The Shellback Club -Celebrating 83 Years


Jan 10, 2016

Only in Toronto, the very unique Shellback Club is celebrating 83 years and, as usual, they have selected speakers presenting a wide range of nautical and maritime topics. Meeting at the RCYC city side, the club provides meetings loaded with good food, friendly men and women who like nautical topics and interesting informed speakers.

The Shellback Club officially started in February 1934 and met at Eileen Bradley’s Tea House on Adelaide Street but had its roots earlier. Starting in 1924, some of the crews of large racing sailboats from RCYC met weekly in the summer to organize crew duties.

By 1934, these crew meetings had morphed into The Shellback Club, as other sailors from Clubs in the area liked the idea of sharing lunch and sailing lore…and even singing a shanty. To be “Shellback” today only requires attending a lunch meeting and joining everyone in singing a sea shanty.


Location: The location, as in past years, is the RCYC main dining room at 141 St George Street at Prince Arthur (West exit of the St. George TTC station).

Timing: We start promptly at 1215 hours and finish about 1330 – 1345 hours. The guest speaker starts about 1245 hours.
Come early to enjoy the company and a beverage. All the usual beverages are available at Club prices.

Seating and Dress: There are no prearranged tables and dress is mostly smart casual.

Costs: Lunch costs $23.00 including all taxes and service. Lunch is 3 courses of soup, a main item, desert and tea or coffee.
We suggest $2 for the Dory, which includes a ticket to win, if you’re lucky, a nautical book in the weekly book draw. There are no annual fees or initiation fees.
Once a year, we suggest a $20 contribution to pay for basic communication costs and the minimal costs of operation. Funds not needed each year are donated to local youth sailing charities.

Guests: Guests are always welcome. Membership at the RCYC is not necessary and confirmation regarding attendance is not required for Shellbacks or guests. Come when the spirit or the topic moves you but come often!

Meeting Dates: The 83rd Shellback year continues with these presentations:

January 18th: Janet Peters shares the often-humorous story of The Reluctant Sailor and what she learned during the voyage.

January 25th: Sally & Noel Lien and Dianne Leggatt will regale us with their adventures sailing around Ireland last summer.

February 1st: Krystyn Tully, ofLake OntarioWaterkeeper, will speak about the Navigation Protection Act (formerly the Navigable Waters Protection Act), one of Canada’s oldest laws, and the five recommendations it made in November to the Government of Canada. Until 2009, the law remained substantially unchanged, when sweeping changes to the legislation eliminated protections for the majority of navigable waters in Canada and focused the law on specific acts of navigation on waters of interest to the federal government.

February 8th: Bob Benner & Connie Van Busselhave titled their talk: “Sailing Backwards – Sort of the Canadian Way”. They will cover such episodes as disasters aboard, health care abroad, sex on a boat and baksheesh among a few more.

February 15th: Moira & John Coulle, return to tell us more of their adventures aboard Geneveve.

February 22nd: Peter Aykroyd will share with us the history of the fascinating Aykroyd Dinghy and the fleets today.

March 1st: TBA

March 8th: TBA

March 15th: TBA

March 22nd: Carolyn O’Neil will speak about Great Lakes Awareness and recent policies with respect to the lakes.

March 29th: Beverley Darville, Archivist at the RCYC, will speak about the steamships that frequented Lake Ontario during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

April 5th: Aubrey & Judith Millard, will share their adventures Living the Dream Part 1 – Toronto, to Antigua via the Mississippi, UK and Europe…. And how long did that little journey take, I wonder.

April 12th: Stephen & Fran Hill will speak about their Down East Circle Route sailing adventures in on their 37′ Nordic Tug named Tug’n The started in the Trent Severn Waterway, made their way east to PEI and returned to their home base on Georgian Bay. They love to include historical detail of the places they visit.


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