San Francisco Yacht Club

98 Beach Road

Belvedere , CA 94920

(415) 435-9133

From the Commodore:

On behalf of The San Francisco Yacht Club, we are proud to become a Founding Member of the National Sailing Hall of Fame.

As a Founding Member, The San Francisco Yacht Club and its members support the efforts to preserve America’s sailing legacy and to honor those who have made outstanding contributions to American Sailing.

Our members look forward to visiting this landmark for sailing enthusiasts.

Good sailing,

Robert Heller, Commodore




Founded in 1869, The San Francisco Yacht Club is the oldest club on the Pacific Coast. 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 move again 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 San Francisco Yacht Club, with its tranquil setting in Belvedere Cove and its superb harbor, is widely recognized as the premier yachting facility on the West Coast. It operates a year round facility including the harbor, a dry sail area, a full service restaurant and bar. The Club’s exterior and interior were completely remodeled in 2007.

The Club has a very active junior sailing program and all members, whether they own boats or not, are committed to the Corinthian traditions of yachting.

A Point in Time…

July 25, 1909
In Class C of The San Francisco Yacht Club’s race yesterday, the good old schooner Chispa , piloted by Captain Charley Chittenden, carried off the trophy a beautiful silver cup, donated by Commodore Hanify.

The Chispa is a sample of yacht construction in the early days and the fact that after thirty five years of active work in these waters she is able to beat the boats of modern build speaks well for the old craft. She was built by Captain Turner at the Benicia yards for Staff Commodore I. Gutte, who owned and sailed her continuously up to the time of his death recently. The Chispa has seldom been out of commission, but was kept on the go summer and winter alike.

Cap Chittenden who is probably better known than any other yachtsmen on the Bay and who piloted the Chispa in yesterday’s race, has sailed up and down this coast for forty five years and knows every tide eddy in the bay and almost every wind streak. Many will congratulate the old captain as thousands have sailed on his yachts Sapho White Wings and Lively during the time that he sailed these different yachts in early days and be it said to his credit, always without an accident.

Instead of going back, as is the case with most yachts, the Chispa may be said to have gone ahead in the matter of sailing, particularly this season, as she has of late had considerable alterations made. Her “sticks” which for years had a rake of six feet, have been straightened out and the double head sails have been replaced by a single jib and these two items have contributed largely to her improved sailing qualities.

After the race Commodore Hanify went aboard the Chispa and congratulated the old “Cap” and the crew, complimenting them on the way they handled their boat. Commodore Hanify’s schooner Martha was a keen rival of the Chispa in yesterday’s race and considering that the Martha is practically a new boat, with all the latest ideas in yacht building, the victory of the Chispa stands out the more prominently and Captain Chittenden and his crew are greatly elated over their victory, especially as most yachtsmen have never given the Chispa a look-in in the line of racing. She was always considered a good, comfortable cruising yacht, but the amateur tars will now begin to sit up and take notice when she appears in future races.

Click here for an updated historical timeline.

Quick Links

The Sailing Museum & Hall of Fame

365 Thames Street

Newport, RI 02840