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History:  Leavitts


Richard and Jane Leavitt

We first discovered DCYC in 1972 while searching for a marina to dock our new auxiliary sailboat, a Coronado 25.  We wanted a marina that was close to North Dallas, so we settled at Pier 121, then known as Yacht Harbor Marina. The only way from northwest Dallas to the lake was up Old Denton Road, and it would have taken us over an hour to get from home to DCYC.  There were only a very few houses in what is now The Colony, and you could get lost getting to DCYC.

After learning to sail a “big” (25’) boat, we joined the Yacht Harbor Sailing Club, which had 84 members, charged $50 per year dues, and everyone raced on Sunday.  We met a number of the DCYC racers on the course, and became friends.  In 1976, Yacht Harbor Marina sold, and the new owners, Pier 121, had a lot of plans, none of which seemed to benefit sailboat owners.  As Commodore of YHSC, I and the flag officers met with the new owners, but got little satisfaction.About the same time the Commodore and some flag officers of DCYC contacted us, and suggested a merger of the two clubs, with YHSC moving to DCYC.  We held a general membership meeting of YHSC, and 63 of the 84 members voted to merge and move.  In the early spring of 1976, the YHSC group bought existing empty slips at DCYC and built approximately 40 new slips, which we added to the ends of the existing docks 1 thru 5.  A drawing was held to determine the order in which the new owners would choose their new docks.  In mid-March we moved en masse.  Those were great racing days, with 3 fleets on the starting line, with 12 to 15 boats per fleet.

The first Commodore of YHSC had been Al Schmidt, and we brought the Al Schmidt Regatta with us when we moved to DCYC.  It was later renamed the Terlingua Regatta.  In 1980 we had the second of two serious droughts in a row, and the lake dried up to the point that the DCYC harbor was totally dry, the boats sat trapped in the dried mud, and the weeds were 3’ high.  Our greatest fear was grass fire, which could have wiped out a hundred boats.  The shoreline was about 100 yards south of the breakwater.
That year I was editor of the Hailer, and as model building has always been a hobby of mine, I inaugurated the “Al Schlitz Regatta” and pushed it in the Hailer.  Obviously a play on the Al Schmidt Regatta, and named for the 12 beer cans used to make the swimming pool size sailboat.  The boats were called “12 liter class” boats.

Of the 63 members of YHSC that moved to DCYC, nearly 30 years of attrition has taken its toll, and Jay Colburn, John Finks, and I are the only remaining members who made the move.  David Patterson’s family was a member of both clubs at the time, but their boats were here at DCYC.
In 1978 Jane and I bought an empty lot on the southwest corner of Yacht Club Road and Cedar Pine Lane, next door to Forrest Garb’s cabin.  The Garb cabin is gone and Leslie Maynard’s home is built there now.  We moved that yellow house from Abrams Road and LBJ in Dallas to our lot for a weekend cabin, and enjoyed it for 9 years.  We only sold the cabin to buy our present home on Cedar Pine Lane, 200 yards from the yacht club.
Prior to the opening of Lake Ray Roberts, our lake conservation level was 515’ above sea level, rather than its present 522’.  The most water we could hope to start the summer with was 7’ lower than our normal level now.  By the end of the summer, the water would be down to 508’, which meant the harbor typically had only 5’ of water over the bottom, and the bottom was covered with old rusted 55 gallon drums, the original flotation of our docks.  During one of the droughts (1980, I believe) we voted to dig out the harbor with bulldozers and front-end loaders.  We managed to remove about 3’ of dirt overall.  That dirt became the parking lot in front of the docks, which used to be a gentle slope that ran from the top of the hill to the waters edge. 

Commodore Art Fekety (circa 1977), parked his brand new Volkswagon on that gentle slope, but some failure of parking technique caused the Volks to head for water.  We discovered that a Volkswagon will float, at least long enough for it get 75’ off shore.
Because of the droughts, in the late 70’s we started a fleet of dinghies that could be sailed in the shallow water.  We brought 5 different dinghies out to the club for members to vote on to determine the one that would be the most appropriate. The selected dinghy was a boat made locally by the Chrysler Boat Company.  The DCEF (Dallas Corinthian Educational Foundation) was formed to give members a way to donate money, tax free, to fund purchases of the dinghies.  A few were bought by individuals, and we soon had a fleet of 13, which were sailed by youngsters and adults alike.

Our first floating breakwater was built then of telephone poles and car tires.  It worked quite well until one of the periods of low water caused
it to go aground, which filled the tires with shale, never to float again.
The long awaited construction of Lake Ray Roberts allowed the Corps to raise Lake Lewisville’s water level 7’ and hopefully has ended our periods of low water.
The road to the yacht club has undergone many changes.  A neighbor on Cedar Pine Lane has had a home here since the late 1930’s, and she remembers when the road was one lane dirt, with several barbed wire gates.  When the road was finally paved prior to 1956, it was of very thin black top.  Driving to DCYC  involved a lot of weaving on both sides of the road to miss the gigantic potholes.  We had work-parties just to fill potholes with rocks and dirt.  Oak Point was incorporated  sometime in the 70’s, and generated tax money for road repairs.
Note: Interested readers will find a more detailed account of the merger in Mr. Leavitt's discussion of that era here.

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