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SFYC 150th annual commemorative casebound coffee-table book - 9" x 12"

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Published by tom, 2019-02-11 14:19:28

The San Francisco Yacht Club - 150 on the Bay and Beyond

SFYC 150th annual commemorative casebound coffee-table book - 9" x 12"

Keywords: The San Francisco Yacht Club,SFYC,yachting,San Francisco Bay,sailing,boating,cruising,sailors,yachtsmen,yachtswomen,Company History Productions,Creativewerks


Dedicated to the memory of those
who lost their lives in the 2012 Full Crew Farallones Race

Alexis Busch, Alan Cahill, Jordan Fromm [sfyc],
Marc Kasanin [sfyc] and Elmer Morrissey



H150 Years on the Bay and Beyond


, which naturally led to competitions to determine
whose yacht was faster.
Yacht Club in our 150th year! Our founders rightly concluded that San Fran-
Our club was founded in 1869 by cisco needed a proper yacht club to organize this
a group of spirited sailors on the waterfront of the new sport of yacht racing on the Bay, and also to
wildest town of the Wild West, where anything and provide a place for sailors and yachting enthu-
everything seemed possible. The Gold Rush had siasts to socialize, share their love of the sport,
propelled the population of San Francisco from a and have a good time while doing so. Thus was
tiny village to nearly 150,000 souls in a mere fif- born The San Francisco Yacht Club, the oldest
teen years, and the final tie of the Transcontinental yacht club on the West Coast. The Club evolved
Railroad had just been laid. The waterfront of the as the City grew. Fortunes rose and fell, water-
day was an ever-expanding collection of sailing front conditions changed, and
ships, warehouses, banks, saloons and characters members joined or moved on for
of all sorts. The few sidewalks to be found con- their own good reasons.
sisted of planks perched on mud, vigilante groups
kept order (of sorts), Shanghai Kelly prowled the Through it all, the men and women
Barbary Coast, and a failed businessman named of The San Francisco Yacht Club
Joshua Norton claimed to be the Emperor of the
, United States and Protector of Mexico.
In the midst of this chaos, a small group of San
above: Commodores Rosenlund [2018] and Fromm [2019] Francisco’s leading citizens recognized that the
at The Club’s helm during our exciting 150th Year Celebration and San Francisco Bay was not only one of the finest
the building of the new Cove House, centerpiece of our future growth ports in the world, but also presented some of the
best and most consistent conditions for sailing to
on the Bay and beyond. center: The origin of the ship’s be found anywhere. The notion of sailing just for
wheel remains a SFYC mystery, but it may have come the fun of sailing grew from an abstract thought
to reality. Fortunes from gold, silver and bank-
from a large clipper ship from the 1800s. ing led to the construction of large sailing yachts,


A captain who does not know where he wants to sail,
there is no wind on Earth that will bring him there.

I — Ami Ayalon
remained true to their sport, true to their club, and T IS WITH GREAT PRIDE THAT I SERVE AS
true to their desire to share their sport with like- your Commodore for 2019, following the watch or enjoying our spectacular views from the deck
with your friends and family, The San Francisco
minded people. As we embark upon our second of Commodore Paul Rosenlund. The San Fran- Yacht Club immeasurably enhances our lives!

150 years, the San Francisco Bay and The San cisco Yacht Club and its members hold a special Our Club is also recognized in the world of
competitive sailing for producing top sailors, inclu-
Francisco Yacht Club continue to attract talented place in my heart as I have been sailing at our Club ding world champions and Olympians, many who
started in our youth program. We have also hosted
sailors and a cast of interesting characters from for over fifty years–beginning in our Youth Sailing numerous international events with clubs from
around the globe always enjoying our windy con-
around the world who have a common love of program in 1967. ditions and hospitality.

yachting and all things associated with it. Beyond my great fortune to be sailing at one of In addition to a great staff of employees, many
of them here for decades, the significant contribu-
I am honored to serve as your Commodore at the world’s preeminent yacht clubs, I have always tions from our membership are the foundation of
our Club and will continue to drive our future. I’m
this historic and exciting time, and together with been amazed by our community of members, as I constantly amazed at the spirit and dedication of
our numerous member volunteers, from serving on
our next Commodore, Andy Fromm, and our en- often refer to as my “Club family.” They are always standing committees to working race committee,
to those who are always willing to lend a hand in
tire Board of Directors, I invite you to join us as we there to share and support in one another’s joys, making our Club a better place.

share stories of the past 150 years triumphs, and at times, life’s challenges. I am proud to belong to one of the oldest
yacht clubs in the United States and believe it is
and usher in the next 150 years— Commodore Rosenlund has shared his thoughts our privilege to continue to steer a course that will
position us not only for this sesquicentennial year,
and beyond! on the first 150 years of our Club and now I would but for the next 150 years—and beyond!

Paul Rosenlund like to provide you with my thoughts for The Club’s Your 2019 Commodore,
next 150 years on the Bay and beyond.
Andy Fromm
From the original vision of our founding mem-

bers, The San Francisco Yacht Club has continually

evolved to meet our members’ expectations and of

course, changing times. Yet our core values remain

consistent with a focus on boating and sense of com-

munity. With an ongoing and prudent investment

in the enhancement of the yachting experience,

including our Club facilities, we must be vigilant to

stay true to our mission. Whether racing, cruising on

the Bay, attending one of our many social events,



In 1869,
a group of
local yachtsmen
agreed that a more
orderly and monitored
Corinthian form of
conduct was needed
for yacht racing
if the Bay’s
activities were
to be respected


This is our story…






left: The original San Francisco Yacht Club Flag designed by
Captain Edwin Moody in 1869; below: The 1876 Centennial Regatta,

opposite: A vintage sextant shown with a drawing of the first
Sausalito clubhouse by Edwin Moody, circa 1878


1855 – loose ad hoc racing becomes popular among the “new rich” of San Francisco following the Gold Rush • Large cash purses are wagered on big boat races • Local press whips up

THE GOLD RUSH GAVE THE SAN FRANCISCO In those plements and other techniques were constantly
Bay Area a vast and powerful injection of early days of tested and improved. Every yacht was unique;
money which drew talented people with racing, there one-design fleets were still in the future. The same
bold dreams from all over the world. Their myriad were few aids to competitive spirit that infuses today’s America’s
geniuses and visions have made the Bay Area navigation, few Cup and other world-wide regattas, infused the
the creative mother-lode of the world. It was true racing marks, minds, spirits and bodies of our optimistic prede-
then and it is true today. and fewer rules. cessors on the Bay.
One of the many manifestations of this unique Owners and
energy of innovation is seen in the broad popu- spectators alike bet The San Francisco Bay was and continues to
larity of water sports, most notably, in sailing and heavily on these com- be an ideal locale for all types of yachting and
yachting on the Bay. The earliest example petitions, often with purses racing. The New York Herald stated in 1869 that
of this trend is seen in the formation in excess of $1,000, a goodly sum in those days. “Eight months of the year, the yachtsmen of the
and establishment of The San In order to win, owners constantly improved Golden Gate can rely on strong westerly winds
Francisco Yacht Club in 1869. their yachts or bought newer, faster ones. Ship de- which blow steadily every day and they can,
As San Francisco signers, builders and sail makers were in constant therefore, enjoy a much longer yachting season
prospered, it became demand. New hull designs, sail designs, crew com- than their less favored aquatic neighbors in this
the largest west part of the world.”
coast seaport. With
this came wealthy business-
men and sportsmen possessing a
keen sense of competition in all things.
The water transport enterprises flour-
ished, professional and weekend sailors
arrived on the scene, and the Bay increas-
ingly became the setting for various infor-
mal races for rather impressive purses and
Rivalries grew between owners and crews of
large yachts who, first in 1855, loosely organized
and conducted ad hoc “scrub” races which were
heavily reported by the local press.


enthusiasm for these “Captains of Gold” who vie for bragging rights at their numerous posh social clubs • SFYC is organized summer of 1869 – intent is to establish a more honorable aura

, On July 16, 1869, a group of avid sportsmen in that area. The modest clubhouse was designed
including Horace B. Platt, John Eckley, Captain for the “plain, but comfortable place of resort for
above: Original Sausalito clubhouse Edwin Moody, Richard Ogden, Dr. J.C. Tucker, and members.” Unlike many clubs of the era, plans
circa 1890, with the schooner Chispa docked in front others met to create The San Francisco Yacht Club. included a ladies’ lounge, as women have been
opposite: Reunion of the Yachtsmen of San Francisco At their second meeting, they elected Horace B. an integral part of The Club since its inception.
Bay, Sausalito, 1893, Commodore Isadore Gutte fifth Platt Commodore. By-laws and other organiza- In fact, the formal invitation to the grand opening
from right, club flags from 1877, a design for the San tional issues were agreed upon, and the decision of the clubhouse read, “The company of yourself
Francisco yawl and Commodore John D. Spreckels’ to build a clubhouse was reached. Long Bridge at and your lady is cordially invited.”
Mission Bay in San Francisco was the preferred
racing yacht Lurline, circa 1883 site as most of the members’ boats were moored The Daily Alta California was published daily
and delivered to your door for 50 cents a week.
The Sunday morning edition of October 17, 1869,
contains a blow-by-blow description of The Club’s
first regatta held the previous day. The article
includes the time handicaps assigned to each
yacht, the equipment failures, the winds, and the
chowder served to spectators. It was reported that
the yachts “were sailed in such a manner as to win
the commendations of all the nautical men who
witnessed the race.” One of the spectator boats,
the Parthenius, carried “three or four hundred
ladies and gentlemen, all of whom, except the few
grumblers who are famed everywhere, seemed to
have thoroughly enjoyed the trip.”

Captain Edwin Moody designed the burgee,
the Commodore and Vice Commodore flags and
the Prize Flag for the first regatta. The burgee re-
mains unchanged from his vision of the early 1870s.

While the initial membership totaled 115, only
nine members owned yachts. Dues were set at
ten dollars per month and life memberships were
offered at $50. Enthusiastic responses to the latter
drove The Club into early financial ruin as simple


around what the initial members deem responsible and respectable racing ethics • Oldest yacht club on the west coast • Horace B. Platt, Commodore • Clubhouse located on Long

math would suggest. Also, a large clambake drew Although minutes do not exist for the early
more than 250 members and guests, but the ticket 1870s, the local newspapers reported in detail on
revenues barely covered a fraction of the event’s the Annual SFYC Regattas and other races as well
costs. The site of The Club soon proved inappropri- as club activities and meetings. The centennial
ate for sailing as the Bay was being filled in around year of 1876 found a resurgence of membership
it by the Central Pacific railroad. The original club- growth and sailing activities with the launching of
house was sold to the railroad and The Club a major regatta heralded by the local press as the
moved to the Front Street Wharf.
“finest sport of the season.”
Following several years of limited club In 1877, after moving to Sausalito near
activities, The Club was reinvigorated un-
der Commodore Ogden’s leadership the ferry, The Club saw rapid growth with
and put on a more sound financial sailboat racing, cruises and social events.
footing. Among his many accom- Shallow waters, urban sprawl and commer-
plishments was his successful effort to cial shipping were left behind as The Club
incorporate The Club with the State Corporation endeavored to achieve its goal of establish-
Commission in 1873. The basic financial structures ing a long-term home.
put in place then have served the Club ever since.
Isadore Gutte, who would become the
longest-serving SFYC Commodore and own-
er of the famed, Chispa, a Matthew Turner



Bridge in Mission Bay – Third Street is location of this site today • Membership fee $10 – lifetime memberships of $50 to fund building – membership totals 115 • The ladies’ presence is

This is a brief history of the Clipper Ship, Jabez Howes, a member of The San Francisco
Three Brothers, a model of which Yacht Club, acquired the ship and brought
commands the Club’s dining room. her to San Francisco. She was named after
The Three Brothers was built in Jabez and his brothers, Henry and George.
1856 originally as the side-wheel Howes owned the famous racing sloop,
steamship, Vanderbuilt. Often con- Annie, and brought her around the Horn on the
sidered the world’s largest ship at the time,
she was 350 feet long with a beam of 138 feet, Three Brothers’ deck. Annie was raced success-
a draft of 31 feet and tonnage of 2,972 lbs. The fully for 57 years on the Bay. Currier and Ives memor-
Vanderbilt sailed as a mail ship between New York ialized the ship, Three Brothers, with an aptly named
and Le Havre, France, serving the Atlantic steam lithograph, “The Largest Ship in the World.” It is said that
packet trade for her wealthy owner, Cornelius Captain Cummings commissioned a painting of the ship
Vanderbilt, who ultimately gave the ship to the U.S. for which he paid a princely $250. The skipper had it
Navy, and she saw service in the Civil War as the hanging in his San Francisco home. It is possible that this is
USS Vanderbilt. She was noteworthy for having the same 30” by 48” oil painting by the renowned mari-
captured the Confederate raider, Alabama. time artist, William Gay Yorke, that hangs in the personal
art collection of Club member Robert B. Sellers.


encouraged from the start • First cruise to Napa River a success • First Club regatta won by Emerald • Prize Flag designed by founding member and noted artist, Edwin Moody –

, designed schooner, and John The goal of a long-term home was almost im-
Spreckels joined the Club. Com- mediately threatened by the first of three member-
opposite: William Gay Yorke’s painting of modore Spreckels launched his ship “splits.” In 1878, a group of members left to
Three Brothers courtesy of Robert B. Sellers. 80-foot, Lurline in 1883, a boat that open the Pacific Yacht Club. About twenty years
left: First page of The SFYC Minutes from 1873 always finished first. Club artist, later, PYC ceased operations with many of their
Edwin Moody, drew pen and ink drawings of the members returning to The SFYC.
above: The racing schooner Chispa new clubhouse, one of which served for many
right: Commodore Isadore Gutte years as a SFYC Guest Card. Twenty years later, the first Sausalito club-
house burned from unknown causes with the
[and friend] on Chispa loss of many priceless trophies and artifacts.
At that time, The Pacific Yacht Club invited SFYC
members to use their facilities while awaiting
the clubhouse reconstruction. The Club opened
a grander two-story clubhouse in 1898 in time

for the Opening Day celebrations.
This facility still stands today as
Ondine’s Restaurant. Membership

totaled 155, match racing contin-
ued to be popular, and Commo-
dore Gutte’s Chispa beat 53-foot

Annie in a hotly contested re-
gatta. The latter had recently
been brought “around the Horn”
on the deck of Three Brothers,

a 350-foot, full-rigged clipper
ship, a model of which com-
mands The Club’s dining room

today. The largest ship in the
world at the time, Three Bro-
thers was owned by Club member Jabez Howes.
By 1900, there were five active Bay Area
yacht clubs including The SFYC, Encinal, South
Bay, Corinthian and California Yacht Clubs.


currently exhibited in dining room • Sausalito clambake both a success and a financial setback • 1873 sees Commodore Ogden reorganize the Club after it falters for two years •

[ circa 1869, attributed to our Club ]
above and left: The racing sloop Annie
[see story on page 12] and the third place cup she won in 1908 First, make a strong lemonade. Use lemons not limes.
opposite: Club cruise and picnic at Paradise Cove, circa 1880 Peel the lemons before pressing and strain. Take twelve
ripe pineapples and peel with a sharp knife, then pull
,14 the pineapple in clumps. This is done by inserting a
fork into the heart of the pineapple and pulling the
clumps off with another fork. Cover the clumps of
pineapple well with crushed or granulated sugar and
then add to the same one quart of fine St. Croix
or Jamaica rum, and let it stand for three hours in
order to obtain a veritable essence of pineapple rum.
When this is accomplished, mix well the lemonade
and pineapple rum. To this mixture—for, say fifty
persons—add eight quarts of white or red wine,
two quarts of brandy, one quart of Maraschino de
Kara. Thoroughly mix. Place a large block of ice in
the punch bowl, and when ready to serve the SFYC
California Punch, add twelve quarts of champagne.
Have ready in a side dish, sliced lemons and oranges
and strawberries. Cut up the lemon peels in squares
of an inch and squeeze them into the punch. Imbibe!

Club legally incorporated in 1873 • Adopts sailing ethic of “Corinthian Racing” – refers to boat owners skippering their own boats – professional crews become outdated • Financial


panic of 1872 erodes Club activities • Regattas of 1876 revitalize membership and local racing activity • Edwin Moody designs distinctive Club burgee • 1877 – Club purchases first

, Of interest, in the 1880s, small boat racing
was becoming popular and took a stronger hold in
above: Opening Day festivities the early part of the 1900s. The concept of Corin-
at The SFYC Sausalito Clubhouse on thian sailing, or “sailing your own boat with your
April 22, 1916. Group portrait by H.L. Robertson. own non-professional crew” became more broadly
right: Second Sausalito clubhouse, circa 1900 accepted as large yachts and the riches of their
opposite: San Francisco Perpetual Challenge Trophy owners dwindled. This trend would result in the
established in 1895 beside interior of the second membership split, the 1886 creation of the
Corinthian Yacht Club to our east. Membership in
Sausalito clubhouse, circa 1920 The SFYC totaled 223 in 1905.


Sausalito Club site – builds one-story clubhouse with widow’s walk in 1878 • Club’s membership suffers first of three breaks when a group forms the Pacific Yacht Club nearby • Clubhouse

Among the most famous Club racing yachts
of the time, the 94-foot Casco, was later chartered
by author Robert Louis Stevenson for his famed
South Pacific cruise in 1888.

One of California’s oldest sporting trophies,
the San Francisco Perpetual Challenge Trophy,
was the most raced for trophy in US match racing
history. It has been in play ever since and a much
sought after prize of yachtsmen throughout the
Bay and up and down the coast.


burns in 1897 – Club invited to use PYC’s facilities during reconstruction • SFYC’s two-story clubhouse opens in 1898 in time for Opening Day – stands today as Ondine’s Restaurant

Cruising continued to grow as an alterna-

tive sport to racing. Fetching near and distant

northern California ports-of-call became a major

avocation of sailors and power-boaters. Lavish

parties and ribald pleasantries abounded as men

and women flocked to the Bay’s more exotic and

warmer locales including Benicia, Petaluma, Napa,

, Sacramento and the Delta. Dances, clambakes
and other social affairs contributed to the growing
left: SFYC Opera House poster from 1909 popularity of yacht clubs and SFYC in particular.
above: The sloop Challenger which won the
1912 regatta cup on display at The SFYC in Belvedere During the early 1900s, more adventuresome
opposite: Painting of the Westward with regattas began to be held such as the Farallones
and Lightship races. The first Transpac Race to
Commodore John Hanify at the helm Hawaii was inaugurated in 1906, the year of the San
Francisco Earthquake and Fire, a great example


• Edwin Moody draws sketch of Clubhouse • 53-foot Yacht Annie arrives aboard 350-foot Clipper Ship Three Brothers – large model on display in today’s dining room • Annie goes on to a

of the indefatigable spirit of all sailors. Commo-
dore John Spreckels’ Lurline won the first of these
annual challenges to Hawaii. The San Francisco
Yacht Club also won this famous race in 1923 and
1926. In 1925, The Club sponsored the Tahiti Race,
the longest race of that era, which was won by
L. A. Norris’ Mariner under The SFYC burgee. Today,
the Transpac to Hawaii is sailed from Southern
California and the Pacific Cup is raced from the Bay
on alternate years.

The SFYC clubhouse suffered little damage
during the 1906 earthquake and
served as a Red Cross supply
room for refugees from the City.

World War I saw a reduction
in big boat racing and the advent
of many smaller sailboats and
motor cruisers with independent
propulsion no longer powered by
steam, but by gasoline engines.

In 1915, the Panama Pacific
International Exposition celebra-
ted the opening of the Panama
Canal and energized the resurgence of local
aquatic activities. Numerous races were conduc-
ted in which The San Francisco Yacht Club played
a prominent role. Notable among the many awards
was the King George V Cup, one of the richest
trophies ever offered. It proudly resides in the club-
house today, having been won by Staff Commo-
dore John Hanify, twice Commodore of The SFYC,
that August in the sloop Westward.


distinguished Bay racing career – wins first trophy in 1880 • Noted German-born businessman, Isadore Gutte, becomes 5th Commodore in 1886 – assumes a ten-year role as Club leader


Commodore Spreckels, the sugar producer, launches fabulous 80-foot Lurline – she was the fastest boat on the Bay of her time • Membership is 155 • 1886 – neighboring Corinthian Yacht


clockwise from left: nautical chart for
the Yacht Racing Course at the 1915 Panama Pacific
International Exhibition; the Palace of Fine Arts designed
for the PPIE by Bernard Maybeck; invitation to the official
acceptance of the Yacht Trophy presented by King George V;
the King George V Trophy now residing at The SFYC

clubhouse; the Westward passing a battleship
during the race and a daily permit to the
PPIE from September 26, 1915


Club is organized by several SFYC members • 1895 – the San Francisco Perpetual Challenge Trophy is established – continuously raced since then • 1896 – the Pacific Inter-Club Yacht

right: King Christian of Denmark’s of the clubhouse was a few years in the future.
Nordug IV beating The SFYC sloop Lady Betty This delay was due, in part, to the Great Depression
which diluted yachting and social activities here
below: Log for the 1919 voyage of the schooner and throughout the world. Originally planning to
Invader from Savannah to San Francisco locate in the Belvedere Hotel, the near-by Pacific
Motor Club was leased as an interim facility due
, to massive storm damage to the hotel. Plans were
drawn up for a magnificent new clubhouse that
The impressive President Wilson Trophy was featured a grand ballroom, dining rooms, dormito-
won by the six-meter Nordug IV, owned by King ries and hotel rooms, but was never realized due
Christian of Denmark during the same exciting rac- to budget constraints and inconsistent member-
ing season. The King George V trophy is now the ship levels.
perpetual trophy for overall winners of The SFYC
Club Series regattas.

Gaff rigs and other long-serving yacht designs
began to yield to exciting innovations including
the modern Bermuda rig, deep keels, roller reefing
and other significant innovations first featured on
Nordug IV. The era also saw greater participation
in racing by women and the beginnings of youth
sailing programs.

In 1923, it became clear that the Sausalito
site was unsatisfactory due to its proximity to the
increasingly busy local ferry terminal. Belvedere
and the San Francisco Marina were the options
under consideration leading to a heated situation
that caused the third (and last) membership schism
in The Club’s history.

Half the membership left to establish the St.
Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco in 1927, and
the remaining members opted to move to the pre-
viously purchased property in Belvedere Cove.
The consummation of the move and the building


Association (PICYA) is formed to improve Bay Area racing with uniform racing rules • SFYC is one of five founding yacht clubs • Member clubs now total over 100 with 15,600 members • 1900 –


clockwise: “Our kids” from 1921, plans for the Belvedere
clubhouse in 1927, and a promotional flyer for the more
modest clubhouse from the early 1930s.


offshore racing becomes popular with the Farallones and Light Ship races • The first Transpac Race to Hawaii is inaugurated in 1906 commensurate with the San Francisco Earthquake

With the advent of the first Club fleet, Bird or In 1934, regular members were neral. In 1939, her mast was installed as The Club’s
“S” Boats commissioned by The SFYC committee assessed $25.00 to construct the club- flagpole, which was replaced years later with a
and the subsequent arrival of sleek Star Boats un- house. Members and a few contractors more substantial staff.
der the sponsorship of Commodore Clifford Smith were enlisted to complete the
in 1923, one-design class boat racing and cruising simplified design in time for the The Golden Gate Bridge, opened in 1937, was
quickly established its noble mission “to provide Opening Day festivities. the engine for explosive growth throughout
competition and enjoyment at an affordable cost.” Marin County with the concurrent reduction of
Glen Waterhouse won the Star Class Worlds with 1935 saw the need to train and ferry operations across the Bay.
the first Bermuda-rigged Star on the Bay. destroy the much beloved
Annie with a fiery Viking fu- The 1939 Golden Gate International Exposi-
tion at Treasure Island provided the much-needed
injection of excitement and public awareness of
sailing and power boating, cruising and racing. New
fleets, including R-boats, expanded the public’s
participation in small-boat racing on the Bay. (R-
Boats were a measurement class popular in the
1920s.) Cliff Smith built R-1, Lady V; others were
built at that time as well.

In 1940, The San Francisco Yacht Club ab-
sorbed the membership of the Richardson Bay

Yacht Club, increasing its membership to 300
in one month.
Growth was eclipsed the following year
by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor


and Fire – won by Commodore John Spreckels on Lurline • 1915 – San Francisco hosts the popular Panama Pacific International Exposition • Racing picks up as does everything in the

, and the country’s entry choose carefully as how to use their precious gas
into another World War. ration coupons.
opposite left: Commodore Clifford Smith is In spite of this, energe-
presented the Hearst Regatta trophy by “Painless” Parker tic members like Jake Following WW II and the early 1950s, The Club
Wosser, stationed here in grew with the influx of ex-military and profession-
in 1934; opposite right: A Viking funeral for Naval Intelligence, won al men, women and their families to the growing
Annie, 1935; above: Opening Day at Belvedere numerous Star championships and, along with Belvedere-Tiburon Peninsula. The Southern Pa-
other Club members, kept the Bay Area racing cific railroad scaled down its huge shipping com-
clubhouse, 1934; right: The Lady V, heritage alive and well. During the war years, plex, and housing developments, schools and a
Commodore Smith’s R1 racer times were tough for The Club. Members had to shopping center took root.

This period was an era of resurgence for The
San Francisco Yacht Club. A remodeled clubhouse
finally took shape following the loss of the roof in a
storm. The sturdy harbor breakwater and numer-
ous docks were completed later in the decade

with strong membership
growth being the fortunate
result. Bill Black started
an informal youth sailing
program, providing boats
and life jackets. His lead-
ership is enshrined in the
Auxiliary Award named
in his honor. This program
was made official by
Commodore Ray Millzner,
M.D., with a standing com-
mittee to guide operations.
1954 also saw the formal
founding of The San Francisco Yacht Club Auxiliary
in recognition of the central role and major contri-
butions to racing and social events by the women
of The Club. The Auxiliary has been the source of


Bay Area • SFYC dominates Bay racing • President Wilson and King George V Trophies commissioned 1915 – WW I impacts Bay racing and Club activities • Club initiates plans to move

annually to a member club for work promoting youth
boating and education, was dedicated in 1958. The
Club first won this award in 1959 and has won the
PICYA Cup more often than any other local club.

During the 1960’s, sailing, cruising and rac-
ing grew dramatically. The harbor and clubhouse
were expanded and new class boats including
Cal 20’s, Tridents, Vanguards and the Rhodes 19’s
were popular boats in The Club fleet, and repre-
sented a transition from wooden boats to those
constructed of fiberglass.

In our centennial year, 1969, the Knarr Associa-
tion’s annual regatta hosted in alternative years in
Norway, Denmark and America was sailed out of

numerous important pro- The San Francisco Yacht Club.
grams, gifts and improvements to The Club Knarrs have grown into one of
ever since, as well as the social spirit that our longest-lived and most dy-
has produced so many memorable Club namic fleets with sailors racing
events, parties, and fundraisers. Early on, the well into their late eighties.
Auxiliary funded the first two El Toro training
sailboats for the youth sailing program. By the seventies, member-
ship had reached over 700 and
The harbor was incorporated, funded and The Club’s fleet exceeded 460
built in 1955-57. The Chester Nimitz Award, boats. A measure of The Club’s
given by Pacific Intra-Club Yacht Association growing racing prowess is seen
in it having won three times as
many class season champion-
ships as the next closest club.


to Belvedere Cove, originally a center of cod fishing • 1919 – the first “SFYC Board Authorized Commission” is formed to build the Club’s first “one-design fleet” boat, the Bird Boat, a

The Club sponsored the National Women’s International racing events included the Nas- ,
Sailing Championship also known as the Adams sau Race, the Lucaya Race and the Montego Race.
Cup and the IOD Worlds won by Jake Wosser. The Dave Allen campaigned the 42-foot Improbable in opposite left to right: Cover of 1942
San Francisco Cup, set up to promote friendly rela- the latter regatta. He then competed in the Admiral Yachting Year Book; 1943 Civil Defense
tions between The San Francisco Yacht Club and Cup series at Cowes, sailing Scaramouche for New mock evacuation exercise in the San Francisco Marina;
the St. Francis Yacht Club, was established and Zealand and competing in the Plymouth-Le Roch- 1959 Marin IJ announcement for Ninety Years of Sailing
has been the object of exciting races ever since. elle race in 1971. Energized by his international dinner/dance at SFYC; above: Water Witch
success, Dave commissioned the construction of
The Club also distinguished itself in Interna- imp. He achieved overall honors at Southern Ocean racing against Dorado, circa 1928
tional competition as far away as Bermuda, Nor-
way, Denmark and Sweden with victories in Knarrs
and IODs.

Clearly, The San Francisco Yacht Club came of
age in our first 100 years, establishing a “Corinthian-
style Yacht Club comprised of avid sailors and
yachtsmen and yachtswomen, young and old on
one of the world’s finest harbors and bays.”

The San Francisco Yacht Club national and in-
ternational racing participation continued to grow
dramatically in the late sixties and early seven-
ties. On the Bay, competition for the San Francisco
Perpetual Challenge Trophy and the San Francis-
co Cup became the high points of the sailing cal-
endar. Staff Commodore Rolfe Croker’s Hana Ho
and Colin Chase’s National Biscuit posted many
wins throughout this time period.

Racing for the Perpetual Cup saw multiple chal-
lenges from the Newport Yacht Club, the San Diego
Yacht Club and the St. Francis Yacht Club pairing
Bird Boats and other designs against one another.
Noted sailors such as Jake Wosser, Peter Salz,
Bert Damner, Evan Dailey, and Jeff Madrigali lead
our club’s efforts, generally with success.


combination racer and day cruiser • Sleek, two-man Star Boats follow in 1923, first constructed of wood, then of fiberglass • The Star continues as an active class and is still one of

of the


After the 1906 earthquake and fire, the City of San The Canal opened in August 1914. The commissioned his son Clyde, Jr. and W.G. Hind
Francisco was, as we all know, devastated and took Fair opened on February 20, 1915 and closed on to design the home. From 1916 until 1982,
several years to rebuild. However, even before the December 4, 1915. Most of the buildings were the home was enjoyed by four generations of the
earthquake, Rueben Hale, a prominent San Francisco constructed in haste and not expected to last. Payne family. In 1983, the Club Board headed
merchant, proposed that the City host an “exposition” off a pending offer from a developer whose plans
to celebrate the opening of the Panama Canal. The Dr. Clyde S. Payne, a prominent San Francisco were deemed unappealing, and following
events of 1906 caused other venues to be consid- physician and his family enjoyed vacationing at the emergency meetings to find a way to purchase
ered, but in the end San Francisco was awarded Belvedere Hotel. They escaped the San Francisco fog the property, they succeeded.
the Panama Pacific International Exposition. by coming to the Cove and were active members of
The City worked hard to prove it was once again the Pacific Motor Boat Club on Beach Road, now It is sad to see the Cove House relinquish her
a vibrant city, capable of hosting such a grand condos. In 1916, he leased the 100 Beach Road historical location, but her spirit lives on in the
event. To pull it off, much of what is now the property from the Belvedere Land Company and retention of her name for the new Club facility.
Marina District was filled. To do that took over
300,000 cubic yards of dirt.


the Olympic classes active today • 1927 witnesses a major schism as 49 members opt to create the St. Francis Yacht Club across the Bay instead of joining the Belvedere Cove move •

Racing Circuit in 1977 and then won the presti- An important milestone under the guidance
gious Fastnet Race. Later, Dave and the crew of of S/C George Gazulis, was the acquisition of
imp (which included Club members Tad Lacy, Bill the Cove House for $360,000 in 1984. Originally
Barton, Don Jesberg and Steve Taft) survived the known as the Payne House. Volunteer members—
disastrous Fastnet storm of 1979, a race in which Commodore Ken Frost, Jr., Jim Garrett, Dick
only 86 boats finished from a fleet of 303 and 19 Griffiths, Tony Guzzardo, Bruce Moody, V/C Bob
souls were lost at sea. Kahn, R/C Carl Lewis and many more—manned
work parties and lent their professional expertise to
More international sailing took place in Scot- improve this classic building for various pleasant
land in 1990 and in the Far East with the San Fran- and memorable Club purposes including meetings,
cisco-Okinawa race in 1974. Going even further, parties, and weddings.
Club member/astronaut Millie Hughes-Fulford took
the club burgee into space on Columbia in 1991.

Of course, The Club’s activities were not con-
fined to the water; social functions formed a tradi-
tional calendar of events. In these, the Auxiliary
and the Entertainment Committee were the driving
forces behind wonderful dances and fundraising
activities. Highlights of this era of Club events
included five Collector’s Car and Boat Shows.

, In 1988-1989 a major project was undertaken
replacing the fairways and fingers of the harbor.
left: Commodore Ray Millzner, MD, Later, the wooden piles were replaced with concrete
and S/C Leonard James at the 1957 sheet piles, modernizing our world-class yachting
harbor dedication; above: Astronaut facility. Dredging, regular maintenance and vigilant
oversight by the Harbor Committee, supported by
Millie Hughes-Fulford aboard the the Harbor Masters and Port Captains, have kept
Space Shuttle Columbia in 1991; things shipshape and enjoyable for members of all
right: Ruth and Jake Wosser with ages. Among these personages who contributed
Joan and Don Bekins at the 90th
Anniversary Gay Ninety’s party, 1959


Club moves to Belvedere Cove but finds hotel unsuitable due to storm damage • 1927 sees the dredging of the Cove • Club rents new facilities at the Pacific Motorboat Club on Beach

immeasurably are Leonard James, Roger Eldridge, ing earn The Club annual recognition as one of ,

Tim McGowan, Hank Easom and Pat Kirrane. the leading yacht clubs in America. Of note, fresh left: Liz Baylis, 2002
Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year;
In 1991, a new building was constructed to sup- water was finally piped to all the slips, replacing below: 50-Year gold member pin and
Spinnakers racing on the Bay, 2004
port the Etchells World’s Championship, which was our well water. right: An SFYC Youth Fun Regatta
far right: Rick Wesslund’s
won by world famous sailor Dennis Conner. This Recognizing the enormous value of a strong
J/120 El Ocoso
building was further improved in 2005 and named membership, The Club inaugurated 25-year silver

the Sailing Center and Youth Training Facility. Staff and 50-year gold pins in appreciation of the sup-

offices, classrooms, showers and bathrooms were port and contributions of long-time members.

provided for the rapidly growing year-round youth Eighty-two gold and five hundred silver pins have

sailing activities. In 2018, the facility was signifi- been awarded.

cantly expanded as the first phase of the new A new plaque was placed in the front lobby

project under the leadership of Staff Commodore in 2011, under the guidance of Staff Commodore

Ed Lynch. Bob Heller, noting distinguished sailors and

In 2002, Liz Baylis was awarded the Rolex cruisers such as Olympians, world champions and

Yachtswoman of the Year award. The SFYC won other highly accomplished individuals. Evidence

the coveted San Francisco Cup after 13 “dry years.” of our prowess in youth training, the 2011 Opti-

The Belvedere clubhouse received major ren- mist Championship Trials were held with over 172

ovations to the dining room, galley and bar in 2003, young racers competing. 2014 saw the initiation of

2006 and 2016 to ensure continued enhancement The Auxiliary Cup, which has become an annual

of the “Member Experience.” Leading this charge Club regatta for women sailors.

has been the active mission of the House and That same year saw the adoption of another

Facilities Committees. special Auxiliary tie

In 2009, the harbor and a scarf for Club

was again dredged after members. Years of

overcoming environmental hosting the Leukemia

concerns, coming in under Cup regatta has gen-

budget. Fiscal responsibi- erated several million

lity and sound planning by dollars in donations.

the Finance Committee and The Club’s activities

the Board have been hall- include major holiday

marks of The San Francisco parties with decora-

Yacht Club operations, help- tions and fun enter-

,30 Photo by Katy Raddatz

Road, near our current site • U.S. Yacht Racing and YRA of San Francisco created in 1928 to manage most races • 1934 – Clubhouse is constructed using member volunteer and contractor

tainment, Mother/Son and Father/Daughter
dances, intriguing Speakers Series, two men’s
reading groups, ladies bridge, safety and coastal
navigation courses, Wednesday and Friday
night “New Sailors Races,” various local cruise-
outs, and other varied endeavors offer something
for everyone.

On the eve of The Club’s 150th anniversary,
with the San Francisco Bay Area enjoying un-
precedented prosperity, member numbers have
remained fairly level. Member demands upon the
harbor and shoreside facilities have grown steadi-
ly, causing The Club’s officers and directors to
examine where we are and where we are going,
with a desire to insure that we maintain our pre-
eminence in yachting and as a family-friendly
yacht club for “the next 150 years.”

A Strategic Advisory Committee, consisting of
staff commodores, current officers and members
at large, was established to review, refine and
implement The Club’s objectives to ensure that
The SFYC remains on a sound financial footing,
maintains its traditions as a true yacht club, and
continues to draw new members and their fami-
lies who share our values. A Membership Devel-
opment Committee was created to work with the
Membership Committee in bringing in qualified
new members and integrating them into Club
events and activities.

Challenges faced by The SFYC at 150 years
mainly include assuring that its facilities can meet
the demands of its members and that members


skills – members assessed $25.00 • 1935 – beloved Annie is given a Viking Funeral and set afire – her mast serves as The Club’s first flagpole • 1937 – Bay Area celebrates opening of the

can maximize their en- will allow for much-needed Be patient
with your
joyment of yachting on new space for meetings, boaters and
let them rant.
the Bay. There is a long events and, most impor- Most of them
will get over it
waiting list for space in tantly, the hosting in fine come December.

the harbor. On the water, SFYC style of regional and — Matthew Goldman

the “No Boat, No Problem” international regattas. The

initiative was launched by new building will be an

Commodore Jerry Eaton attractive and impressive

in 2017. It is a new um- addition to our distinctive

brella program intended physical plant, and is

to get the “boat-less” into being financed through

other members’ boats, Club reserves, member

provide training on club- donations to the “Next

owned boats, and de- 150 Years” campaign, and

velop a fleet of club- bank financing.

owned boats for mem- As part of our 150th

ber use in regattas and Anniversary celebrations,

pleasure boating. , plans include hosting a
Off the water, the Nautical Day, house tour
above: The SFYC Bulletin featuring of our historical artifacts,
Sailing Center and Youth 2017 Yachtswoman of the Year, Stephanie Stroub; and other exciting events.
Training Facility were This commemorative book
expanded in 2018, but right: Folkboat Regatta, 2009 provides members with a
more was needed. It was

known for some time beautiful record of our

that the beloved Cove House was deteriorating, Club’s exciting and unique history—”our story.”

outdated and could no longer meet the needs of After 150 wonderful years of challenge, ach-

the membership. The Cove House was razed in ievement, growth, boating enthusiasm and excit-

the summer of 2018 to make way for an exciting ing racing, and social activities for members and

new facility, which was years in the works. Finally, their families of all ages, The San Francisco Yacht

plans were approved by the City of Belvedere Club is well-prepared and poised to identify and

and a host of regulatory agencies under the guid- pursue its own special boating on the shores of

ance of S/C Ed Lynch. This handsome building Belvedere Cove.


Golden Gate Bridge, which causes the slow decline of railroad commerce and rapid growth of Marin County • Role of Tiburon as a Railroad depot diminishes in the early 50s in favor of


Sausalito’s ferry and larger commercial facilities • Membership totals 150 as Belvedere and Tiburon become “family towns” instead of a railroad terminal • Richardson Bay Yacht Club



left to right: Tim McGowan,
Mel Owen, Hank Easom, Ed Lynch,

Ken Frost, Elizabeth Merrill
and Carol Jesmore


disbands and members are welcomed to SFYC • Pearl Harbor attack takes place in 1941 • Again, SFYC and other Bay Area clubs experience substantial reductions in activities as our men

Corinthian Island, the Cove and Tiburon Hills from Belvedere Island, Marin County, California (1937) by Selden Conner Gile: Photographic reproduction by Belvedere-Tiburon Landmarks Society (1994)

The excellent engineering My family bought a 210, Women were very active
of the breakwater has and then we chose SFYC in Bay Area regattas in
survived years of storms due to a jungle gym located the 50s and participated
and tidal action. on the property. in The Adams Cup.

– Tim McGowan – Ken Frost – Carol Jesmore

, , ,

We had the shore boats to In the early days, ladies Two old salts were painting
take us out to our moorings. were given a lounge and the “Lady B.” Did one side,
“Pat Pending” was the first allowed to fish from decks. had a few drinks and painted
the same side again because
yacht in the harbor, The sandbox was the the tide had moved the boat
visible from my dad’s Auxiliary’s first gift
bathroom window. around 180 degrees.
to The Club.

– Mel Owen – Elizabeth Merrill – Hank Easom


and women go off to war • With the end of the war, Club and Bay Area competition expands dramatically, especially among returning veterans who establish homes in Marin County •

HISTORY of Club is not required to pay for a lease from the tained to draft initial plans, and MacDonald Engi-
SFYC HARBOR State Lands Commission. neering was retained to do the work.

, In 1955, Belvedere Cove was beautiful and The Harbor Development Committee was
well-protected, but shallow. The closest developed incorporated as an independent organization re-
O by MEL OWEN harbors were in Sausalito. Staff Commodore Bill La- porting to the Board of Directors. That allowed it
NCE THE BELVEDERE CLUBHOUSE Violette had been championing the idea of building to collect money and incur debt without unduly
was built, The Club began its current that kind of harbor in Belvedere for some time, but it burdening The Club. Leonard James used his ex-
tenure in its own facilities in Belvedere. seemed the time was never right. Many ideas were pertise as a maritime attorney to develop all of
The period from 1934 until 1955 represented an floated, but none would begin in earnest until 1955, the legal documents needed and he negotiated
enormously uncertain time including the Depression, when under the leadership of Commodore Leonard most of the permits needed to proceed. Don also
WWII, the post war recovery, and the Korean War. As James, a Harbor Development Committee was developed the financing plan. He had experience
the membership grew and started to see a bright- named and re-energized. It consisted of Leonard, doing a similar fund-raising effort for the Oakland
er and more stable future, it again began to think A. Donham (Don) Owen, Raymond Millzner, MD, Yacht Club. That plan involved selling $50 bonds
about how to make the Belvedere tide-lots a more William LaViolette, and Leonard von Schulteis. to members bearing 5% interest. With ownership
valuable asset for Club members and boating. Member Henry Homan, a local engineer, was re- of these bonds came a lifetime berth right which

The Club’s location in Belvedere Cove blessed Building Belvedere harbor in 1957
it with not only a protected location, but also with
unique ownership rights to the tide-lots beneath its
harbor. When California became a state in 1850,
it claimed title to all submerged lands—including
the entire San Francisco Bay. However, under the
1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that ended the
Mexican-American War, the state of California was
required to honor land entitlements granted by the
Mexican government prior to the treaty, including
the 1834 grant of Rancho Corte Madera del Presi-
dio, site of The Club’s land and harbor. As a result,
The Club is one of the few in California that actu-
ally owns the land beneath its harbor, and The


1954 sees the establishment of the SFYC Women’s Auxiliary • The Harbor Committee is organized to address the need for modern and safe sail and power boat berths • 1958 – the Junior

SFYC in Belvedere harbor, 2017

extended after the notes were retired. Each bond all aspects of the harbor including maintenance, tee. That committee was uniquely structured with
would last no more than thirty years and was to rate setting, a wait list for members who wanted rotating four-year terms and five or seven voting
be paid down annually. to put their boats in the harbor, and all the finan- members and two non-voting members. This struc-
cial aspects of the operation. No blending of the ture recognizes the complexity of managing this
The project began in 1956 with dredging of the funds between The Club and the harbor was per- facility and the value of institutional memory in
tide-lots and placing the spoils on the beach along mitted. The harbor was not allowed to be a finan- doing so. Managing The Club’s wharves, floats,
Belvedere Island near The Club. This served as the cial burden on The Club. That committee had four docks, parking lot, and breakwater, including
fill for the parking lot. This was soon followed by permanent members and the sitting Commodore. dredging of the harbor and our access channel,
building the piling breakwater, fairways, and slips. Staff Commodores Leonard James, Emmet Rixford, is a complex task requiring high-level negotiations
Matthew (Tim) McGowan, and Roger Eldridge with the governmental agencies which have juris-
Construction was completed and the harbor served in this capacity for many years. Tim and diction over the marine environment—the City of
was dedicated on November 3, 1957. At that time, Roger continued to serve when the Harbor Man- Belvedere, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the
it was the only yacht harbor on the Pacific Coast agement Committee was established as an inte- Bay Coastal Developmental Commission to name
to be funded completely by Club members. 1000 gral part of Club governance. the key ones.
members and guests attended this event includ-
ing H.G. Stevens, chairman of the newly created In the early 1980s, the remaining bonds were This valuable asset is now managed as part of
California Small Craft Harbor Commission. The retired, and in 1984 a by-law was passed that the entire Club property. It continues to be an ongo-
total cost of the project was about $300,000. established the Harbor Management Committee ing legacy to those bold Club leaders who saw the
as the successor to the original Harbor Commit- incredible potential of the Belvedere Cove property.
Management of the harbor fell to the Harbor
Committee, who with a Harbor Master, managed


Sailing Program is established by Commodore Raymond Millzner, MD under the guidance of a standing committee, training and supporting youths from the Club and surrounding schools

, The San Francisco Yacht Club’s Belvedere clubhouse in the 1940s

in a year-round, nationally-recognized program • The Chester Nimitz Award for youth training excellence is earned by the Club more than any other local club • Cal 20’s and Rhodes

and on Opening Day 2018. A few things have changed… ,

Photo by Greg Dachtler

19s join other growing classes on the water • Women compete alongside men – the Adam’s Cup is brought home by Club women regularly • Women are formally admitted to individual

news release upon the creation of The
, SFYC Women’s Auxiliary.
It all started with an idea, which grew into
by MARILY RIMMER and ELIZABETH MERRILL a search, that became a SFYC tradition.
The idea and search started in 1953. Respon-
After 85 Years, ding to the growing interest of women in yacht-
The San Francisco Yacht Club ing and yacht club activities, Commodore Frank
(Jake) Wosser and the Board of Directors of The
Discovers Women. San Francisco Yacht Club decided it was time for
the women to have their own organization. They
appointed Bob Davies as temporary
chairman of the committee


club memberships • 1983 sees the Club begin negotiations for the Cove House property • Commodore Don Harvey purchases the Cove House in 1984 for $360,000 after much discussion •

to organize the Women’s Auxiliary as a Standing
Committee of The SFYC with their own by-laws.
On March 7, 1954, with the help of Ruth Wosser,
Marge James, Mary Duhme, Mary Hartingh, Millie
Davies, Kay Ellis, Betty Frost, Janet Cook, Sue
Benkert, Dorothy Boat, Mary Francis Mitchell, Della
deSilva, Patty Crocker, Midge Moore, Mary Rose
and Onie Cumming, Bob presented the plan to

71 charter members. The idea was a hit. teas, potlucks, card parties, a style show, a semi- ,
The Women’s Auxiliary was formed and formal “Nights on the Riviera”, and the “Santa
President Mary Duhme and her Board Baby” Christmas party which included a fashion opposite left: SFYC Auxiliary Cup racing crew
were elected. show to help husbands with Christmas shopping! overlay: 1954 SFYC Women’s Auxiliary Membership card
left: Rae Marcucci [in yellow] 1966 and The Club’s 1955
So the tradition began and the wo- The Women’s Auxiliary also raised money
men were off and running. As member- and purchased a public address system for The By-Laws; above center: The SFYC Auxiliary Cup
ship in the Women’s Auxiliary quickly above right: 1954 invitation to join SFYC Auxiliary
grew, the first year included luncheons, Club, a new sandbox for the chil-
dren and organized BBQs, danc- ,41
es and a series of summer races
for junior members in which two
perpetual Auxiliary trophies were
at stake—El Toros in the Cove (8-
12 years) and keelboats on Rich-
ardson Bay (13-21 years).

When not on the water rac-
ing or cruising, The SFYC Auxiliary
is busy organizing club events.
The following years have provid-
ed something fun for everyone:
St. Patrick’s Day parties, bridge
luncheons, fashion shows and
fundraisers, the “Shipwreck Party,”

Member and space scientist, Millie Hughes-Fulford takes The Club burgee into space on Columbia in 1991 • 1992 is a busy year with the Mallory Cup, the Knarr Worlds, the Soling PCCs

time and raising funds to purchase training boats And, then in 1985, under the leadership of President
and equipment making it one of the finest Junior Nancy Rogers, the Auxiliary, through the Belvedere
programs in the Bay Area. Since 1969, the Auxiliary Cove Foundation, funded the first scholarships for
has been the keeper of The Bill Black Memorial the Youth Sailing Program.
Junior Achievement Award. During our Centennial
Year, Bettie Potter with President Pat Duggan and Many Auxiliary members have generously
Bill Black’s sister, Mrs. George More, created this contributed their artistic talents to the benefit of
very special Deed of Gift. The prestigious award The Club. Maria Woodward wrote the script and
is given annually to the outstanding sailor in the lyrics and Soloma Fisher produced several musi-
Youth Program who most typifies the ideals nur- cal productions in the 70s including “Winches and
tured by Bill Black: attitude, cooperation, respon- Wenches” in honor of The Auxiliary’s 20th anniver-
sibility, respect, seamanship and sportsmanship. sary, “Babes on the Bounty,” “Bye-Bye Bicentenni-
al,” and “Starting Line.” Donna Noble coordinated

Family Day, the “No-Go” party for those not
going on the Transpac, Valentine and Mother-Son
dances, “Paris in the Fall” formal, Harvest Moon Ball,
Monte Carlo Night, the Children’s Easter Brunch,
Chili Cook-Off, Halloween/Haunted House event
for children of all ages, the children’s Santa Brunch,
clubhouse holiday decorating, the Christmas fash-
ion shows and the annual Christmas Dinner Dance.
In addition, there have been new member recep-
tions, musicals, teas honoring Past Presidents,
dances honoring Staff Commodores, and staff ap-
preciation events to name a few.

The Auxiliary has also sponsored many awards,
which today include The Auxiliary Special Service
Award, The Marianne Mason Yachtswoman of the
Year Award, The Nancy Rogers Race Grant, and
the Bill Black Memorial Junior Achievement Award.

The Auxiliary is a primary sponsor of The
SFYC Youth Sailing Program volunteering their


and many other racing events • The harbor breakwater was designed by S/C Eldridge and McGowan with financing led by treasurer Bill Gage • The Commodore’s Ball was a gala, as it is

efforts of many talented members to create a , Ladies Fall Sailing Cruises later named the “Dream-
nautical quilt and President Nancy Wells commis- boat Series.” Later both beginning and advanced
sioned member Helen Clapham in 1993 to design opposite left: A nascent Nureyev leaping to the sailing classes for women were held under the
our first nautical scarf. Mother/Son Dance and a co-ed team of Junior Sailors leadership of President Marlene Knowles. The
above: Ladies of the SFYC Auxiliary with NASA tradition of classes and clinics for women contin-
Don’t deny these women the sport of sailing ues today and includes on the water sailing with
or sailboat racing, for many of them excel! In 1933, Astronaut Millie Hughes-Fulford proving that a youth sailing coach in J/22s.
for the first time in the history of The San Francisco a woman’s place is out of this world.
Yacht Club, a “Ladies Race,” sponsored by Captain And since we lay claim to all women members,
Robinson, took place and thus began the rich sail- let us not forget to name a few of our very own rock
ing history for The SFYC women racers. stars: Dr. Millie Hughes-Fulford, our space station
astronaut who, in 1991, took The SFYC burgee into
In 1965, women of The Club were given the outer space. Pam Healy, 1992 Barcelona Olympic
opportunity to develop their sailing skills through Bronze medalist, is also a former 470 World Cham-
training programs, both on the Bay and the pion and was on the winning 2002 Adam’s Cup
Lagoon, spearheaded by Sally Mathews Legge, team. Pam has developed a program for youth
Nancy Rogers, Ruth Barth, Grace DeFrees, Bettie sailing in the inner cities and is a mentor to junior
Potter, Marianne Mason, Denise Ross and Jean sailors including those with Olympic dreams.
Jacobs. In 1966, Denise Ross chaired the first


every year, with “Venice by the Bay” decor by artist Ann Crump and others • 1995 sees the completion of the concrete breakwater • The first Father/Daughter dance was held • The Club

The SFYC is fortunate to have Match one hanging on their wall. Her 1972 book, Of
Racing champions Katie Maxim and Liz Wind, Fog and Sail–Sailing on San Fran-
Baylis. Liz has more than 30,000 cisco Bay is cherished. “Diane’s
offshore miles including the images of sailing vessels are
Transpac and Pacific Cup beyond criticism; they are to
races from California to Hawaii. be absorbed as an expression
As a match racer, Liz won the 2002 of the natural harmony of wind and
Women’s Match Racing World Champi-
onship title and received the 2002 US Rolex sail,” said Charles L. Bates. Ashley Perrin’s
Yachtswoman of the Year award. She led the credentials read like a Who’s Who of Sailing! A
campaign to include women’s match racing in the racing sailor who has amassed over 85,000 miles
2012 Olympics and is Chairman of the World Sail- on the ocean racing and delivering yachts, Ashley
ing March Racing Committee. Katie participated holds her IYT Master of Yachts 200T license and
on the 2008 winning Adams Cup team and has teaches the Safety at Sea course at The SFYC.
been ranked 3rd in 2014 and 4th in 2015 US Wom-
en Match Racers Championships. She was also a Many women sailors have won awards and
winning skipper in the 2016 and 2017 SFYC Auxil- have been honored throughout the years, from
iary Cup regattas. Diane Beeston was a Honorary Janice Still and her Cal 20 to the heavy hitters
Lifetime Member of The SFYC and 1980 Yachts- like Vicki Sodaro and Stephanie Wondolleck—we
woman of the Year. Many have seen Diane’s pho- congratulate you all for your inspiration!
tographs and some are lucky enough to have
The Adams Cup: From 1924-2011, the Mrs.
Charles Frances Adams Cup was the competition
for the United States Women’s Sailing Champion-


above: The Shadow by SFYC Honorary Life Member,
Diane Beeston, author of the book Of Wind, Fog and Sail
above right: Auxiliary 50th Anniversary gala invitation
right: Marianne Mason Yachtswoman of the Year recipients

opposite: 2002 Adams Cup Wonder Woman
under sail, overlayed by The SFYC Auxiliary
Nancy Rogers Woman’s Race Trophy


approved a food and drink minimum charge again, after much debate • 1999 sees the 100th racing of the San Francisco Perpetual Challenge Trophy, which SFYC won • Liz Baylis receives the

ship. Through eliminations held around the the Year Award was Connie Stong, who has been
country, the Adams Cup determined an overall followed by 43 outstanding women sailors, sail-
champion for the sport of women’s sailing in the boat racers and SFYC volunteers.
U.S. Nancy Rogers with crew members Ruth Barth
and Marianne Mason, skippered the first team The Nancy Rogers Women’s Race Grant: In
from The SFYC to participate in the Adams Cup 2011, President Lisa Harris and Harvey Rogers
eliminations. In 1956, two years after the founding (Nancy Roger’s husband) established “The Nancy
of the Women’s Auxiliary President Betty Frost Rogers Women’s Race Grant” as a tribute to one
established the Adams Cup Fund to encourage of The Club’s more legendary and beloved racers,
future interest in competitive sailing and in 1966, adding to our tradition of honoring competitive
The SFYC hosted the Adams Cup finals in Cal 20’s.
Through the years, the Auxiliary has sponsored
many women as they participated in area elimina-
tions and finals. In 1999, 2002, 2006 and 2008,
the Adams Cup was won by The SFYC women—
Vicki Sodaro, Stephanie Wondolleck and crew
members Karina Vogen Shelton, Emily French,
Katie Maxim, Pam Healy and Jodi Lee Drewery.

The Marianne Mason Yachtswoman of the
Year Award: In 1976, the Auxiliary and the Mason
family established the Marianne Mason Award
for Outstanding Yachtswoman of the Year in honor
of one of our foremost women sailors and Aux-
iliary volunteers. Marianne Mason was Auxiliary
President in 1959 and crewed on the first SFYC
team to participate in the Adams Cup elimina-
tions. The qualifications “are to have shown an
active interest in sailing; have contributed exten-
sive time to the activities of The San Francisco
Yacht Club; and with consideration to leader-
ship, cooperation and respect.” The first annual
winner of the Marianne Mason Yachtswoman of


Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year • SFYC wins the San Francisco Cup after a 13-year dry spell • The Sailing Center is dedicated to supporting expanded racing activities • 2003–the main

women racers. Nancy had been a club member izing Committee to honor, encourage and sup-
since 1948, Yachtswoman of the Year in 1984, Aux- port women sailors and their participation in racing.
iliary President in 1985 and an all-around trail- The organizing committee included 2000 Pres-
blazer. This grant is given to a female race com- ident Ann Welch (chair and founder), 2003 Pres-
petitor for being an outstanding ambassador of ident Elizabeth Merrill (founder), 2015 Commo-
female sailors at The SFYC. The criteria includes dore Suzie Moore, 2015 Co-Presidents Helen
a history of sailing under The SFYC burgee, recent Reilly and Marily Rimmer, 2015 Auxiliary Director
history of participation in locally, nationally and/ Paige Brooks, 2015 Race Council Chair Nancy
or internationally recognized race programs or DeMauro, 1988 President Carol Jesmore, 2015
regattas, confirmed goals for continuation as Race Development Committee Chair Angie Lackey-
a race competitor/sailor in high profile sailing Olson and Alice Shinn. The first winning skipper
events and character qualities consistent with an was Anne McCormack.
ambassador of The SFYC. The first recipient was
Molly Robinson. The Special Service Award: In 2003, in recog-
nition of the Auxiliary’s 50th Anniversary, Presi-
The San Francisco Yacht Club Auxiliary Cup: dent Elizabeth Merrill created the Special Service
“The Auxiliary Cup” was established in 2015 by Award to re-focus the mission of the Auxiliary, to
The SFYC Auxiliary and the Auxiliary Cup Organ- renew public awareness and to honor an Auxiliary


above: 2015 SFYC Auxiliary Cup poster
right: 2016 SFYC Auxiliary Cup QE3 crew
opposite top: 2017 Auxiliary Runway event

inset: Hand-stitched quilt for fund-raising
opposite right: Ruth Wosser and Midge Moore,

Women’s Auxiliary founding members


Clubhouse is renovated • 2006 and succeeding years see more improvements to enhance the “member experience” • In 2007, SFYC wins both the San Francisco Cup and the San Francisco

to benefit Youth Sailing and other Club projects.
The Auxiliary has given back to The Club in many
ways—recently the remodel of the Ladies Lounge,
outdoor deck furniture, a dance floor, club dinner
plates with the burgee, J/22 sailboat for the ladies,
the inlaid compass rose in The Club’s foyer, life-
saving defibrillators and a quilt hand-stitched
by members.

With enthusiasm and expertise, The San Fran-
cisco Yacht Club Auxiliary has enriched the history
of The SFYC and inspired generations of youth
and women to enjoy being on the water, whether
cruising or excelling in the sport of sailboat racing.
Now celebrating our 65 years, we congratulate
The San Francisco Yacht Club on its 150 years of
yachting tradition on the Bay and beyond.

member who “has demonstra- members, all female spouses of
ted and sustained their passion SFYC members and female part-
and dedication to the service ners who reside with a member.
of The Auxiliary.” The first re-
cipients were Robin Daly and The SFYC Auxiliary con-
Christina Decker. tinues to promote the mission
and purpose of The San Fran-
Following the acceptance cisco Yacht Club by building
of SFYC women as regular mem- community through social and
bers with full voting rights in club elections, the educational activities with special emphasis on
Women’s Auxiliary, in 1980, amended its bylaws women and youth. The Auxiliary fulfills our mis-
and changed its name to The San Francisco Yacht sion by providing social events for members and
Club Auxiliary offering membership to all regular families: supporting selected sailing activities with
women members and spouses of all members. To special emphasis on women through education,
keep with the changing times, The SFYC Auxiliary recognition, and philanthropy and by developing
amended their bylaws again to include all female and implementing selected fundraising activities


Perpetual Challenge Trophy • 2009 sees a major dredging of the Harbor, repeated in 2018 – Fresh water is piped to the docks replacing well water • In 2009, the deed of trust is written



Commodore: Paul S. Rosenlund Directors: James C. [Jerry] Eaton – Junior Staff Commodore
Matthew Cromar
Vice Commodore: Andrew Fromm Jennifer Dailey
Craig Healy
Rear Commodore: Stuart T. Reilly Christopher Lacey
Edward Lynch
Treasurer: Robert Brant

Secretary: Nancy DeMauro

front row from left: Nancy DeMauro [Secretary], Stuart T. Reilly [Rear Commodore], Paul S. Rosenlund [Commodore], Andrew Fromm [Vice Commodore], Robert Brant [Treasurer]
back row from left: Christopher Lacey, Edward Lynch, Matthew Cromar, Jr. Staff Commodore James C. [Jerry] Eaton, Jennifer Dailey, Craig Healy


for the Corinthian Cup, an annual competition with the Annapolis Yacht Club • The Outside Regatta Committee is formed to pursue regatta opportunities “beyond the horizon” •

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