The club was formed exclusively for pleasure, recreation, and other similar non profitable purposes which are:
- To encourage the sport of safe boating.
- To promote the science of seamanship and navigation.
- To provide and maintain a suitable club house and
anchorage for the use and recreation of its members.
- To provide generally for the mutual assistance, enjoyment, entertainment and improvement of its members.
CPYC was formed in 1972 when a group of boaters living in Erie and belonging to the Barcelona Yacht Club decided to start a new club closer to home.
Tired of driving thirty miles to attend yacht club meetings and social functions, the group began to solicit prospective members to form a new club. Invitations were sent to lists from Presque Isle Marina and other bay boating facilities to see if anyone would be interested in forming a new Erie, PA yacht club.
A fairly large group of boaters turned out for this initial meeting held at Syd's Cafe on West Eight Street. Those attending the meeting agreed to start a new club and committees were set up to name the club and agree on a structure. Of those at the meeting only I-LYA Commodore Bill Heider and CPYC P/C Ed (Corky) Wienczkowski are still members.
Through the efforts of the Board of Directors, the club wasgranted a charter as a nonprofit corporation by the State of Pennsylvania on August 29, 1973. For the next few years the club existed mostly as a social organization, holding monthly meetings, picnics, dances, and other activities. Soon the members started calling for a facility to call home and a committee was formed to find a suitable site. Bill Heider was named to chair the committee and after spending several months looking over all available property a site was recommended at the foot of Poplar St. The membership agreed on the location and after some negotiations with the Erie-Western-PA Port Authority a long-term lease was signed.
After obtaining the lease, permits were needed from the Pennsylvania DER and the Army Corps of Engineers to put in the docks. This proved to be more difficult than anyone had anticipated resulting in 18 months of negotiations with environmentally conscious government agencies. Finally a permit was granted.
Next a decision had to be made on how to fund and construct the club. Some members wanted to go to a bank and borrow a million dollars and have it built by outside contractors. After much discussion it was decided that in the long run this would be much too expensive and the club would be financially better off to build the club themselves. In order to accomplish this the board voted to assess each member $1,000 to get the project started. From a membership of about 350, approximately 80 stayed on to see the project through. Ground breaking for the club was held on April 15, 1978 with city and port authority officials there to help turn over the ceremonial first shovelful of dirt.
Using the member's money to buy materials and hire a contractor to drive pilings and put the break wall sections into place, the club members and their families, working weekends, vacations, and whenever else they could find the time assembled all the break wall sections, filled the break walls and the main parking area. The members also built all the docks, working through the winter of 1978-79 using the bay ice as a work platform. While some members worked on the docks, others worked on building all the other CPYC facilities.
The first boats moved into the west side of the club in the summer of 1979. That was a tough summer as the east break wall was not finished and the easterly winds made it very rough in the basin. Working through the winter of 79-80 the east break wall was finished and the east side docks were built.
Since that time the tradition of the members building the club has continued. Members have constructed picnic shelters, rebuilt the docks and finger piers using long-lasting materials, laid sidewalks, built a fuel dock and did the landscaping.
It bears pointing out that all of this has been done on a pay-as-you-go basis.
In 1984 it was decided that the club was in good shape both physically and financially and it was time to build a clubhouse. To do this a design was needed along with someone to head up the construction project. The board of directors came up with the plan, John Evans, a member who is also an architect, came up with a design and Herb Olson who worked as a construction foreman was chosen to head the project.
Herb, through his knowledge of construction and a desire for CPYC to have the best clubhouse possible made many modifications to the original plans as the work progressed. Since the work was being done by mostly amateurs, Herb had to exercise a great deal of patience. Fortunately, there were enough talented craftsmen amongst the membership, most of whom were more than willing to donate their time to work on the building, and the project proceeded nearly on schedule. Thanks to Herb's leadership, CPYC's clubhouse turned out to be the fine facility he had envisioned it to be. Upon completion, the club formally dedicated the building to Herbert R. Olson.
With the club completed, the membership turned it's efforts to furnishing it along with a beautification project for the grounds. Work did not stop there, however, the Board of Directors appointed all the past commodores to a long range planning committee to come up with plans for the future of the Commodore Perry Yacht Club.
In 1997, a new lease was negotiated with the Port Authority, giving the club a longer term and more property to the south. This enabled expansion of parking facilities and provided more room for the winter storage of boats.
In 1998 the construction of a new fence began along with efforts to beautify the property in an effort to keep up with the many new developments that are occurring along the Erie waterfront.
In 1999 the club purchased two 40 ft. barges and a Bucyrus Erie Crane with a clam shell bucket. The barges were coupled together to provide a 18 ft. by 40 ft. barge with the crane mounted on it. This will provide the club with the ability to dredge the club basin and and with the expansion of the club.
In 2000 the club members approved an extensive expansion plan including all-new floating docks, a new knee wall and other amenities.
Within 10 years the expansion plan was complete. Today, the club is a state-of-the-art facility and a joy for all its members.
If you have not seen our facilities, please feel free to visit us by either car or boat.