Our club is devoted to the building and sailing of model yachts, both power and sail. Whether you are a builder, sailor, or just plain interested in this interesting and beautiful hobby, all are welcome.
We are located in San Francisco’s historic Golden Gate Park at the 36th Avenue and Fulton Street entrance. There we have a clubhouse and a lake, both of which are devoted to model yachting.
The club was founded in 1898, with members sailing 36″ model yachts on Stow Lake, which was not particularly well suited for model boating. The Spreckels Family donated our lake, Spreckels Lake, to the city of San Francisco in 1903. The lake was specifically designed for model yachting. The first clubhouse was built with materials salvaged from the 1906 earthquake. The current clubhouse was built as a WPA project in 1937 and serves as a boat storage facility and meeting location for our members. When the club house is open and attended by a member, all are welcome to come in and have a look at our beautiful collection of boats, most of which are in sailing condition and operational. And of course, the lake is open to everyone, regardless of whether one is a member. The lake is available to powerboats from 10:00am until 1:00pm, and to sail boats from 1:00pm on. The only proviso is that normal courtesy prevails with regard to radio frequencies and sailing rules.
Our club is unique because it is the only venue left in the United States that is home to actively racing freesail yachts. Freesail boats rely on the wind, the set of the sail and the set of the rudder only. Some boats in the club are over seventy years old and are still sailed competitively. The club offers some freesail boats for lease to members, after some instruction by an experienced sailor and sufficient skill is demonstrated in freesail boat operation. The Sail Squadron hosts competition in five different classes of radio control model yachts, and four different classes of freesail model yachts.
In addition to the SAIL SQUADRON, the club also has an active POWER SQUADRON, which features a unique and beautiful collection of scratch built, working model boats. One of its newest endeavors is the Springer tug boat fleet. The power squadron offers to the public, in addition to its season long competitive events, two unique displays of the boat builder’s art. One is scheduled every February – “The Frost Bite Regatta.” It is a static display of the boat builder’s art. The event is not limited to powerboats, but includes any model sailing vessel. The other event is held biennially – “Wooden Boats on Parade.” This event not only displays the beauty of hand built boats, but allows the builder to show off the unique engineering required to allow these boats to operate just like their full sized counterparts, but on a small scale.
Both squadrons hold regattas on Saturdays and Sundays all season long. In addition, some sail squadron classes hold regattas on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoons. Opening day for the season is in early March of each year, and the season ends in late October.
The Power Squadron regattas generally start at 9:30am on Sundays, and feature many colorful events requiring skippers to apply their skills as tugboat operators. One of the most entertaining events is the “Rubber Ducky Round-Up,” which features a new fleet of tugs called “Springers.”
The Sail Squadron holds regattas on most Saturdays and Sundays, and some Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays during the season. Regattas start at 1:00pm. The club has active fleets in the following sail boat classes: Star 45, Santa Barbara, RX (radio X Class), ODOM, Wheeler, Infinity 54, Victoria, X Class freesail, Classic X freesail, M Class freesail and 36R Class freesail.
A schedule of club events is posted in the clubhouse and in the glass case on its outside wall. The club holds monthly membership meetings at 11:00am on the second Saturday of every month. Meetings are open to all.