How It All Started

By 1972 there were several keen, but generally inexperienced sailors, who moored boats in Collingwood and of course if there are two boats on the water at the same time, there is a race. By this time, Al Woolnough had outgrown the old wood boat and had purchased an Olympic Class Soling. 

A group of keen sailors decided to host a sailing regatta off Collingwood and invite fellow sailors from Thornbury. The event was won by one of Thornbury’s better sailors, a teacher by the name of Cliff Martin in a Viking 28. 

Encouraged by the increasing interest in sailing in Collingwood, the group decided that they should formalize ourselves and a meeting was held at Al Woolnough’s house on Minnesota St. About 20 enthusiastic people came to that first meeting.

A Steering Committee of three was struck, whose task it was, to develop a constitution and by-laws to allow us to move forward. The Steering Committee consisted of Fred Hunt, owner of the Hunt Marina at Sunset Point, Joe Draper and Al Woolnough. 

Six people officially joined the club that night and have become known as the original six. They were alphabetically assigned seniority:

1) Fran Basset, 2) Rick Black, 3) Joe Draper, 4) Noni Harris, 5) Bob Morrison and 6) Al Woolnough.

Through Charlie Tatham, one of the more experienced sailors at that first meeting, he obtained a copy of the Constitution and By-laws of the Belleville Yacht Club and fashioned CYC’s first Constitution after that.  And they added two important conditions:

  1. That full (voting and having mooring rights) members would be required to live within 25 miles of Collingwood and,
  2. CYC would be a working club with each member being required to perform a minimum number of physical work hours each year or pay additional fees in lieu.

We began to accept members. The agreed initiation fee for the first 25 members was set at $25. Applications began to pour in and before the next meeting, the numbers had well exceeded the magic 25 and in the end, 75 members were accepted at the initial fee. One of our early members Alec Besse, a local lawyer, did the necessary paperwork and CYC was incorporated in 1973.

Barry Loft, the local KFC Franchisee, was the first Commodore, Charlie Tatham, an engineer at Ainley and Assoc., was the first Vice Commodore, and Al Woolnough an engineer also at Ainley and Assoc. was the first Fleet Captain.

And so began the Collingwood Yacht Club with the much-appreciated co-operation of The Collingwood Terminals Ltd., the Manager of which, at the time was Ken Ford.