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The History of Queen Charlotte Yacht Club

Joeph (Sandy) BrunsellIn 1936 Sandy Brunsell, a keen sailor and local boat-builder, together with a group of local identities (Les Kenny, postman; Keating Smith, timber merchant; Tom Moore, wood & coal merchant; Captain Barnsdale, ex Harbour-master; Morice Wiffen, boat-builder; Clarie Pickering, tomato grower and Ed Gridler, chemist) formed the Picton Sailing Club. When the town baths closed at Shelley Beach the changing sheds became available and in time became the Club's new home. Idle-a-longs, Takapuna (Z Class) and P Class were the most commonly sailed classes during these early years.

QCYC Burgee

In 1939 the Club was renamed Queen Charlotte Yacht Club. The Club Burgee was a matter of some debate and eventually the design submitted by Captain Joyce was adopted.

Jimmy Norton and Bob Gill work on forming the access way

Until the 1960s there was no road access to the Club, just a narrow walking track. A big fundraising drive was taken up to finance some of the major reclamation where the old swimming baths were and working bees were held taking the bank down to make the parking and rigging area. An old compressor and drill were brought in by barge. The fill was shifted by shovel and wheelbarrow and 44 gallon drums filled with concrete were used to keep the fill in place. It cost £100 to put the road in.

forming road 1 copyThe Clubhouse was originally an army building at the Delta Camp in the Wairau Valley. It was purchased on 30th September 1945 for £250, and moved to its current site. A loan was taken out at 3.5% over 8 years to fund its purchase.

The Clubhouse was then refurbished over the two winters of 1979-80. A starter's box was added and the veranda closed in along the front.


Clubhouse before enclosing the veranda

Captain Fell donated the bell hanging in the Clubrooms to QCYC. It is engraved "Ferriby 1913". The Ferriby, built in Gooley, was a minesweeper in the war and sunk after a collision with the Inter-Island Ferry "Wahini" at Evans Bay on 19th December 1942.


Firing the canon on Opening DayThe canon, fired each Opening Day, is thought to be dated 1814 and has a 6 pound rating. It had been fired at the Coronation of Edward VII in 1901. It was found lying behind a local Picton shop and given to QCYC on permanent loan by Bill Berry.

The flagpole came from the navy convalescent home that was situated at Wedge Point. It was purchased for £12 and erected on 17th December 1955.

To enhance the opportunities for its members, QCYC has hosted many regattas of different classes over the years and has built up a reputation throughout the country as being excellent hosts and running well-organised events.