HBYC History

At Hobsons Bay Yacht Club, we are proud of our culture and the development of our clubhouse, yard, marina, and sailing program over the 130 years of our club.

We host about 220 yachts which are an eclectic mix of old and new, fibreglass, steel and timber, ranging from 7ft to 47ft. We have more than 650 members ranging in age from 1 year old to 89 years old. We have full members, family members, crew members, junior members, life members, and social members from all walks of life. We have a thriving working yard where members can usually be found restoring or maintaining their yachts.

We open our doors to the community and pride ourselves on being accessible and diverse. We welcome new members so if you’d love to be a part of HBYC, we’d love to get to know you.

This history page provides a snapshot of the key developments of our club since it was established in 1888.


HBYC established a Committee of volunteers to lead and administer the club.


First race held in May 1888 on the Queen’s Birthday.


A lease was granted for the site on Nelson Place that it continues to occupy.


The first clubhouse was constructed.


We hosted our first Ladies Skippers Race, a race which continues to this day. This is one of the oldest ladies skippers races in the world.


Members of HBYC


Hobsons Bay Yacht Club – 1906

1907 HBYC’s Thistle (Mr. Edgar Newlands) won the first Rudder Cup—Australia’s first ocean race from Melbourne to Launceston.
1914 During World War 1, 33 of the 97 HBYC members enlisted in the war.

Opening Day 1916

1924 HBYC won its first Association Cup with Independence (Mr. Ernest Digby). The Association Cup is contested with other yacht clubs around Port Phillip Bay including Port Melbourne Yacht Club, Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron (St Kilda Yacht Club), Royal Geelong Yacht Club, and Royal Brighton Yacht Club.
1934 The clubhouse was extended to include a hardwood dance floor and fireplace. HBYC was rated as the biggest and best equipped yard of any club in Port Phillip
1939-1945 HBYC members again fought for our country in World War II. The records of members who served were lost in the clubhouse fire of 1951.

The HBYC clubhouse was destroyed by a "spectacular fire" including all records, 45 yachts and 14 dinghies. A new clubhouse was constructed between 1952 and 1957, mostly through the efforts of volunteers.


New clubhouse opened


The slipway was constructed.

1965 Port Phillip Sea Pilots Race established.

An upstairs level was added to the clubhouse.

1973 Wednesday night twilight racing began and this race has been popular ever since.
1974 HBYC became the first keelboat club in Victoria to have a female senior member and boat owner. Dr. Shirley Freeman went on to win many honours at HBYC and was Victoria’s only female ocean racing skipper for many years.
1979 Our first staff were paid.
1980 The HBYC marina was extended to include a Northern Arm. This Northern Arm allowed the club to cater for an additional 60 boats.
1988 100th anniversary celebrations included firing the cannon on The Strand.
2000 Our two-handed race series established.
2013 125th anniversary celebrations included once again firing the cannon on The Strand.

HBYC renovated the clubhouse with a new upstairs bar and family-oriented facilities. The new clubhouse was opened in 2016.

2015 Thursday night twilight racing commenced.
2017 HBYC has 16 Life Members, an honour which is awarded to individuals who have been members for more than 40 consecutive years.
2018 Our story continues... come and be part of the history of Hobsons Bay Yacht Club.
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