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Sausalito YC Celebrates 75 Years

Six early members of Sausalito YC, left to right: Bill Whitaker, John Hooper (founder), Mark Mettier, Hank Easom, Robert Hobart and Jim Enzensperger (founder) in the late 1940s.

© Sausalito Yacht Club

Among milestone anniversaries being celebrated in the West Coast sailing milieu this year is Sausalito Yacht Club’s 75th (trivia fans: that would be the Diamond Anniversary). The club was founded on New Year’s Eve, 1942, by seven boys, all under the age of 17: Roy Ashley, Park Densmore, Bob Dinehardt, Jim Enzensperger, John Ford, John Hooper and John Koenig. The boys were too young to go to war, and locals who were serving in World War II left their boats in the care of the teenagers.

In the early days, SYC shared digs with San Francisco YC, in this building that currently houses the Trident Restaurant and Ondine’s.

© Sausalito Yacht Club

"The new club was a magnet for the youth on Sausalito’s waterfront," states SYC’s newsletter, the Squeegee. "The first by-laws stayed in place for 10 years and didn’t allow members who were older than the oldest founding member." The youthful members partied and cruised together, visited other yacht clubs, organized intraclub races, and sponsored Small Boat Racing Association events in Sausalito. The club was incorporated in 1945. The current clubhouse opened in 1960 on a site where the railroad met the ferry (their next-door neighbor since the mid-70s has been the increasingly popular passenger ferry terminal).

SYC’s new clubhouse — as seen from the water in 1960.

© Rondal Partridge

Two of the young founders owned Mercurys, and historic events this year included the Homecoming Regatta for Mercurys on October 21. Fifteen Mercs sailed in light air within view of the clubhouse on Richardson Bay. PRO Jeff Zarwell set up a course along the Belvedere waterfront. Frequent wind shifts meant the course had to be realigned for each of the five races, with the benefit that the windward mark gradually moved closer to those watching from shore.

Mercury racing returned home to Richardson Bay in October. "Although the club has an extensive race program, around 35 regattas each year, this one required additional logistics. All the boats are dry-sailed and so would arrive at the venue on trailers," reports race chair Doug Ford. SYC’s Lynne Miller worked with Schoonmaker Point Marina and Sausalito Yacht Harbor to provide hoist and storage facilities for the fleet.

© 2017 Sausalito Yacht Club

Sailing up and down Richardson Bay was new to most and a memory for the experienced. Some went to the Belvedere shore, others to the Sausalito side. After many lead changes, John Hansen with crew Tony Basso won the regatta with Magic, #562. More trivia bits: SYC’s 32-year-old purpose-built race committee boat is named Mercury; the Mercury is 78 years old; and the original Mercs were built by the Nunes yard — in Sausalito. See

Celebrants at the Homecoming Regatta dinner included, left to right: Bill Aubrey (staff commodore), Lynne Miller (staff commodore), Doug Ford (race chair), Park Densmore Jr., John Williams (staff commodore), Larry Moraes (commodore), Park Densmore Sr. (founding member and early Mercury sailor), Russ Wallace (staff commodore), Tom Aiden (executive board director) and Jerry Tarpin (staff commodore).

© Sausalito Yacht Club

The three-race Twin Island Series this year honored the youthfulness of the club’s founders. Skippers were encouraged to bring kids along as crew, and the youngsters received special trophies. The club runs an active youth sailing program and hosts the Tamalpais High School sailing team. They also provide marine education to young community members, and conduct a youth sailing and cultural exchange with Sausalito’s Sister City, Cascais, Portugal. For more, see

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