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Ormond Beach Observer Sunday, May 15, 2016 5 years ago

Halifax River Yacht Club marks 120 years

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Most members do not own a boat, enjoy social aspect.
by: Wayne Grant Real Estate Editor
The McQuarrie family gathers for a photo on their boat during the anniversary celebration. Shown are Chelsea, 10, Sheri, Bailey, 13, and Mike.

“I call this my waterfront property,” said, Sheri McQuarrie, indicating the boat parked in a slip at Halifax River Yacht Club. She said she’s “landlocked” where she lives on the mainland in Ormond Beach, but the boat gives her access to the water.

“It’s my floating condo,” she said.

McQuarrie is actually in the minority at the yacht club, located just south of Orange Avenue at 331 S. Beach St., Daytona Beach. Most of the 500 members do not own boats.

“It’s a social and networking club,” said Julie Borre, membership director, at the 120th Anniversary Celebration on May 14, where members gathered for a social hour and dinner.

The event included a Sundowner ceremony, a patriotic flag-lowering with officers in uniform and accompanying cannon fire.

Borre said families enjoy the club, which has a swimming pool with tiki bar, because there are activities for all ages, including dances, holiday parties, barbecues and pickleball for adults; and kayaking, sailing and special events for the kids.

There’s also a business aspect to the club. Members can have meetings of their own organization in one of the private rooms.

And, being a yacht club, there are many nautical events, such as the May 27 Gulfstreamer, a sailboat race to Charleston. There are boat excursions to other yacht clubs and races for avid sailors throughout the year. The club brochure says nonboaters in the club often catch a ride with other members.

Much more than sailing

McQuarrie, wife of Past Commodore Mike, called the youth sailing club “amazing.”

“Chelsea started when she was five,” she said. “I didn’t want to make her nervous by watching, but I looked out later and saw her in a boat by herself, sailing.”

The club also offers a youth sailing camp open to the public each summer for ages 8 to 16.

Commodore Glen Wagner and wife, Kelly, pose on their boat during the 120th Anniversary Celebration of Halifax River Yacht Club.

Also from Ormond Beach are present Commodore Glen Wagner and his wife, the first lady, Kelly Wagner.

“The club is an amazing place,” Kelly Wagner said. “When we moved down here I didn’t have a friend. Now I have hundreds of friends. I never had so many in my life.”

The Wagners currently have a 55-foot engine-driven yacht that has four state rooms.

“This boat will go anywhere,” Glen Wagner said. “We hit eight-foot waves and just put the throttle up and went through them.”

But, he mentions he’s had half a dozen boats.

“A boater is always thinking about his next boat,” he said.

Dock in Ormond Beach?

The HRYC is a member of the Florida Council of Yacht Clubs, so they accommodate visitors from other clubs. Of their 39 slips, three are three open for guests.

One recent visitor from Fort Lauderdale, Mike Efford, said he sometimes anchors in the river but also occasionally docks. Asked if people would stop at a dock in Ormond Beach, he said yes, especially if ads were placed in boat publications. Not only would the dock attract long-range travelers, but he believes boaters would travel from Daytona Beach or other nearby cities for lunch.

The city of Ormond Beach is currently applying for grants to possibly build a dock at Cassin Park for day visits.

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