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Santa Barbara Yacht Club Celebrates 150 Years

The Santa Barbara Yacht Club, founded in 1872, is celebrating its 150th anniversary. Starting in January and continuing throughout the year, the club will be hosting events and races to commemorate its history, achievements, contributions to the city of Santa Barbara, and its national and international involvement in the sport of yachting.

According to the Lloyd’s Register of American Yachts, the Santa Barbara Yacht Club was formed in 1872, and is the second-oldest yacht club on the Pacific Coast. Club records show that the original clubhouse was a 35- by 20-ft building at the foot of Stearns Wharf. The southeast corner of the building was occupied by a galley with a wood stove. The southwest corner was a head with a pipe leading to the beach below. A battered piano stood in the northeast corner. The membership totaled 50.

Santa Barbara Yacht Club
Fortunately, the clubhouse facilities have improved significantly.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

Today, the club has an impressive history of prestigious sailing events, with Sir Thomas Lipton once awarding it one of his spectacular solid-silver trophies in appreciation of the “zeal and activities of the Santa Barbara Yacht Club.” The Lipton Cup Regatta itself is an annual event sailed as the International Star Boat Regatta. Other notable sailing credits include the 1923 Transpac Race, which was hosted by and started from the club’s facility.

In celebration of this great history, the club has planned several events to run at various times during the year:

  • The unveiling of a bronze plaque at the club entrance, recognizing its 150-year history.
  • Hosting the club’s Opening Day events and activities over two days on the weekend of April 2 and 3.
  • The Blessing of the Fleet event.
  • A sailboat race series of five races, scheduled throughout the year.
  • An event to recognize and honor the staff commodores. There are 112 known commodores of the Santa Barbara Yacht Club, of whom 22 are alive. There has been one honorary commodore — in 1925 Major Max Fleischmann was made honorary commodore for his efforts to build the harbor breakwater, both a financial and a personal commitment.
  • A yacht club history display at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum.
  • A professional video production about the yacht club — sailing and contributions to the community.
  • A tall-ship arrival and celebration highlighting the yacht club’s contribution to youth sailing.
Santa Barbara YC boats
These days the club hosts events that can bring 300 yachts and up to 5,000 people into the seaside town of Santa Barbara.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

For more information about the club and the planned events, you can visit the website or email [email protected].

You can read more about the history of the Santa Barbara Yacht Club in The Santa Barbara Yacht Club: A Waterfront History, and on the club’s website www.sbyc.org.

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