The idea of forming a Yacht Club was first conceived by a group of charter members. To generate interest, a sailing race was organized for August 1951. The wind did not attend, but many people did. After several years of gathering interest, thirty people signed up as founding members, each contributing a few dollars. 70 years ago, on June 23, 1953 the Vernon Yacht Club received its charter as a society.
Back then the Vernon Yacht Club was mostly sailors and every year since our sailors invite sailboats from clubs down the lake to participate in a sailing regatta.
In 2001 sailor and Vernon Yacht Club member Dave Ellis turned the annual VYC regatta into the Okanagan Charity Regatta which ran under several volunteer chairpersons and many volunteers for 10 years and was the largest fundraiser for the local United Way during those years. Except for the 2 years during the shutdowns, the sailing regatta has continued every year and in 2022 we had one of our best turnouts at the “Return of The Regatta” races with over 150 participants!
For 2023 the VYC Sailing Fleet is bringing back the Okanagan Charity Regatta in support of beneficiaries who include feeding those most in need in their organizations and programs. The fundraising campaign will focus on organizations and food hubs adapting their services and food programs to meet an increasing demand to reach as many people in need as possible. Some organizations have had a 400 percent increase in demand over the past 3 years and the programs need funding to meet this demand.
The Okanagan Charity Regatta is fundraising for both the United Way BC and for Community Foundation North Okanagan with donations to be divided equally between them. They will distribute the funds to many organizations in and around the Okanagan Valley who are doing all they can to be of service to our communities in need of access to adequate and nutritious food.