Author Topic: A History of the Florida Yacht Club  (Read 9031 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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A History of the Florida Yacht Club
« on: June 05, 2014, 03:00:01 AM »
A History of the Florida Yacht Club



Destroyed in the Great Fire of 1901, the Florida Yacht Club has an interesting history. Today the club thrives on the banks of the St. John's River, nestled in quiet Ortega.

Read More: http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2014-jun-a-history-of-the-florida-yacht-club-

Noone

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Re: A History of the Florida Yacht Club
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2014, 05:39:33 AM »
Matt, Thanks for the history and great pictures. Makes you wonder what is about to happen with our 4.8 miles of waterfront within our new CRA/DIA zone. Yachts included.

Rob68

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Re: A History of the Florida Yacht Club
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2014, 07:58:08 AM »
Have they started alowing black or jew yet? I kmow most clubs were exclusive back then and many other exclusive clubs have only within the last 20 years accepted people beyond their original status memberships

Overstreet

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Re: A History of the Florida Yacht Club
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2014, 08:06:31 AM »
The definition of "yacht" is a varied as the yacht clubs.

RiversideLoki

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Re: A History of the Florida Yacht Club
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2014, 11:34:31 AM »
Have they started alowing black or jew yet? I kmow most clubs were exclusive back then and many other exclusive clubs have only within the last 20 years accepted people beyond their original status memberships



This is old money Ortega we're talking about. Most of the membership consists of Ortega residents and their family members. Some of the conversations I overheard were definitely eye-opening and made me lose faith in society as a whole. If the walls could talk.
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Tacachale

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Re: A History of the Florida Yacht Club
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2014, 12:53:21 PM »
The historical exclusion of African Americans is definitely a major part of the club's history, to the point I'm surprised it wasn't mentioned in this article.

Even by the early 90s, the Florida Yacht Club had never had any black members. Considering that sailing was traditionally a sport engaged in primarily by wealthy white citizens, this was not in and of itself surprising. At the time at least one other major yacht club, the San Diego Yacht Club, also had no black members, though it had in the past. The word on the Florida Yacht Club was that it had an unofficial policy excluding blacks. As gaining membership was very complicated (there had to be an opening, a current member had to nominate you, and then the other members had to approve) this policy had never been challenged.

In 1992, several members felt it was time to change the status quo. They found the exclusion ridiculous and felt the lack of any black members reflected poorly on the club. Several members, including long-time Chamber of Commerce President Wally Lee and attorney Bill Scheu, nominated Dr. Chester Aikens, a local dentist. Aikens was himself a highly regarded local figure; he was a member of the Non-Group/Jacksonville Civic Council, chaired the Aviation Authority board, and advised all sorts of other boards and projects. He was a major boater whose membership would never be denied under most circumstances.

You can see where this is going. In June 1993, the Yacht Club rejected Aikens' membership. The club's bylaws stated that if five members voted to reject an applicant - they did not even need to say why - the application would be denied. Unsurprisingly, five members of the all-white club played that card. Rather than determining that these folks may be rejecting Aikens for reasons beyond the best interests of the club, the club stood firm.

As it turned out, the Yacht Club greatly overestimated its importance in the city and the sailing community. People were outraged; Bill Scheu tore up his own membership and has never returned. Naval Station Mayport said, in effect, "screw that". They firmly told the Yacht Club that it could no longer use base property for regattas, as they had been doing for years, even for parking. U.S. Sailing pulled a major national youth competition from the Florida Yacht Club that was scheduled for less than two weeks later. With this one decision, the club did enormous damage to its reputation.

The controversy made national news, including The New York Times. It the wake, the club changed its bylaws so that anyone rejecting a membership bid must submit their reasons in writing, and potentially defend them to the board; if those reasons violate the law (such as discriminating according to race) they are to be discounted. Later in the Yacht Club offered memberships to two other African-Americans, though both understandably turned them down. In the succeeding years, black members have joined the club and the current leadership makes an effort not to repeat the mistakes of the past.
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simms3

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Re: A History of the Florida Yacht Club
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2014, 01:59:06 PM »
A lot of people that were members of FYC (and not Timuquana) have recently switched to Timuquana.  I think the FYC is in a dry spell...last time I went it seemed there were a lot of people there not from the "neighborhood".  I think the FYC is pretty open to diverse membership because of this (I think admitting a few "Non-neighborhood" people in the first place turned people off and it snow-balled unfortunately).

I remember years back my parents commenting about some guy with tattoos swimming in the pool, but they would have to make a similar snide comment about their own son at this point.  They were among the "switchers".  IMO inviting a diverse, young membership will be the key to FYC's success, but so many people in the neighborhood itself are still so "old-fashioned" if I may be so polite.  I wouldn't want to join either club.  PVB and University or River Club for me only.

Clubs in progressive cities such as SF and NYC are often even more discriminatory.  My friend is trying to get me to join one here with a waiting list of "only" 4 months and it just recently allowed women.  The infamous Bohemian Club (not the club I'm referring to) here (which has an annual meeting of world leaders at their country setting) does not allow women at their country location in Marin.  A techie/creative oriented club called the Battery was founded last year, and closed off membership to people in finance/law/real estate/insurance, but filled up so fast they aren't even offering a waiting list.  My roommate (a realtor) is a member because he sold a house to one of its founders.

I guess clubs can do as they please to fulfill the exclusive needs of their specific target membership bases.  Clubs here are almost like secret societies...no joke.  Basically fingerprint ID to get in, LoL...big hulking mostly windowless buildings.  Goings ons are not discussed publicly.  That's a pretty big difference to clubs in the South.

But yes, the FYC has such a racist history that I would want no part in that.  :(
« Last Edit: June 05, 2014, 02:02:13 PM by simms3 »
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Badfinger

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Re: A History of the Florida Yacht Club
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2014, 02:36:29 PM »
Have they started alowing black or jew yet? I kmow most clubs were exclusive back then and many other exclusive clubs have only within the last 20 years accepted people beyond their original status memberships

I was recently a guest at the Florida Yacht Club and was introduced to members that were black, Jewish and (gasp) openly gay.  The place was packed and filled with young families and singles and not at all what I expected.  The food was great and the people were open and welcoming

It was explained to me that the club reflects the surrounding neighborhood and is less restrictive than it used to be.  Someone also told me that they have had a growth spurt recently and have experienced increasing membership for the past two years.

Again, not what I expected and you cannot beat the view.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2014, 02:44:22 PM by Badfinger »

simms3

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Re: A History of the Florida Yacht Club
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2014, 02:47:40 PM »
That's great to hear.  And you cannot beat the view.
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mtraininjax

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Re: A History of the Florida Yacht Club
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2014, 06:30:56 AM »
Here is a better picture, taken with a drone over the current grounds.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=689299751128663&set=a.482735611785079.108677.145470795511564&type=1&theater

I guess this is the sign that FYC has turned a corner? Tisk Tisk on TCC, they still don't allow jeans in their club, talk about exclusive. Ha Ha

Quote
SAVE THE DATE: We're proud to announce that the 2014 Equality Florida Jacksonville Gala will be held on September 27th, 2014 from 7:00pm until 10:00pm.

We hope you will join us at the historic Florida Yacht Club for delicious drinks, wonderful hors d'oeuvres, music and an exciting program!

Sponsorship available now at: http://www.eqfl.org/jacksonvillegala

For more information about sponsorship contact Michael Farmer at Michael@eqfl.org or 407-462-9692.

Stay tuned to this page for more details, the forthcoming invitation AND the announcement of our 2014 Voice For Equality Award Honoree/s.

2014 Equality Florida Jacksonville Steering Committee:

Dan Tice, Chair

Ryan Ali, Laura Brown, Phillip Casillas, Richard Ceriello, Cheryl Chambers, Pam Davis, Troy Faquhar, Jeff Fix, Jaymie Kohl, Tayloe McDonald, Kristy Meeler, Tom Minette, Kenneth Rainer, Scott Schalk, Brent Tuten, Brent Vance

In fact Simms, FYC has announced 3 phases of expansion, all provided with money donated by members, a new expanded fleet center, an improved fitness center, new grounds areas, new tennis facilities. After completing the new docks, it was refreshing to see a storm a few weekends ago come through with 60 mph winds reported at NAS Jax, and to find not one boat was damaged. Yet over at TCC, it seems a boat was flooded by the high winds and waves. TCC is not a boat club.

The fact that the FYC has many different races, creeds and is a more diverse place, with a summer program of prospective new members, shows it is indeed growing, as opposed to your slanted view that it is "in a dry spell". Having sat in on many meetings, last year was the first year that the FYC actually had a positive member growth through other members bringing in new members and with a better economy.

Things are looking up at the FYC, I have no clue what they do at TCC, but I do know you cannot wear shorts or flip-flops at TCC inside, what a shame, a private club that prohibits their own members from being comfortable in their own club. Times change, but it would appear that TCC is the only club on the westside river that has yet to change.
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ricker

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Re: A History of the Florida Yacht Club
« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2014, 02:20:53 AM »
Quick clarification / correction regarding the dress codes at TCC; it is frowned upon for men to wear even the dressiest of pressed denim, however women are not prohibited from donning designer "jeans" in the fast-casual dining (a/k/a/pow-wow) room and or "Ella's" bar (lounge) which - eversince the 2001 renovation - is essentially an extension of the same dining room, serviced by all the same kitchen facilities.

The River Room, Bridge Hall, Presidents Room, and of course the Ball Room and St.Johns Room are areas where absolutely no denim shall be worn below the waist, regardless of gender.  Better to be caught in the most colorful of wrinkled seersucker suit than jeans in these areas of TCC, regardless of the event or function.

Usually contracted service repair persons hired for maintenance beyond the skill set of the on-site crew wear khakis or navy pants.

And yes, TCC does indeed have members in good standing who are not of Anglo Saxon lineage.

Badfinger

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Re: A History of the Florida Yacht Club
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2014, 08:20:21 AM »
^"Dungarees are not allowed at Bushwood Sir..."
^
^
« Last Edit: June 07, 2014, 08:22:36 AM by Badfinger »

simms3

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Re: A History of the Florida Yacht Club
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2014, 01:05:20 PM »
The fact that the FYC has many different races, creeds and is a more diverse place, with a summer program of prospective new members, shows it is indeed growing, as opposed to your slanted view that it is "in a dry spell". Having sat in on many meetings, last year was the first year that the FYC actually had a positive member growth through other members bringing in new members and with a better economy.

Things are looking up at the FYC, I have no clue what they do at TCC, but I do know you cannot wear shorts or flip-flops at TCC inside, what a shame, a private club that prohibits their own members from being comfortable in their own club. Times change, but it would appear that TCC is the only club on the westside river that has yet to change.

That's all great news.  I actually don't have any "views" since I'm not looking to join either club, but I've already acknowledged the great news you and others have said about FYC.  But there was a time when long time members left, either due to the economy, or because there was momentum at TCC (my parents being an example of the latter).

It's discerning to hear about TCC.  I know my parents are very happy there, but they are old-fashioned, I guess (I've bought my dad denim before and he just doesn't even wear it, so he could care less it's not allowed).  All that matters is where your friends are, right?
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Badfinger

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Re: A History of the Florida Yacht Club
« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2014, 05:27:29 PM »
^"Dungarees are not allowed at Bushwood Sir..."
^
^

Looks like I wasted a perfectly good Caddyshack reference.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2014, 05:33:25 PM by Badfinger »