In June 1972, pioneers from the bayside Coronado Cays residential community decided to form a yacht club. Two months later on August 31, a “Formation Day” meeting was held to adopt the Club By-Laws and elect seven directors with Bud Holderness serving as the Club’s first Commodore. Ten days later the Club’s inaugural sail race took place and blossomed into the annual Classic Series of sail races conducted in all seasons of each year. Shortly after, Jeanne and Don Parkinson won the contest to design the club burgee featuring a white seagull on a blue field. In the summer of 1974, the Club’s facilities were enlarged and a patio and guest dock completed.
Through the years, CCYC joined several major yachting associations including the Yacht Racing Union, Southern California Yachting Association (SCYA), and the San Diego Association of Yacht Clubs (SDAYC) which formally inducted the Club into membership at an October 1974 Commissioning Ceremony. By September 1973, the Club moved from donated space in the Montego Village sales office into much larger rented space on Grand Caribe Isle. It remained at this location for the next 21 years. In December of that same year, a group of 30 ladies formed the C-Gulls auxiliary which now numbers well over 100 members. The C-Gulls quickly developed into a fun-loving and very active club support group. To this day, the C-Gulls sponsor numerous social activities for the enjoyment of all club members and host several fund raising activities for making club improvements.
The Club’s sailing and cruising activities developed rapidly with a number of Club sponsored races and raft-ups. On May 11, 1974, the Club hosted its first invitational regatta, a Ranger Roundup.
Over the years, Club members have distinguished themselves both as yachting enthusiasts and competitors. Staff Commodore Don Thoza served as Commodore of SDAYC in 1988 and in 1989 received that organization’s prestigious Alonzo C. Jessop award. In 1986, Staff Commodore Paul Pettit won the same award and was named SDAYC’s Yachtsman of the Year in both 1991 and 1994 for his predicted log racing. Paul has been North American Cruiser Association (NACA) Champion twice in 1994 and 1995 and won the SDAYC John Rumsey award in 1998 for special recognition in yachting outside San Diego County.
Garry Adalian won the NACA High Point Trophy in 2002 and the NACA Championship in 2006. Member Ken Gust was also named Yachtsman of the Year and received the Alonzo C. Jessop Award in 1998 for his development of the Performance Handicap Racing Fleet’s (PHRF) handicapping system. In 2007, Dave and Carmel Fleck, aboard their sailboat Fantasea, were awarded the perpetual trophy for the best decorated Yacht Club boat during the annual holiday celebration known as the San Diego Bay “Parade of Lights” viewed by over 80,000 people each year.
In the summer of 1997, the Club entered the big time of competitive sailing when Shillelagh won the coveted Lipton Cup representing CCYC. This 1903 trophy is the most prestigious and beautiful of all of the inter-club trophies on the west coast. In the years before 1997, the Balboa Yacht Club of Newport Beach pretty much owned the Lipton cup. However, CCYC mounted an extraordinary effort to bring back the cup to San Diego, where it was originally established. After a three-year campaign,Dick and Diane O’Briens’s 35-foot Schock, Shillelagh, prevailed on its third try for the Lipton Cup. The winning CCYC crew brought acclaim to our member’s sailing expertise by beating notable sailors such as Dennis Connor, Dave Ullman, and other top notch world sailors. The victory re-awakened local interest for the Cup with Coronado, San Diego, and Southwestern Yacht Clubs mounting strong challenge campaigns over the recent years. Not to be overshadowed by the sail fleet, several yachts from the club’s power fleet have carried CCYC Rod and Reel members over countless miles of ocean during fishing tournaments.
On September 4, 1993, Commodore Carl Caccamise officiated at ground breaking ceremonies and construction was begun by General Contractor Douglas E. Barnhart. One year later in September 1994, Commodore Bob Tyner presided over the new Clubhouse Grand Opening ceremony attended by virtually the entire Club membership.
In 1997 a very successful fund-raising program, Road to Gold, placed the Club on a firm financial footing. In the fall of that same year, members celebrated the Club’s 25th birthday with a formal Silver Anniversary Ball on August 23; almost exactly 25 years following the initial Formation Day. Completion of the new Clubhouse, with a great view of the south bay, indeed allowed CCYC to expand club activities and allow more members to attend functions from informal barbecues and monthly pool parties to formal sit down dinners.
Today, the Coronado Cays Yacht Club (CCYC) now features live entertainment nearly every Friday during the year. In 2007, in-house food service was brought back to the club with the establishment of the Cays Bistro Dining Restaurant featuring high quality food items at affordable prices.