Just Look At The View!

In the summer of 1988 53 boaters responded to a flyer announcing the first meeting for harbor tenants interested in forming a Yacht Club. Meeting in the Longshoreman & Warehouse Union Hall tucked under an off-ramp of the old Embarcadero freeway across from the harbor, we spent some time shaking hands and trying to remember names before we addressed the basic question: Just how the heck do you create a Yacht Club?

Few of us had ever visited a yacht club let alone been a member of one. Out of the discussion that followed various subjects were identified—membership, club rules and by-laws, licenses and permits required, legal status for IRS—and action groups were formed. We then agreed to meet the following month, giving us all time to visit as many of the local yacht clubs as possible and learn what we could learn.

Register for the next big event - 30th Anniversary Doublewide Regatta August 11. 2018

Meeting adjourned? Not quite. As the joke goes, a bunch of sailors got together and suddenly a race broke out. One guy announced that he would put together a race committee if the group was up for a race; then a nice lady said she’d taken some notes and would make up a newsletter, and someone suggested a potluck barbecue above G dock down by those swell new restrooms. Pioneers, we thought that was pretty cool.

So, before we even had a name for our club we had a race (won by Paul Osborn aboard GRENADIER), and a four-page newsletter that included a sign up for the Friday Night Races, the first gathering of the clan and had begun negotiations for a spot on Pier 40 to park our double-wide Clubhouse. We were on our way.

Over the years the freeway came down and the neighborhood grew up, complete with palm trees and antique streetcars. We can’t say we ever completely figured out the answer to that “how do you create” question, because we’re still working at…. making it work.

We’re a bit young to have rich traditions, so let’s call the following “nice habits.”

While always the major part of our on-the-water and social activities, our dynamic racing program has expanded to provide year around events, and the lively after-race bragging/lie swapping dinner parties are a hoot.

The editors, over the years, produced our newsletter, aka THE WAVELENGTH, the one function of our club that reaches every member,  work hard to make our newsletter informative, interesting and entertaining.

Our OOD (officer of the day) program trains volunteer members who take turns opening the club and tending bar. This is a great way to get involved in club activities and a surefire way to meet the rest of our membership. Finally, it’s our officers, the board of directors and the Treasurers' no-nonsense (a budget is not just a suggestion!) business policy that we can thank for the financial health and well being of South Beach Yacht Club.

So here we are, 30 years later and just fifty feet east of the Union Hall where it all started. But look at the view and what’s happening now.

South Beach Yacht Club now has nearly 500 members and growing. We formally host over 40 races per year, our Friday Night Series; running from April through September has 50 boats registered and packs the clubhouse following the races with over 150 thirsty and hungry racers.

Notable is the Red Bra Regatta, an all women’s race with an all male race committee, held every fall with now upward of 20 boats entered, and rumored to be one of the biggest all women races in the country. And of course our continued participation in the kick off party and the start line of the Jazz Cup Regatta held every Labor Day weekend, with a finish line 27 nautical miles away in Benicia. Over 100 boats usually register and project one of the most beautiful sites on the bay as boats head downwind under spinnakers for most of the distance.

Having found our way as an organization we now lead many events on the bay when our incredible Race Committee is called upon not only for our own races but to support world-renowned races on the Bay like the Annual Rolex Big Boat Series, America's Cup and more.

We’re not only about racing, over 15 social events per year including live bands and fun competitions, not to mention a first rate menu with a chef that serves over 200 meals a weekend in peak season. Our cruise-outs are well attended by powerboat members as well as sail boaters and an opportunity to meet some of our neighboring clubs on the bay.

We’re 30 years strong and ready for the next big thing!

Register for the next big event - 30th Anniversary Doublewide Regatta August 11. 2018

                     Racing, Cruising, Living the Lifestyle!