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A Time-Honored Tradition: Master Mariners Regatta and Luncheon

The time-honored tradition of the annual Master Mariners Regatta is coming up this Saturday with a noon start in front of the St. Francis Yacht Club. Another part of this tradition is the annual luncheon, also at the St. Francis Yacht Club, the week before the race. Here the Master Mariners Benevolent Association gathers for the skippers’ meeting, and to connect boats with their sponsors. It’s always a great affair. This year, while we missed the event as we were at the Pacific Sail & Power Boat Show in Redwood City, Randall von Wedel attended and sent in a few photos from the luncheon.

MMBA Commodore
MMBA Commodore Hans List heads up the ceremonies at the Master Mariners Luncheon.
© 2024 Randall von Wedel

Today, wooden boat buffs are a splinter group of the expanded world-sailing scene; however, the sea stories from the annual Master Mariners Regatta began in 1867, when wooden workboats from San Francisco and the Delta battled it out on the Bay in front of a crowd of spectators watching from Telegraph Hill. Today the tradition continues, as vessels such as the Matthew Turner, Freda B and numerous other members of the local classic sailing scene will go out to strut their stuff in pursuit of the banner with the strutting gamecock declaring the winner. Of particular note this year is Terry Klaus’ Brigadoon, which is celebrating her 100th birthday!

MMBA Luncheon
The MMBA luncheon always gathers a crowd of wooden-boat enthusiasts and supporters.
© 2024 Randall von Wedel

Contributions and sponsors support the event, and the mission of the MMBA, which is to foster participation in yachting and the preservation of well-designed, properly constructed, and well-maintained classic and traditional sailing craft. Not only does it support the preservation of the vessels, but it also helps support students who are learning the craftsmanship skills to keep them sailing.

Wesley Nunez
Wesley Nunez from Reliable Marine Electronics hands over his sponsor flag with Rear Commodore Liz Diaz (R) and MMBA Board Member Diane Walton(L).
© 2024 Randall von Wedel

Organizations with such a long legacy are always looking for new members to carry the torch into the future. Wesley Nunez of Reliable Marine Electronics is one of the next generation who caught the wooden-boat bug while sailing aboard the Eglestons’ Stone Boat Yard-built beauty Water Witch. The tug to be part of it was so strong that Water Witch lost their crew when Wesley bought the wooden classic Yankee One Design Flotsam, which he’ll race in this year’s regatta. Michael Tosse of Svendsen’s Marine was part of the package, as he’s skippered Flotsam for years and will helm the boat along with Wesley and his dad Roger.

If you’re curious about these traditional craft, it’s worth sailing out to see them this Saturday off the Cityfront. Plus, you can get up close and step aboard many of them by attending the MMBA Wooden Boat Show on June 22 (Summer Sailstice weekend) at the Corinthian Yacht Club in Tiburon.

The Yankee One Design Flotsam is just one of many beautiful boats whose graceful lines you’ll see on the Bay.
© 2024 John

The Friday luncheon gives all these vessels and owners the recognition they deserve. This Saturday you can join them, as Andrew Gottscho did last year, all on the Bay.


  1. Memo Gidley 4 weeks ago

    Nothing like the beauty of classic wooden boats! Thank you to all that own them!

  2. milly Biller 4 weeks ago

    I miss being part of this wonderful event !

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