., and the growing USA Fleet includes members from any non-West Coast area.
Originally formed of thirteen charter members, the membership numbers
over 300 and continues to grow. More than 600 classics have been
registered by the Association since 1969. Significant historical records
have been preserved on vessels in the Association's archives, and in
one instance, an entire yard's records have been preserved in a local
museum, available for general research and copies of plans.
Most of the classic boats were built in the twenties and early thirties. The oldest member yacht was built in 1906. Many of the boats are in the range of thirty to fifty feet, although there are a number under twenty feet and the largest is 135 feet long. Popular designers and builders of the period are well represented. Names like Stephens Bros., Matthews, Lake Union Drydock Co., Fellows and Stewart, Chris-Craft, Elco, Blanchard, Geary, and Monk are common. Dozens of other builders and designers account for the remainder of the vessels.
Classic yachting is a demanding but rewarding activity that is enjoyed by the members, their families and their friends. Scraping, painting, varnishing, replacing and repairing takes up much of the time. However, all of the fleets maintain an active schedule of cruises and other events. CYA fleets participate in many community activities, Opening Day parades in most areas, and fun get-togethers.
For example, the Northern California Fleet participates in the annual Stephens Rendezvous on the Delta, the Pacific Northwest Fleet hosts a premier show and rendezvous annually at Seattle's Bell Street Pier, the Southern California Fleet participates in a summer festival at Marina Del Rey, and the USA Fleet has a rendezvous at Mystic Seaport, Connecticut. The CYA Welcomes new members -- Go to the Membership Page for details on joining!