Kingston Yacht Club circa 1900

There is a long history of shipbuilding in Kingston from sloops of various sizes, pinks, schooners, and brigs, to Full Square rigged ships. As interest in racing grew, faster designs were built. Two of the most famous boats built were the SPRINTSAIL and CATBOAT. There was so much interest in yachting that groups would gather at the store of Captain John Dawes to talk things over. The gatherings became known as the “Bob Stay Club”.

Spearheaded by the enthusiasm of Capt. Dawes the Kingston Yacht club was created in 1885, and later officially incorporated by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on April 24, 1895. By 1895 KYC had the largest membership of any Yacht Club between Newport and Halifax, N.S. due to the outstanding success of Kingston built boats and it’s daring expert skippers and crews.

A clubhouse was built at the mouth of the Jones River. Rivalry in racing was at a fever pitch and the last week in August became known as Regatta Week in Kingston Bay. The week culminated with a clambake on Gray’s Beach and Formal Ball in the Old Town hall.

Excerpt from a presentation made by Albert H. Holmes to the Jones River Village Club at the Beal Meeting House, March 6, 1954. Photographs courtesy of the Local History Room, Kingston Public Library.