History of the Dallas Corinthian Yacht Club
By A. B. Patterson, Member #1
The Dallas Corinthian Yacht Club had its beginning on White Rock Lake in Dallas in the nineteen twenties. The Club began as the Dallas Sailing Club and was originally located on the west shore beneath the H. L. Hunt Mansion. The clubhouse burned after a log rolled out of the fireplace following a party. The Club then moved to the east shore of the lake near the site of the present Corinthian Sailing Club. The club had a party to celebrate the opening of the new clubhouse and to honor two members Perry Bass and Dr. Hub Issacks who had moved to the club from Fort Worth. After the opening celebration, a log rolled out of the fireplace which burn the new clubhouse to the ground. The club then moved to the north end of the lake where a new building was built, without a fireplace. [Editors note: The details of the clubhouse locations, events and dates regarding DSC and presented in the main history differ slightly with the description above and were taken from the DSCs Spinnaker publications which were contemporaneous with the events.]
The Dallas Sailing Club was the home of the number one Snipe Fleet and also the number one Snipe, which was built from, plans in the Rudder Magazine. Some of the early members were Howard Chilton, Eugene McDermott and Hugh Jamieson.Sr. The Club built a fleet of club-owned Seagulls, which were designed by Crosby, who had also been responsible for the Snipe. A number of the younger members who had Snipes left the Club and moved to the White Rock Sailing Club and the Corinthian Sailing Club, both of which had active Snipe Fleets. The Dallas Sailing Club replaced its Seagull fleet with seven Lightning class one designs, which were also club boats.
White Rock lake dried up in the early fifties and sailing activities were suspended. The Dallas Sailing Club and the Corinthian Sailing club merged and a new club was formed called the Dallas Corinthian Yacht Club. In 1956 a committee was formed to look for a new yacht club location. All of the lakes in the Dallas area were surveyed and the present location was selected as the only available location with a large protected harbor.
The Charter officers were as follows: A.B. Patterson, Commodore: Al Spading, Vice Commodore: Fritz Glitsch, Jr., Rear Commodore: Harold Pressley, Secretary: and Hugh Jamieson, Jr., Treasurer.
Bud Oglesby, one of the members, was selected to be the architect for the new yacht club building. Al Spalding designed and supervised the building of the "old steel docks:" The docks were launched after each member completed building his own slip. Members' and Club boats were drug through the mud at White Rock Lake and moved to their new docks at Lake Dallas. The first structures consisted of two outhouses and a dressing tent sewn by Sally Townsend out of bed sheets. This was fondly called a "He-She". Fritz Glitsch loaned the club $15,000.00 at 2% interest and construction began. Yacht Club Road was built by the club from Cedar Pine Lane to the present entrance. The original access to the club was via what is now Cedar Pine lane then through the present day boneyard. The first permanent structure completed was a small shed just to the east of the present clubhouse where the caretaker lived until his home was completed. The original caretaker home is now the club office. The swimming pool was built in the mid sixties when a request went out to the club membership for pool construction donations. A group of sixty members responded each giving the club $100. In 1972 the second floor was added to the existing clubhouse, providing the membership with a kitchen and air conditioning for the first time.
The Club began operations in "Old Lake Dallas" before the lower lake filled with water. The Corps of Engineers estimated it would require ten years for the lake to fill. Suddenly, the clouds opened up and the water was going over the spillway at 538' above sea level within a ten-day period. Water came to within 50 feet of the clubhouse and sunfish sailed across the front lawn of the clubhouse. The lake backed up across the road north of the Club near the present Yacht Club Estates and members forded the creek and walked to the Club carrying beer coolers, sailfish and baskets. The causeway at Little Elm was under water and the only entrance to the " Yacht Club Road" was from Highway 380 to the north.
In the early sixties, the Ensign fleet numbering 28 boats soon replaced the Lightning fleet as the largest group of one design boats at DCYC and often hosted the Ensign Southwest Championships. The Longhorn fleet started when the Fort Worth Boat Club decided to replace their club fleet of Longhorns with the Rhodes 19. The Longhorns were custom designed for the Fort Worth Boat Club and were some of the very first fiberglass sailboats ever built. DCYC club member Hugh Berryman ended up with a Longhorn after a raffle win, prompting a group of DCYC members to then buy the entire fleet of eight Longhorns.
The purchase of the fleet of Longhorns sparked other progress at the club. The Longhorn Dock which is now part of dock 3, was designed by Harry Nissen (Leslie Maynard's father) and built by others in the Longhorn fleet. A breakwater was needed to protect the new docks so Joe Schreiber supervised the construction of the fixed breakwater that we have today. The Victory 21 fleet was started in the late sixties by Don Massey. It was common on "race Sunday's" to have 14 Ensigns, 8 Victorys and 6 Longhorns all on the starting line at the same time.
The Club was fortunate to have Arthur P. Nazro as the Commodore of the Texas Yachting Association and area F of the North American Yacht Racing Union (now called U S SAILING). During this period, the Club had quarterfinals and semifinals In the Mallory Cup, Sears Cup, Adams Cup and O'Day Cup, elimination's. The Club also had the 470 Nationals in 1974 and Catalina 22 Nationals in 1975. DCYC has had fleets of the following classes: Lightning, Ensign, Rebel, Longhorn, Tiger Cat Catamaran, Sunfish, Lone Star 16, Victory 21, Thistle, Omega, Auxiliary, 470, Laser, Catalina 22 and now J22's.
The racing of the auxiliary fleet was at its peak during the Seventies with about 35 boats in the fleet. The auxiliary fleet races were held on Saturdays so that they would not interfere with the Sunday one design races. DCYC raced with the Yacht Harbor Sailing Club, which was located at the present Pier 121 marina, and usually provided 50 to 60 boats for weekly races. The highlight during this period was at the Annual DCYC regatta in which 165 boats raced together on a Friday night tune up race. The popularity of the Auxiliary class required the construction of the "Auxiliary dock" which is now part of dock 2 and then the construction of what is now dock 1. The original old steel docks were then completely rebuilt and is now part of dock 4.
A step forward was the merging of DCYC with the Yacht Harbor Sailing Club, which added a young group of approximately 60 members (Jay Colburn and John Finks were then part of this young group). This new group of sailors headed by Dick Leavitt and Chuck Shannon set out to improve the harbor facilities to accommodate all the new boats. They built the present pole bulkhead, floating tire breakwater and added new docks on the end dock 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. The installation of the jib crane was researched and supervised by John Harris in the early eighty's. Since that time, growth has been steady with the addition of new members and club facilities.
Note: What Balfour Patterson does not tell you is that he found the DCYC site in 1955 while visiting the Jopling family who had a lakehouse across the harbor. He was the Commodore of the Dallas Sailing Club when the membership voted to start the Dallas Corinthian Yacht Club and was then voted the first Commodore of this new club. He started the Ensign, the Tiger Cat and Auxiliary Fleets. He built the swimming pool by collecting donations, he was instrumental in the construction of the 2nd floor of the club house and first approached the Yacht Harbor Sailing Club about merging into DCYC.
Roger Hansen provides additional insight into DSC in some notes he prepared while reviewing this history.