St. Francis Yacht Club to Fear: Not

To his surprise, our intrepid reporter David Fear discovers that the venerable St. Francis Yacht Club is on City Rec and Park property paying but token rent. He tries to squeeze in on the deal but the Mandarins of the St. Francis Yacht Club have other ideas.

Master Mariners Event Set for Sunday, June 23, 2002

By Ariane Paul
Published: June, 2002

What better way to spend a Summer day than to ride the ferry over to Tiburon and enjoy the Master Mariners’ Wooden Boat Show at the Corinthian Yacht Club. Over 50 classic sailboats will be on display Sunday, June 23rd from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. The proud owners of these boats will be happy to share tales of their adventures and discuss how they have restored and maintain their boats. There will be model boat building activities for children, and the Corinthian YC staff will serve a delicious lunch on their upper deck.

General admission to the show is $10.00. Proceeds are used to fund the Master Mariners’ benevolent activities such as scholarships for wood boat building apprenticeships at the Arques School in Sausalito and Semester at Sea programs for young people.

Attendance at last year’s boat show broke records with over 1,000 people enjoying the wonderful location and beautiful wood boats.

The Bay area boasts a rich and colorful maritime history, and the members of the Master Mariners are a continuing part of it. The club began as the “Boatmen’s Protective Association” back in 1867. On the Fourth of July they would put on a race between the large coastal schooners and sailing scows, the “work boats” of the time. After a couple of years, the group was renamed to the Master Mariners Benevolent Association (MMBA). The annual July 4th race would draw thousands of spectators watching from Telegraph Hill, which offered panoramic views of the race.

In the 1890’s participation began to drop off as ships powered by engines were becoming more common. In 1965, Master Mariners was re-born in honor of “National Maritime Day.” A group of people who owned and loved traditional sailboats got together and the MMBA regatta has been held annually ever since. Bill Vaughn (maritime lawyer), Lester Stone (Stone Boatyard), Bill Ritter, Pete Sutter (Sutter Sails), and Glenn Waterhouse were among those who helped get the group going again.

Membership is based on vessels being built to pre-WWII design and of traditional methods and materials. The annual regatta is now held on the Saturday of Memorial weekend and anywhere between 75 to 100 boats participate in sizes ranging from 20’ to over 100’. Alma, a scow schooner built in 1891 is the only vessel to be able to claim to have participated in the original races and current regattas. She won her class during the 2001 regatta, and is under the command of Captain Al Lutz and his First Mate Alice. Alma calls “Hyde Street Pier” home along with other historical ships that are open to the public and maintained by the National Park Service.

This year’s Master Mariners Regatta was held on Saturday, May 25th. The race started off the San Francisco city front and continued around the bay, finishing on the east side of Treasure Island. There were both gaff and marconi rigged boats, schooners, sloops, ketches, etc., and many designs that are native to the Bay Area, such as the Bear boats, the Bird boats, and the Farallone Clippers. Each year’s regatta brings a few boats from far away to participate as well, which adds to the excitement of the race and new friendships among the contenders. Many of the boats at the show participate annually in the regatta.

Later in the Summer, San Francisco will also be one of the ports hosting Tall Ships from around the world. The main events will take place in the Bay Area between August 28th and September 2nd, and will be organized by “Sail San Francisco”, directed by Alison Healy. There will be a pre-event festival with the early arrival of the ship Guayas between July 27th -August 3rd. Volunteers are needed to help out with the organization and staffing at the events. You’ll have even more fun getting involved as a volunteer with these lively events and meeting the ships cadets and officers.

For more information, phone (415) 447-9822, email: or visit