This page is part of © FOTW Flags Of The World website

Brooklyn Yacht Club, New York (U.S.)

Last modified: 2020-05-17 by rick wyatt
Keywords: brooklyn yacht club | united states yacht club | new york |
Links: FOTW homepage | search | disclaimer and copyright | write us | mirrors

[Brooklyn Yacht Club] image by Ivan Sache, 19 December 2019

See also:

Description of the flag

The Brooklyn Yacht Club, organized in 1857, was incorporated on 5 April 1864. The club disappeared at an unknown date between the two World Wars. The modern Brooklyn Yacht Club, established in 1946, does not appear to be connected with the original one.

On 10 October 1877, Club's Commodore John S. Dickerson informed James O. Woodruff that "the Brooklyn Yacht Club, by an unanimous vote, have authorized me to permit you to fly the 'Club Flag' during your cruise around the World on a scientific expedition [...] and would ask that this flag be preserved and given to the club as a memento of a great and important achievement".

The preliminary announcement of the "scientific expedition around the world" stated: "The Expedition will fly the flag, and adopt the uniform of the Brooklyn Yacht Club". The expedition, indeed "a university at sea" for 200-250 paying students and 10 invited professors, was postponed and eventually cancelled in 1879.
Ivan Sache, 19 December 2019

At Atlantic Yacht Club is mentioned that in 1866 the Atlantic Yacht Club was founded by members of the Brooklyn. That would appear a rather early development, but with Lloyd's 1903 confirming that the Brooklyn was in fact from 1857, splitting off in 1866 doesn't seem as unlikely any more.

By 1896, the same flag was shown in the American Yacht List, but this time the page also contains four officer's flags. Commodore: Blue, a centred white upright five-pointed star with a circle of 13 smaller such stars pointing outward around it. Vice Commodore: Red background but otherwise the same design. Rear Commodore: Reversed from Vice Commodore, but with a narrow red border along the free edges. Fleet Captain: Blue, a star as from the Commodore's flag in the upper hoist.

Lloyd's Register for British and Foreign Shipping - Yacht Register 1902-1903 still shows that same design. Then a different burgee appears in Lloyd's 1903: us~ycbkl857.gif. So far, I've been unable to find a reason for this change.

In 1911, Motor Boating writes about the Brooklyn's history, how it's the oldest incorporated Yacht Club in the USA, (1864, which is before the NYYC, 1865), and how internal disagreements have have caused multiple splits. It then reports the club have decided to change their name to "National Yacht Club". Indeed, in 1912 the club is listed as the "National Yacht Club" and "(Formerly Brooklyn Yacht Club)", with the same burgee.

Lloyd's 1914, however, only lists a club called "Brooklyn Yacht Club", and while it shows the Red, White, and Blue burgee, the description points the reader to a late entry, where the "Brooklyn Yacht Club" is once again represented by the white star on red. In 1917, these are still the name and the burgee, according to Lloyd's.

Brooklyn Yacht Club Ia
I'm not certain what happened to the club after that, though it would seem telling that the Bermuda race, which was originally organised by the Brooklyn, did not return to New York after the War. However, Lloyd's 1927 and later still showed a Brooklyn Yacht Club white star on red. This may have been a continuation or recreation or a re-establishment of the original club.

By 1949, Lloyd's lists two Brooklyn Yacht Clubs: One the star on red, and the other a burgee blue before red per hoistward chevron with a centred white capital B, and smaller white capital Y at the hoist and C at the fly.

In 1950, neither of the two is shown in Lloyd's. Then in 1951, Lloyd's shows the blue-yellow burgee shown above. By 1954, it's no longer shown. In Lloyd's 1963, the Brooklyn Yacht club of 1946 is listed for the address of the current BYC, making it likely the 1951 burgee belongs with the current club, even if they don't picture a burgee themselves.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 1 July 2019

Signals of The Brooklyn Yacht Club

The signals of The Brooklyn Yacht Club are prescribed in Article VIII of the club's By-Laws.


[Brooklyn Yacht Club] image by Ivan Sache, 19 December 2019

Sec. 2. The Club burgee shall be a broad-pointed flag of red ground, with a five-pointed white star in the center, and be carried at mast-head or peak. Its length shall be one inch for every foot of length on deck of the yacht, and the base or hoist two-thirds of its length.

Commodore's pennant

[Brooklyn Yacht Club] image by Ivan Sache, 19 December 2019

Sec. 3. The Commodore's pennant shall be rectangular, one and one-half inches for every foot of deck length, width two-thirds of its length; it will be of blue ground, with large white five-pointed star in center, surrounded with thirteen smaller five-pointed white stars.

Vice-Commodore's pennant

[Brooklyn Yacht Club] image by Ivan Sache, 19 December 2019

The Vice-Commodore's pennant shall be the same as Commodore's, excepting the ground be red.

Rear-Commodore's pennant

[Brooklyn Yacht Club] image by Ivan Sache, 19 December 2019

The Rear-Commodore's pennant shall be the same as Commodore's, excepting the ground be white and the star be red.

Pennant of the Senior Captain

[Brooklyn Yacht Club] image by Ivan Sache, 19 December 2019

The pennant of the Senior Captain, when acting Rear Commodore, shall be the same as Commodore's, excepting without any stars.
Size of all the flag officers' pennants shall be determined as prescribed by Commodore.
[The color plate indeed shows a blue flag with a white star in canton for the Fleet Captain].

Sec. 4. The night signal of the Club is Coston's patent signal, showing red, white, green and red in succession.

Sec. 5. Members' private signals shall be swallow-tailed, and of less breadth at end than at hoist; size: one and one half inch for every foot of deck length; width at hoist two-thirds its length. May be of any color or device desired by the members; but the device must not be a symbol of any yacht, as the signal is intended to represent the man, not a boat, and the device must not be a copy of any registered private signal of members of any clubs in New York or eastern waters. A duplicate of the signal selected must be made twenty-four inches long on paper, and colored true to the signal, and deposited with the Secretary of the Club, to remain its property.
Private signals must be shown when signaled by another yacht.

Sec. 6. Each enrolled yacht shall have its name legibly painted on outside the stern, and shall carry private signal of owner when under way (provided duplication has been filed with Secretary of the Club); in the absence of private signal shall carry the Club burgee while under way. Every yacht may carry the American Yacht Ensign adopted by act of Congress and approved by Secretary of Navy.

The Brooklyn Yacht Club Constitution and By-Laws, adopted April 23rd 1890

The burgee is shown by different sources of the time:

The American Yacht List 1874 shows the burgee with the star tilted to the upper hoist:
In The American Yacht List 1875, the star is more centered and hardly tilted:
The American Yacht List 1881 shows the "standard" burgee:
A tobacco card from the T59 Flags of all Nations series (1910/1911) shows the burgee of the Brooklyn Yacht Club with two blue triangles placed along the hoist, a white chevron and the burgee's point red with a white star:

Burgee as represented, slightly erroneously, in The American Ship List 1874:
[Brooklyn Yacht Club] image by Ivan Sache, 19 December 2019

Burgee as erroneously represented on a T59 Flags of all Nations tobacco card:
[Brooklyn Yacht Club] image by Ivan Sache, 19 December 2019