THE FIRST DECADE A general meeting was held on April 17th 1959, to reorganize the old Boat Club into what exists today as the Dryden Yacht Club. An executive consisting of a Commodore, Secretary and Treasurer was elected and the stated object of the new Club was to: “to promote and encourage all boating activities, such as sailing, motor boating, canoeing, rowing, swimming and other kindred water sports, and to buy, sell, mortgage, pledge and deal generally in such real and personal estate as may be necessary and convenient to the furtherance of the said object.”
The Dryden Paper Company, at a cost of $3,449.31, had built a dock over the winter on the eastern end of Partridge Island for the use of Club members and a shareholding-type of membership was adopted, both as a means of raising money for buildings and as a legal means of eventually purchasing the dock from the company. That first year, ten shares were issued at $100/share. A full membership cost $25, and 1959 had a membership list of 16 paid-up members with the majority of those participating in weekly sailing races. Races were held on Sundays and used a scoring system of one point for finishing a race, plus one point for each boat beaten. The winner of the racing series for 1959 was Dr. George Bilsbarrow with a total of 99 points.
The Blue Jay was adopted as the club boat and along with the GP 14’s, these two classes made up the sailing fleet. The GP 14’s, imported in kit form from Bell Woodworking Co. Ltd. of Leicester, England were to become very popular and by 1961, the fleet had grown to 11 boats. The membership also grew and the list had expanded to 37 in 1960 and to 51 members by 1961. The Dryden Yacht Club was now well established and sailing in Dryden was growing more popular each year.
The Club’s relationship with the Company was clarified with the agreement to a lease dated January, 1961, granting the club the use of the property and buildings for a ten year period from May 1, 1960 to April 30, 1970.
The years of 1963 and 1964 saw the construction of floating docks to accommodate the increasing membership and equally important, the installation of a septic field and construction of a power line crossing W. Self’s property from Van Horne Avenue. The DYC Constitution also underwent revisions in 1964. The Club had operated under a constitution for the last five years which granted the right to vote on matters concerning finance and property only to the original ten shareholding members. It was assumed these original members would remain active and available in the area. It was moved that the constitution be reviewed in relation to Incorporation of the Club and necessary amendments to the constitution be made. By April of the next year, the club received its Corporation charter and Seal and was now in a position to make an agreement with Dryden Paper Company Ltd. as a legal entity. This new arrangement resulted in the negotiation of a new 25 year lease with the Company, to last from 1965 to 1990. Also the executive was expanded to include Commodore, Vice-commodore, Fleet Captain, Secretary-Treasurer, four Directors, plus one representative from the Women Members and Associate Members.
The mid-1960’s also saw the formation of a junior sailing club. The club used the Sabot-class of boat and regular races were held separate from the senior racing. This proved to be a safe and relatively cheap introduction to sailing for the junior members.
The first decade was highlighted by several major events. The first being the restructuring of the old Boat Club into the Dryden yacht Club and then in 1964, the Incorporation of the Club, construction of docks and improvements to the clubhouse (including installation of the septic field) and running power from Van Horne Avenue.
THE SECOND DECADE The second decade began with the membership stabilized at around 50 members, but the sailing focus began shifting from the smaller boats to larger keelboats. The change was a gradual one, to say the least. In 1974, there were only five sailboats and, at the start of the season, there were no races scheduled. However, the move to larger boats, both power and sail, necessitated improvements to the docks and dredging of the harbour in 1975.
A more permanent harbour was becoming a necessity and 1977 saw the most ambitious changes to the docking facilities to date. A gravel causeway was built inside the existing dock and along the east side to create an inland harbour. Material for the project included 3500 yards of boulder fill, 135 piles and 200 pieces of old boom timbers. This was perhaps the biggest step taken by the club, as it required a loan of $15,000 from the bank. A major step considering that annual income from membership dues at the time amounted to approximately $4,000. The first SOBIR races were also held in 1977 and are still part of the sailing schedule today.
The financial situation was remedied by the receipt of a Wintario grant, amounting to over $16,000 in the fall of 1977. This not only paid off the existing bank loan but also allowed for renovations to the clubhouse. In fact, the Wintario lottery and its system of grants opened up all kinds of possibilities for the Dryden Yacht Club. Sights could be set much higher as far as improvements to docking facilities and the clubhouse were concerned.
THE THIRD DECADE By 1980, the Company was no longer booming logs on the lake and so consequently no longer contracted to service the navigational aids on Wabigoon and Dinorwic lakes. This led to a concerted effort by the Club to have the lakes surveyed by the Canadian Hydrographic Service. In response to these efforts, the Government committed to begin surveying in 1985; however by 1985, a lack of funding was cited as the reason for not proceeding with the project. This unsatisfactory situation remains to this day and has resulted in damage to both sail and power boats.
Also by 1980, interest in sailing began to build again, as the Club had more sailboats than it had had in recent years. The enthusiasm was there but organization was still lacking. The beginning of the decade saw the continuation of improvements to the clubhouse and harbour. The major project in 1982 was the building of a new septic field to replace the first one built years earlier. The harbour also needed upkeep and in 1984 a more permanent solution was sought with the purchase of metal sheet piling. The north shore wall was the first section of the harbour to be done and was completed in 1987-1988. The short (centre) dock was also rebuilt during this period. The restoration of the harbour facilities was now the Club’s long term priority goal.
The enthusiasm for sailing now also had organization and Wednesday night racing became a fixture for the racing crowd.
THE FOURTH DECADE The Club was now entering its fourth decade and the progression into the 1990’s was marked by the election of Bonny Burns as Commodore for 1991-1992; the first woman Commodore in the Club’s history. Transition into the new decade also saw the expiration of the old 25 year agreement with the Company. So on October 1st, 1993 a new ten year agreement was struck between the two parties. The Company still required a facility for the support of the 25 Year Club and other Company functions from time to time while the Yacht Club still had use of the property. However, the new agreement required an annual contribution to property expenses calculated on a per member basis. This new arrangement secured the future of the Club and with continued improvements to the harbour and clubhouse, Dryden had the foundation for a first class facility. The founders of the club in 1959 would be pleased that their vision has progressed so well.
PAST COMMODORES 1959 George Bilsbarrow 1960 George Bilsbarrow 1961 George Bilsbarrow 1962 K. Neilsen 1963 D.Y. Anderson 1964 Tommy Jones 1965 Dick McDonald Jr. 1966 Carden Wells 1967 Keith Robinson 1968 Ian Douglas 1969 Harry Squire 1970 Rollie Swan 1971 Rollie Swan 1972 Bob Bridgewater 1973 Bob Bridgewater 1974 Glen Hamilton 1975 Glen Hamilton 1976 Barry Shepherd 1977 Barry Shepherd 1978 Mike Bilsbarrow 1979 Mike Bilsbarrow 1980 Russel Raslask – Roy Wilson – Robert Blair 1981 Robert Blair 1982 Carl Eisener 1983 Will Vermeer 1984 Will Vermeer 1985 Doug Smith 1986 Doug Smith 1987 Robert Beasant 1988 Robert Beasant 1989 Terry Kluke 1990 Terry Kluke 1991 Bonnie Burns 1992 Bonnie Burns 1993 Randy Mc Monagle 1994 Randy McMonagle 1995 Carl Eisener 1996 Carl Eisener 1997 Carl Eisener 1998 Garry Fuerst 1999 Garry Fuerst 2000 Garry Fuerst 2001 Fred Van Vogt 2002 Fred Van Vogt 2003 Fred Van Vogt 2004 Bob Skene 2005 Bob Skene 2006 Bob Skene 2007 Bruce Taylor