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More Olde Timey Images of Yacht Racing Past

A couple of weeks ago, we ran images of yacht racing coverage in the San Francisco Chronicle from back in the 1950s. That inspired John Dukat to send us these images from the archives of the Examiner and the Oakland Tribune from prewar days of yore.

The San Francisco Examiner Sunday sports section led with Bird Boat racing on May 17, 1936.
© 2022 San Francisco Examiner

“W.R. Hearst’s Examiner used to cover yachting quite decently (prewar to mid-1950s). Lots of front and center sailing with photos on the cover of their sporting section,” noted John.

Snipe photo on sports page
In this image from June 1, 1941, Dorothy Hollander appears to be singlehandedly wrangling a Snipe. Hearst apparently even sponsored a regatta back in the day,
© 2022 San Francisco Examiner

“There was a second reason yachting wasn’t covered pre-internet. Other sports get covered in the papers. The Bay Area has how many professional teams? How many college teams?

“Once when I called the sports desk trying to get a little yacht race snippet in, I was told in no uncertain terms: ‘The Monday after a 49ers win, the Chron sells [something like a quarter million] more papers’.”

Bear boats in Oakland Tribune
Bear Boat fleet racing led the sports section of the Oakland Tribune on Monday, June 2, 1941.
© 2022 Oakland Tribune

“Yachting coverage’s decline in the papers might start with professional teams coming west, and possibly the college football national rankings. Add to the mix that yachting also suffers from an undeserved hoity-toity tag.”

Bird Boat racing
Bird Boat racing on the front (sports) page in August 1941. This photo depicts Skylark, skippered by Harrold Decker of Richmond Yacht Club. We’ve observed that horse racing also enjoyed a heyday that has faded into the past. You know that fancy new stadium where they just put on Super Bowl LVI? It was built on the footprint of the old Hollywood Park racetrack.
© 2022 San Francisco Examiner


  1. John Carapiet 2 years ago

    Lattitude 38 September 1989 has the Skylark with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background, on the cover. I still have the Cover and the print that I bought from Lattitude as I owned the boat.

  2. Dennis Greathouse4 2 years ago

    Are there any old photos of the Folkboat fleet in the 60’s. My team on Alice (#70) wan the fleet YRA championship in 1968 with the entire crew being UC Berkelry grad students (we were young and tough in a very wet boat)

  3. J Krowley 2 years ago

    Fantastic…Thank you for posting!

  4. Brad Smith 2 years ago

    Sailing in a Snipe, my first memory (more or less) ever. The cool thing was the wood ones had these spray shields on the deck that kept the little guy in the bottom from getting soaked. I have a perfectly clear image of what those floor boards looked like that day and I was sure I was going to die.

  5. ROBERT Walker 2 years ago

    My first sailing experience came from renting an El Toro in Redwood city and Immediately being stuck in the slough across from the rental shop breaking an oar and spending my hour getting the boat back across the slough to the dock house.

  6. Jennifer Bryant 2 years ago

    Most, if not all, of the yachting images published in the San Francisco Examiner were taken by staff photographer Bob Bryant, who was both an expert photographer and sailor. I have all of his original images and the newspaper clippings.

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Sailing for Your Ears
Margie is a lifelong sailor, a Singlehanded Transpacific racer, and an ASA instructor who is passionate about supporting women in following their sailing dreams.