Eight Bells for Island Yacht Club?

In the July issue of Latitude 38 Island Yacht Club member and Santana 22 owner Ros de Vries wrote a story on the demise of the Island Yacht Club building, formerly located at Alameda Marina. Although the club is currently without a clubhouse, they went ahead and launched their Island Nights Friday night twilight series on July 10. They’ll run the remaining races on July 24, August 7 and 21, and September 11. The race committee volunteers perch on the end of the Alameda Marina dock in front of Svendsen’s old Travelift, as usual. The divisions are new: Sailors can enter the Singlehanded, Doublehanded or Household/Bubble Division. Crews of the latter two must have been sheltering together in the same household or be members of the same “Social Bubble” as defined by the Alameda County Health Order.

Additionally, IYC members are continuing to plan for their traditional fall Women’s Sailing Seminar to be held on November 14-15, 2020 — but they’re taking it online this year due to COVID-19.

Island Yacht Club
Is gentrification and redevelopment coming to a sailing neighborhood near you?
© 2020 Ros de Vries

Ros’s story in the July issue begins: “I live in the Mission District of San Francisco. Due to a concentration of rental properties and working-class residents, the proximity to the City, and an influx of highly paid workers, the Mission has developed a lively activist scene whose mother cause is affordable housing and the fight against gentrification.

“Now, if you’ve found housing that’s affordable and secure, there’s little incentive to take upon yourself the activist mantle. ‘I don’t believe in gentrification,’ a sailing buddy told me once. ‘We all just exist together, right?’

“Like this buddy, it is certain that many yacht club members — the majority being older, white and educated — have never been threatened by gentrification. They are, after all, the gentry. But privately owned waterfront land is desirable and in limited supply. With only four yacht clubs in the Bay Area holding their own titles, it’s inevitable that property developers would find a yacht club or two standing between them and their next ‘community’ of sleek waterfront condos.”

You can read the rest of Ros’s account by picking up the print edition of Latitude 38 or reading online here.


  1. Avatar
    Sam 3 weeks ago

    As far as I know, no-one earning under 100k is living in the city without assistance. If someone lives in the Mission District, they either are living outside their earning capacity or would be considered ‘gentry’ in 98 percent of the country outside major metro areas. I don’t see they should not imply because someone is in a ‘yacht club’ that person is part of the gentry. That statement alone is bigotted and uninformed. That said, I am sad to see one of the few remaining clubs where people with boating interests can seek association with like minded people, especially a club that is not in the rarefied atmosphere of Golden Gate, St. Francis or San Francisco YCs.

    As a former Santana 22 owner and estuary racer, it is a sad day and I am sure Sven is rolling over in his grave and muttering something about squandered legacy.

  2. Avatar
    Ros de Vries 3 weeks ago

    Hi Sam, I very much appreciate your comment and am deeply sorry if this part of the article was disrespectful. We are connected by a desire to ensure our communities and traditions continue.

    What we know as sailing insiders is that this sport can be accessible to all sorts of people. However, the attitude from outside of our circle is that sailing belongs to people with a lot of time and a lot of money. And to some extent, they are correct. Membership at a physical yacht club will set you back by $100’s of dollars each year minimum; many working folks (and young people especially) don’t have this cash to spare. This reinforces the idea that members are upscale and YC’s aren’t a venue for them. And while there’s alternate routes like crewing and volunteering at clubs, I’ve found this to be a hard sell. Many people dabble in sailing with an ideal of leisurely punting around the Estuary–not hardcore racing, or setting marks on shifty days.

    I’m really hoping that we can develop a well-worn route from community sailing and juniors programs, to YCs that can accommodate a wider variety of people. A big part of this will be populating YCs with people with non-sailing backgrounds, who can break down the gentry stereotype and highlight paths to cruising, racing and activities in-between. It’s the challenge for all clubs to prepare for, for the world after COVID.

    Back to IYC for a moment – we just relaunched our website today, in part to highlight our working person roots and bring the diversity of our membership to the fore.

    As for racing this Friday: Register on Jibeset, order your “to go” dinner box by noon 7/24 – and bring your social bubble for the ride. All of us at Island Yacht Club welcome you!

  3. Avatar
    Sheldonhaynie 3 weeks ago

    There’s a good reason that OYC owns its waterfront.

  4. Avatar
    Carliane Johnson 3 weeks ago

    It has seemed to me that if sailing and yacht clubs truly want to be accessible to all, then there wouldn’t be a half dozen of them on Alameda and not a single one in Oakland.

    • Christine Weaver
      Christine Weaver 3 weeks ago

      Hi Carliane, There had been yacht clubs in Oakland. I believe that Oakland YC and Metropolitan YC were originally in Oakland. But they were displaced by development! Currently, there is Lake Merritt Sailing Club. The City of Oakland does a good job within their Parks & Rec Dept. See https://www.oaklandca.gov/topics/youth-boating-and-sailing-camps

  5. Avatar
    Max 3 weeks ago

    I think bay view boat club was displaced from its original location and went on to purchase its next location to prevent that from ever happening again.

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