A SHORT HISTORY of the ERIEAU YACHT CLUB
(Sailing on Rondeau Bay)
In 1844 an extensive public works program was directed by Lord Sydenham to dredge a large sandbar in the entrance to Rondeau Harbour and build piers and a lighthouse. Erieau was declared a Port of Entry.
After the Erie & Huron Railway linked Erieau with Blenheim and Chatham in 1885 the railroad began to sell excess property. Two years later summer cottages began to appear.
A local historian reported that across the bay, Rondeau Park was becoming popular for summer visitors and that sailing craft and motor launches from both sides traversed the placid waters of the Eau.
Racing at Erieau started before the turn of the century beginning with large two-masted schooners that were also used for commercial fishing. Soon sailing dinghies built locally by Pop and Al Weir were the yacht of choice and an Erieau Championship Cup Race was established.
Although there was no known record of a formal organization as we know it today before 1932 those who liked sail boats held regular races on weekends and holidays except during both world wars.
Shortly after WWII a new boat made its appearance on the Bay. It was a flat bottom scow called a Lark. It became very popular and the fleet expanded rapidly at the expense of the dinghy which gradually disappeared.
In 1935 racing for young people was recognized and a junior yacht club was organized and continues to steadily grow even today. Swimming and sailing lessons were soon added to the program.
Social activities are always popular. A new clubhouse in which to hold all these activities was built in 1960. Dances, golf, picnics, banquets, etc are great attractions for adults, children and families throughout the season. A highlight of the summer for everyone is the Pied Piper Parade and Swimming Regatta.
Today Larks, C-Scows, Lasers, 420’s, Picos and Optimists are raced at EYC and at various inter club regattas.