Ephraim Yacht Club: 100 Years

The summer of 2006 will mark the 100th anniversary of the Ephraim Yacht Club (EYC) and its famous Ephraim Regatta. The Ephraim Regatta is the oldest continuous regatta in the United States and it continues to draw many sailors and enthusiasts to Door County’s shores.

July 24th of 1906 was the inception of the charter that included just 23 members including Mr. Henry S. Vail for whom the regatta’s “Vail Cup” is named. Unsurprisingly in our small community, descendants of some of the founders are still in membership today. A family focus was always important to the EYC and from early on families enjoyed not just sailing but canoeing, swimming and power boating as well. Today, family is still number one at the club. The youth sailing program has virtually exploded in the past few years and with the schedule of events including such parties as the Ice Cream Social and the Founder’s Day Cookout, close friends and family ties are part of the club’s tradition.

The EYC dock and clubhouse, located on Hwy 42 in Ephraim, has been the site of the club since 1929 when a certain member took an active interest. Mr. B.D. Thorp built a shore dock and pier in front of his inn for the use of the club. Until that time several attempts at a permanent location had not proven successful. In 1939, a boathouse was purchased and moved to the dock’s location and the clubhouse remains in the same setting today.

Photo courtesy of Ephraim Foundation.

Membership of today’s Ephraim Yacht Club includes a variety of activities. Youth sailing, adult private lessons, ladies bridge or bridge tutorials for anyone, as well as numerous social get-togethers fill the busy summer schedule. Membership cost is $100 per year with a one-time initiation fee of $100. Student rates are available for students under 25 for $25 with no initiation fee.

Festivities for this year’s celebration will include a very special gala on July 22nd held at Maxwelton Braes and a July 29th “boat parade,” which will be open to the entire village of Ephraim as well as boaters from all over the Green Bay and Lake Michigan areas. The yacht club will also be selling commemorative items throughout the season, a comprehensive book detailing the history of the club and the regatta, and a limited edition print entitled “Sailor’s Delight….EYC’s 100th Birthday Celebration” by renowned local artist, Bob Bentley.

This year’s regatta will be held on Saturday, August 5th with a start time of 9:00 am. The celebration continues with the long established “Bratfest” on Saturday evening and the races continuing on Sunday morning. There are few such long-standing traditions alive and well in Door County and this year’s 100th celebration of the Ephraim Yacht Club is proof positive that “there will always be an Ephraim Regatta.”

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