506 532-7007         Shediac Bay Yacht Club         club@sbyc.ca

SBYC - History

Contributed by Michael Dunn

In 1988-89, a massive flagpole 30 metes high was built by a group of SBYC boaters. This structure is reputed to be the second tallest nautical flagpole in Canada, second only to Halifax Citadel.

In the mid-70s, boaters from SBYC and elsewhere conceived the idea of a marina, to better accommodate local boaters. Ray Carsen, Robert Cormier and Myron Mitton spearheaded the move, and a landfill was created east of the Pointe-du-Chêne Wharf. The newly created basin became the home of the Pointe-du-Chêne Yacht Club, which opened in 1977.

Later in the 70s, SBYC boaters came to a similar decision, and with the assistance of the Town of Shediac and the Government of Canada, in 1983 a breakwater was built to the east of the old wharf and the dredging spoils used to develop a landfill in front of the old clubhouse, bounded on the west by the Pleasant Street extension. A Berth Lease Offer was made to the boaters April 19, 1982. Docks were leased to the boaters and the first boats tied up to the new docks in 1984. The Shediac Lobster Festival assumed control and management of the marina. As a result of a property tax settlement with the Town of Shediac regarding the SBYC building and property lots, in 1990, the Town itself took full control of the Port de Plaisance de Shediac Inc./Shediac Municipal Marina Inc., aka Shediac Bay Marina.

Incidentally, while construction of the marina was going on, a private entity was also proposing a Condo/Marina project, just to our west between Weldon & Comeau streets. The project was eventually abandoned:

Newspaper clippings and dock layouts from the early years of our marina:

  Aerial photo of marina, circa 1990.

Incidentally, in 1982 approaches were made by the Town to CN Marine, the purpose being to obtain the old ABEGWEIT ferry to use as either a Yacht Club (?) or even house the Municipal offices. Ironically, the ABBY did indeed become a Yacht Club - the Columbia Yacht Club in Chicago - have a look at the ABBY now!

Shediac area sailors continued their keen interest in racing. Two new organizations were formed to regulate and manage racing in the Strait and in Shediac Bay - the Northumberland Strait Yachting Association and the Shediac Bay Yacht Racing Association.

Many boaters moved up in size, with a number of power yachts over 40' appearing.

In 1985, Able Sail/Handi-Voile was formed by local boaters, and is now the oldest active sailing organization for persons with disabilities in Canada. Since its formation, Able Sail and its boats have been guests of SBYC.

In the mid-90s, an organization of boaters (Friends of the Recreational and Sporting waters of Shediac Bay Inc.) was formed with the aim of erecting a fixed 7.5 ton jibcrane, to facilitate the launching and haulout of sailboats. This device was a major improvement over the previous system of using a highway crane or boom truck at an off-site location.

In the mid 2000s The 'tit Bateau program came to reside at our Club. 'tit Bateau is an association of survivors of breast cancer, who compete with similar Canadian programs on Dragon boats. The paddlers of 'tit Bateau also travel to competitions in other countries.

On December 21, 2010, a severe storm surge destroyed the old wharf and the pump-out station, and damaged a large number of docks. Rehabilitation of the marina began in the spring of 2011, with repair of the slip, replacement of the pump-out and purchase of new main docks.

After successful negotiation with the Town of Shediac led by Commodore Bill Slater during 2009-10, SBYC members took control of the marina January 1, 2011.

At the AGM October 27 2011, Michael Dunn was elected as our 55th. Commodore.

In February, 2012, at a Special General Meeting of Members, a "Infrastructure Rehabilitation Fund" (originally called a "contingency fund") was established, to help finance a major Marina Rehabilitation Plan which the members passed unanimously. By mid-August, a new dock electrical system (15 & 30 amps) had been installed by Roadway Systems, and the main breakwater rebuild (Luko Construction - Luke Hickey) was completed September 14.

   Moncton Times & Transcript July 2, 2012.

   Moncton Times & Transcript January 25 2013.

In an attempt to avoid the costs of removing and replacing docks each fall and spring, the docks were left in the water the winter of 2012-2013 to be kept free of ice using electrical de-icers. This has become our normal practice each winter.

On October 3, 2012, the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization approved our claim for infrastructure repairs done to reverse the damage caused by the storm December 21, 2010. We received a bank draft for $228,930.48 October 10.

At the AGM October 13, 2012, Michael Dunn was reelected Commodore. A motion was unanimously passed to merge the two companies - "Port de Plaisance de Shediac inc./Shediac Municipal Marina Inc." (including "Shediac Bay Marina") and "The Shediac Bay Yacht Club Limited" into one single entity. The amalgamation was completed March 22, 2013, and the new company became "Shediac Bay Yacht Club Ltd./Yacht Club de la Baie de Shediac Ltée." Our new name better reflects what we were in the past and what we are again today. This change is especially significant as 2013 is the 80th anniversary of SBYC's original incorporation - September 22, 1933.

By-law # 1 of the new company was approved at a Special General Meeting in June. 2013. Physical improvements were made to the Sailing School (new roof, washrooms etc.). Thanks to inmates from Westmorland Institution who work with us each spring and fall, all buildings were painted and many other repairs completed. The old pumpout building was reborn as our welcome sign (the little lighthouse), with the new pumpout building relocated to a more convenient and less visually obstructive location. In September, the Town of Shediac began work on an adjacent park.

Replacement of old docks continued. The public parking lot was elevated and drainage improved, the Members' parking lot was paved and fenced and a card operated gate installed. Renovations were started on the "Interpretation Centre" (temporarily renamed building "A"). The four old storage sheds were sold and replaced with a 54' long "high cube container".

In October 2013 remediation of the old barge - sides removed and entire structure covered with rock - resulted in a new west breakwater:

At the AGM October 26 2013, Georges Léger was elected as our 56th. Commodore.

Planning for repair of the boat slip was done in the fall of 2014, the work to be done before our 2015 opening. The slip is the last "major" project to be done. A number of the old 24' docks will be replaced yearly.

Our neighbour - the Parc John Lyons Park opened October 18, 2014.

At the AGM October 18, 2014, Georges Léger was reelected Commodore.

More than a "parking lot" for boats, SBYC has once again become a real club, a community of people with similar interests. Yes, we have made many improvements in the physical and fiscal structures. But not to be ignored is the rebirth of the spirit of the club, exemplified by the willingness of so many Members to help out, and by the many social activities we hold each season.

In June, 2015, the boat slip was extended by 16', using two prefab concrete slabs. This will prevent boat trailer wheels from dropping off the end of the ramp.

The remains of the old wharf were restored in recognition of the important role this wharf played in over a century of Shediac history.

Over the last 3 years, the capacity of our marina increased to 170 berths. As of May, 2015, 169 berths were occupied and all fees paid by Senior Members (long-term leaseholders) or seasonal renters.

Also in June, each of our buildings was given a name in part to reflect the history of specific members or families who have been instrumental in our development as a club:

Previous Name New Name
"Bldg A", "Interpretation Centre" Clubhouse
"Bldg B", Original Clubhouse WDLSun
Sailing School SSchool
Meeting room in Building "A" Lounge
Kitchen in Building "A" Galley
Container Container
Electrical building No. 1 Electric1
Electrical building No. 2 Electric2
Pump out station PumpOut

At the AGM October 24, 2015, Georges Léger was reelected Commodore.

Genesis of Shediac Bay Yacht Club Sailing School
Contributed by Hal deGrace, 2015.02.20

1963 was an exciting sail year for Shediac and Lunenberg:

- February 27 - The keel was laid for Bluenose II in Smith and Rhuland yard.
- During those same early months members of SBYC were making special sail plans of their own. Members - Don Storey, George Cunningham, Ralph DeWare, Fred Fraser, Jake Fisher, Giff Kearns, Murray Wade, Cece MacLeod, the Boudreau brothers and others were planning to launch the club's first formal sailing school - July and August.

Wm. (Bill) Brymer was selected to be the Director/Instructor. His home was Ontario, he was a student in Dentistry at Dalhousie University.

Informal, but on site, was the Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corp RCSCC Moncton to learn from Bill.

- July 24 Bluenose II was launched. The maiden voyage was planned for November but early Jan 1964 had to do.

Now back to Bill, SBYC and the Sailing School. The year was indeed a success. Youth and adults alike benefited.

1964 certainly built on Brymer's successful beginning. The old Club House was made available to the Junior Program. Now fundraising was possible - Canteen, Saturday Night Teen Dances, RCSCC Moncton was now a full member in the program and they were raising funds via sponsoring Sunday Evening Movies at the Skyway Drive-In Theatre. Registration grew, boats increased - it was a busy yard. The Canadian Yachting Associations's (CYA) Junior Standards Program was followed and many Stars were earned.

Harold deGrace was the Director/Instructor. An RCSCC Officer, a hometown 24 yr old.

1965 - This was deGrace's 2nd of two years. The Club and the Sea Cadets started planning the year's Junior, Intermediate and Adult Programs early. Earl Johnson, a spectator only and on the N.B. Technical School Staff began constructing Sabot Prams at home and on campus. Too, a few more Flying Junior boats joined the fleet. deGrace increased his CYA Teaching Certificate to include Intermediate and Adult. A program to develop assistant Junior Instructors was set up and in fact grew to Intermediate. This permitted afternoon and evening Adult Classes on the larger boat donated to the school - a clinker built 22 footer - or similar - possibly named 'Caper'. It was a sloop rig - simple running, well balanced.

The Jul, Aug School got underway. It included hosting and travelling to Class Regattas and for the non-racers over night cruises to Shediac Island. At the close of a day the beach was haul-out to 35 boats, plus the race committee barge, the o/b patrol boat - with a towing post and all! And, not to forget, 'Caper' on a mooring.

Contributed by Mickey Cormier, 1970.04.29

For the last 37 years, the Shediac Bay Yacht Club has been standing proudly, overlooking the waters of Shediac Bay and the beautiful white hulls of its members' yachts.

How did all this start? Well, it was the year 1933, from a dream and idea of Donald H. Cowl from New York and his friend Haliburton Weldon of Shediac, to form and build a yacht club. From the hard work and shares that they sold, a club house was built at the end of what is now called Pleasant St., and they called it the Shediac Bay Yacht Club. Mr. Cowl had the honour of being the founder and first Commodore, serving from 1933 to 1938, and Mr. Weldon, the second Commodore, serving from 1939 to 1945.

The share holders at this time were local people of Shediac and from Moncton, who had summer homes in the area. They were such notable families as, Hon E.A. Smith and his son Donald, Dr. Webster. Avard White, Hon. Judge Allison Dysart, G.W.I. Smith, the Peters and the Sumner family to name a few. From this group of people, sailing and competitive sailboat racing began being recognized in the area. The Club started to challenge other yacht clubs to have regattas. Charlottetown, Summerside, Borden and Pictou were among the clubs that were represented in these meets and every year, they would have the regatta at different places. From these meets, they formed what was called the Northumberland Strait Yacht Association, which went on until some years after the war. The boats they were sailing varied from different sizes, called Class 1, 2 and 3 to Class 5. Some of the most notable sailors from that period from the Shediac Club were the Storey Family, Ernie Boudreau, Bill Atkinson, Dr. Lee Allanach and George Cunningham.

Wartime Slowdown
These races were held and carried on until the war started, then when a lot of these people were called for duty, things began to slow down, with only a handful of sailors left behind. Special thanks should go to people like Donald Smith, Averard White, Bill Douglas and other faithful sailors for keeping the club alive during these unforgettable hard years.

As soon as the war was over, activity started to pick up, with the men coming back from the war. There were new and younger members, some of them sons of the original shareholders and some of them just interested in sailing.

Racing was back to normal. Racing was held more often as there were more boats, mostly class 3, which were 22 feet and the famous 16 foot Snipe that was becoming popular all over the world. Meanwhile, the club house social activity was at its best; dancing to the beat of jazz bands, special suppers and special events such as a cruise on a motor-cruiser for members who did not have their own boats.

This period of time gave the club its best years of sailboat racing and developed its best sailors, with the majority of them, such as Gene Boudreau, Fred Fraser, Bill Crandall, Jake Fisher, Clifford Price, Tommy Wather, Dr. Ackman, Don Storey, George Cunningham, John Rick, Dr. Peter lyons, Dr. Dysart and many more still racing and sailing boats.

By the end of 1950, more boats and members were getting into the action, and the club house was getting older and smaller every day. Dancing and other activities were often held and the Club could not handle it because of its size, so talk began of building a new club house. In 1960-1961, a long sleek, nautical looking structure (designed by Roméo Savoie, architect and first modern professional Acadian painter) was erected under the commodorship of R. Lloyd Parsons.

Races Outside
By this time, the Class 3 boats had almost vanished. Larger and bigger boats of a different class, made of a better material and faster moving through the water were introduced. But the Snipe, by this time, had become nationalized and many Class 3 sailors were now sailing these in national competition across Canada. Skippers and crew from the Shediac Club went as far as Ontario, Halifax, Sydney, Newfoundland and the New England States and in 1962 the Shediac Club had the honour of having the Dominion of Canada Snipe Championships held in Shediac. These were the best sailors in the Dominion of Canada and the event was a great success and repeated in 1968.

During this time of Snipe popularity, the Yacht Club had increased membership and boats of all classes were filling the Bay in front of the Club. By 1964, the bigger boats, which had never ceased to have their own races, wanted to have longer races, so they organized a race with the Charlottetown Yacht Club. This was to be held at night, starting from Shediac and finishing in Charlotteotwn the next day. There were 12 boats in this event, the first year, varying in size from 25ft to 35ft. Last year (1969) there were 40 that registered from as far as the United States, Halifax, Mahone Bay, Summerside, Shediac and Charlottetown.

Sailing School
Since the new Yacht Club was built, a sailing school for junior sailors has been formed from the interest and hard work of John Storey, who was the main person involved in organizing the school (I would like to mention that John is the grandson of Frank W. Storey who was the third Commodore and one of the original sailors of this Club). John has gone a long way in sailing with the school and he is now president of the National Snipe Organization of Canada.

The sailing school has proven itself that it is going to be the back-bone for the future of the Yacht Club by teaching the new techniques in sailing and boat handling to the young members. So far it has sent young boys like Scotty Fraser to western Canada to sail in national regattas with various types of boats. It has also sent William DeNeiverville to represent New Brunswick in the Canada Games and to come home with the only gold medal for New Brunswick. Also in the same event, three of our best senior sailors, Gene Boudreau, Fred Fraser and Norman Thurrott were representing New Brunswick in the 3 man Soling. This only proves that in the last 36 years, the Shediac Bay Yacht Club has produced some of the best sailors in the province.

Now there are about 55 boats moored in the water. These boats range from 16 foot sail boats to 50 foot motor cruisers and there is also a great number of small sailboats and outboard motor boats that are pulled out of the water after every race or pleasure cruise. We have seen that in the last 5 years there has been 10 per cent increase of new boats per year coming to the Yacht Club to make it their home.

Better Mooring
With this increase in boats every year, and new members, the Yacht Club is being forced to plan for the future, and information from last year's Commodore, W.H. Crandall was that the Club would have to provide better mooring facilities so that the boats could stay in the water for a longer period of time, better launching facilities, more security in stormy weather and make it more pleasant for the boat owners to enjoy our already too short summer.

During the existence of the Club its social activities always played an important role. In the last 10 years, for instance, the club had the opportunity to be host to many great personalities such as the Canadian Air Force Acrobatic Team (Golden Hawks), the American Precision Flying Team (Blue Angels), Captains and Officers of different naval ships of the Canadian Navy, the French Navy and the famed Bluenose schooner. Also, many personalities of TV and radio such as Tommy Ambrose, The Travellers, Margo LeFevre from Montreal and many others, including hockey players of different NHL hockey clubs.