The Club was chartered, and incorporated, as the Orleans Yacht Club, Inc. on September 22, 1947. Founding members included Harry Snow, Edgar Downs, Helen Smith, Mrs. Norman Downs, Dr. Fred Raddin and Jarrett Blodgett, who became the first Commodore. The purpose of the Club as stated in the Charter is: "to encourage yacht building and sailing, to promote interest in yachting and aquatic sports, as well as social intercourse among its members, and to secure and maintain suitable buildings and equipment to accomplish these purposes."
The first Clubhouse was Edgar Downs' boat house located in the southwest corner of Town Cove and it is still visible today as a privately-owned guest cottage. The current Clubhouse was built on land donated by Henry K. Cummings of Orleans. It has been enlarged and modified several times over the years to what you see today.
The OYC actively encourages sailing and maintains a fleet of its own sail & power boats in order to promote its sailing programs. The OYC has run a popular summer junior sailing program (JSP) since 1947 and also offers an Adult Sailing Program to current members. It’s the home for Nauset Regional High School Sailing Team’s practices and regattas, the DaySailer Fleet 15’s races every Sunday, as well as being the host for the annual Sherborn Yacht Club's Yankee Duo Sunfish Regatta. Furthering its marine involvement, the OYC hosts the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary’s and the Cape Cod Power Squadron's boating courses every year.
The OYC's dedication to the "social interaction among its members" is evident from the variety of the many social activities throughout the year; these events include a progressive dinner, lobster/clam bake, a Commodore’s reception (every two years), holiday themed parties, weekly summer picnic nights, bingo/casino nights, dance parties, weekly suppers & Friday Night cocktail parties. All of which are enthusiastically participated in by its Members.
The OYC also supports a 501c3 charitable organization known as The Robert Radtke Memorial Fund, Inc. which provides sailing scholarships for the Orleans Yacht Club’s Junior Sailing Program.