The History of SFYC
In the summer of 1869, a group of active, local yachtsmen formed the San Francisco Yacht Club – the first yacht club west of the Mississippi – to create a more orderly and monitored form of conduct, and ensure that Bay Area racing was respected elsewhere. Almost 150 years later, the SFYC has grown into an internationally renowned club.
The original anchorage and clubhouse were located in San Francisco, near Mission Rock, but inadequate depth of water and increasing industrial growth in the area resulted in a move to Sausalito. Waterfront property was purchased and a new clubhouse erected, but it was subsequently destroyed by fire in 1897. The rebuilt building is still standing and now houses a restaurant, currently called Trident.
Increasing ferry traffic and congestion contributed to a decision to relocate in 1926. One group, headed by Commodore Clifford Smith, felt that Belvedere Cove would be an ideal location. Another group felt that the Club should move back to San Francisco and lease land from the city on the Marina. After considerable discussion, the Belvedere site was finally selected. Those who opposed the move resigned and formed the St. Francis Yacht Club.
A small clubhouse on the Belvedere site was completed in 1934 and is still part of the present building. Planning for the present 190-berth harbor was begun in 1933 and completed in 1957 when funds were available. The Club's exterior and interior were completely remodeled in 2007. In 2016, The Club received approval from the Belvedere Planning Commission to begin construction of a new Regatta Center, which will take the place of the Cove House at the northwest end of The Club property.
SFYC: A Historic Timeline
Take a tour through our rich history below. We encourage our members to submit photos for consideration by sending electronic copies of high resolution photos with captions to Celebrate150@sfyc.org