The Borden Yacht Club – Who knew?

Crossing the Confederation Bridge one can still catch a glimpse of the extensive breakwaters which once sheltered the steamers and the rail and vehicle transfer ramps for the Port Borden – Cape Tormentine ferry service linking Prince Edward Island with the mainland.  Today the site is occupied by a fish processing plant and access to the dock is closed. Nearby is a fishing dock used by the seasonal lobster fishers. One rarely spots a sailing boat (or any other type of pleasure boat) except in the rare case where one comes in to seek shelter from the storm.

However 75 years ago it was a different vista. The impressive steam-powered ramps towered over the wharf and the S.S. Charlottetown stood ready for its schedule of regular voyages to the mainland with the S.S. Prince Edward Island tied up in reserve. More surprisingly was the collection of yachts which made up the fleet of the Borden Yacht Club.

A number of races involving Borden boats had been held in 1935 and at the end of the season it was reported that yachtsmen in that location would be forming a club in the following year.  In 1936 yachts from Borden participated in the Shediac Regatta and the club was mentioned with the Summerside races.  In May of 1937 the launch of the 30-foot Juanita built by Mayor Leard for J. Leroy Sherry brought the fleet up to 5 boats as the Juanita joined Capt. McGuire’s yawl Maple Leaf, J. Athol Woodside’s Noreen, Mayor Leard’s North Wind and Lady Sybil owned by Thos. Paquet.

Borden2The Club was a participant in the formation of the Northumberland Strait Yacht Racing Association in 1937 and prior to the first regatta of the Association to be held in Pictou, Borden Commodore A.P. Cerretti announced the creation of the first trophy for inter-port racing on the Strait. The Terraplane Cup was to be awarded as a challenge trophy to be raced for from Borden to the port holding the NSYRA annual regatta. until won by the same owner three times.  For 1937 the race would be from Borden to Pictou beginning on 3 July.  In 1938 the race course was from Borden to Charlottetown and in 1939 from Borden to Shediac.  Terraplane was the name of a car built by the Hudson Motor Car Company. The name was also used by the Borden baseball team of the same era and may have been linked to a car dealer who provided sponsorship for both the team and the yacht race.

The annual meeting of the Borden Club early in 1938 proclaimed a successful year. Borden alternated with the Summerside Yacht Club in the hosting of races and the success of the NSYRA for regattas and long distance races to Shediac and Pictou were noted as triumphs for the new organization. The 1937 Terraplane Cup had been won by Zephyr, designed and built by Borden Mayor Willard Leard. It appears from the meeting notes that most of the officers of the Club were associated with the Canadian National Railway Ferry operations at Borden.

On the eve of the 1938 Terraplane Cup race more than fifty visiting yachtsmen sat down to a banquet and dance at Borden’s Abegweit Hotel. The dinner followed a race under the auspices of the Borden Yacht Club which was won by the Goldfinch of the Summerside Yacht Club under the helm of Capt. Stright.  Early the next morning 20 yachts departed for the NSYRA Regatta in Charlottetown.

BordenBoats from Charlottetown. Summerside, Shediac and Borden were present at the 1939 Borden Annual Regatta. Two races were held, one for Classes 4, 5, and 6 boats and a race for the smaller Class 3 boats which were the standard boats for the Northumberland Strait Yacht Racing Association. The meet was followed by a banquet at the Abegweit Hotel where the yachtsmen were treated to speeches from Commodore Cerretti from Borden. Commodore Morris of Charlottetown, Commodore Campbell from Summerside and Commodore Storey from Shediac as well as Captain John Read of the S.S. Charlottetown and Captain Basil Kelly of the Canadian Government Steamer Brant.

The documentary record of the Borden Yacht Club seems to come to an end after the 1939 season. Certainly yachting activities were suspended in many ports for the duration of the war but there is no evidence that they were resumed in Borden after 1945.

I would be glad to have any other information about the Borden Club including photos of any of the boats mentioned.  The Terraplane Cup  appears to have joined the large fleet of missing yachting trophies.

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6 thoughts on “The Borden Yacht Club – Who knew?

  1. Kathy Kennedy

    Commodore Storey from the Shediac Club is likely the grandfather of my sister in law, think there is great history in the old family homestead in Petiete Rivere, NS

    Reply
  2. Pingback: Mac Irwin and the origins of Northumberland Strait yacht racing | Sailstrait

  3. James Leard

    I have some sailing pictures available from Willard Leard’s old collection.

    Reply
  4. Pingback: Northumberland Strait Yacht Racing Continued into Wartime | Sailstrait

  5. Pingback: “The Prettiest Boat on the Straits” | Sailstrait

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