The Vilnius Yacht Club was founded on the 10 January 1926; the same year marks the beginning of marine sailing in Lithuania. The creation of the this club was initiated by the Polish military due to Vilnius region being classified as a part of Poland and falling under Polish government control.
The aim of the Vilnius Yacht Club was to connect its members with the sea, develop and expand awareness and movement, to create more suitable conditions for sailing in Trakai lakes and to build a marina to accommodate sailboats and yachts.
In 1930, some years after the club was founded, the sailors of Vilnius region were given the rights to a part of the Karvines peninsula of Trakai. A new club house was built in this area. Historians still recall this particular area being exceptionally beautiful for that period of time. The club house had a few features that were uncommon to that era. A green painted building with big white columns housed a lobby, buffet area, big porch and bedrooms on the first floor. In addition, a boathouse for ship repairs, a marina with docks and platforms for visitors and spectators were built.
The Vilnius Yacht Club sailing community kept on growing and more boats appeared in the marina. Trakai lakes were filled in the summer time with sights of sails and boats competing in various regattas, and people used to come here to admire the picturesque view and the boats.
On 15 June 1930, an opening ceremony was held and even the president of Poland Ignacas Moscnickis participated in the event. He arrived by yacht with the Vilnius governor V. Račkevičius. The club house was blessed by the bishop Bandurskis.
In 1939, Germany occupied Klaipeda region. As a result, Lithuania had to give up the rights to the region which included the main sea port. Local sailors started to gather around bodies of water within the mainland Lithuania. Sailing in Trakai lakes intensified even more.
Later that year Lithuania regained Vilnius region. The rights to the Yacht Club were given to Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union. In 1940 the Union managed to create a base in Trakai, which housed the marine riflemen’s sailing centre. Unfortunately, it only lasted a few months due to the occupation of Lithuania by the soviets.
After the Second World War, Trakai became the main place for sailing, where pre-war inventory and equipment were used to train the first post war sailors. Other sailing courses took place, sailing sport traditions were cherished and regattas took place in Trakai again. In 1948 the first Sailing competition took place in Trakai. A local resident Romanas Karpovičiusbecame the first champion.
In 1952, sailing courses were initiated and organized by Jurgis Stabinis. He was the first commodore of the Vilnius Yacht Club and the highest ranking sailing sport judge, who wrote the sailing manual “Buriavimas”. Jurgis Stabinis had a strong influence in developing and maintaining the traditions of sailing sport in Lithuania. The Vilnius Yacht Club has been helding a regatta in memory of Jurgis Stabinis since 1963 in Trakai. Stabinis Cup is held every year and follows the rules and regulations established by the man himself in regards of the yawl equalizing formula. This formula was the forerunner for methods used nowadays to calculate the time used by sailboats to complete a required distance.
With time, the Vilnius Yacht Club became famous for its outstanding sailors. Vilnius region sailors kept on winning in various local and international competitions in soviet times. They formed the core of the National Lithuanian Sailing Team and gained respect with the sailing authorities in Lithuania and Soviet Union.
Most of us know little about is the first Lithuanian sailor Bronius Rožinskas,who sailed across Atlantic Ocean in his own yacht. In the autumn of 1962, Bronius and his yacht “Hermes II” sailed out of Szczecin port in Poland. On 12 February 1963, he reached the Florida coastline of the United States of America.
This is not the only memorable achievement by Vilnius sailors. No Lithuanian sailor has repeated the sailing trip to Murmansk, Russia done by Jurgis Vilemas and Romualdas Tupčiauskas.
In the years that followed, the first Lithuanian Women’s Sailing Crew was formed. Since 1969, Marytė Mudėnienė has been the leader of the crew. She is also a judge in regattas held by the Vilnius Yacht Club. In 1983 Marytė Mudėnienėbecame first female captain in Lithuanian history.
On 29 August 1954, the first Curonian Lagoon Regatta (“Kuršių marių regata”) took place and a team from Vilnius became the winners. Since then, sailors of the Vilnius Yacht Club have been the leaders of this regatta.
Many sailors from the Trakai region became the winners in European and World Championships and succeeding in International regattas.
In 1990, Lithuania declared and restored its independence. It resulted in the growth of the number of members in the Vilnius Yacht Club. Nowadays the Vilnius Yacht Club has more than 60 full time members. They are sailing around the world, participating and gathering wins in international regattas, promoting Lithuania and its sailors in the countries, which have a long history in sailing and sailing sport traditions.