The Sarasota Sailing Squadron was founded as a nonprofit organization by interested residents of the City of Sarasota for the purpose of promoting sailing.
The Squadron actually grew out of the youth sailing program of the Sarasota Yacht Club in the late 1930s, and was established by young adults who could not afford the higher dues of the yacht club. It was disbanded during World War II, but was reorganized under the auspices of the YMCA in 1946. It obtained its own charter in 1947.
The Squadron draws its membership from all strata of Sarasota society and from other states and Canada. Since its inception, the Squadron has been dedicated to the promotion of recreational sailing, racing, cruising, sailing instruction, boating safety as well as women and youth sailing programs. Until 1958 its club meetings were held at City Hall, in the commission chamber, and its sailing activities were centered around the old city pier.
With the construction of the Island Park/Marina Jack complex, and by agreement with the City of Sarasota, the Squadron has occupied the northeast section of City Island since June of 1958.
Since 1946, the Squadron has sponsored an annual Labor Day Regatta, which grew in the space of a few years into the largest all-class sailboat regatta in the Southeast.
The Squadron has also been host to numerous national and international sailing competitions. One of its first was in 1982, when it hosted the Ynglng World Championship Regatta.
More than 30 of the boats in this international yachting class came to Sarasota from Europe, and one of the skippers was the crown prince of Norway. Since those times we have hosted numerous Eastern Laser Midwinter Championships, the Mini-12 World Championships, the Sunfish Worlds 2000, several Sunfish regionals, and other regattas for a variety of boats. In 1994 members resurrected (for one year) the race to Havana, Cuba which had been abandoned since 1957 with the rise of Castro and company. For all who were there it was an historic occurrence not forgotten.
In 1979, there were only 75 families on the roster, and the club was open only for racing and social functions once a month and closed all summer. A group of determined volunteers decided to open the club up on a daily basis. The grass was cut more frequently, the property was fenced, a club snack bar was constructed out of the old Stottlemeyer Lumber Parts Counter, the north porch and kitchen were built, and the hoist was constructed. As improvements have been made to the Squadron's facilities, the club has grown to its present membership of more than 800 families and is open seven days a week and accessible for sailing 24 hours a day.
The major structures have been, with the exception of the older power pole supported part of the clubhouse, erected by professionals. Member volunteers continue to make minor improvements and perform much of the club's maintenance.
Over the Years...
- 1958 Clubhouse constructed
- 1958 Stonehouse construction began
- 1960 Building begun on barbecue pit
- 1972 Luffing Lassies organization founded to support women's sailing
- 1973 Sarasota Youth Sailing Program founded to support youth sailing
- 1980 Screened porch, north side
- 1982 Fireplace
- 1984 Covered deck on main dock
- 1984 Bandstand
- 1985 Manager's office
- 1987 Wave fence
- 1988 Electric entrance gate
- 1989 Small-boat storage building
- 1991 Second story on small-boat storage building
- 1992 City water hook-up, bandstand moved to point overlook, new outdoor pavilion
- 1993 City sewage hook-up, new lockers, hoist upgrade
- 1994 Garage, concrete walkways, serving-table fan, new barbecue building
- 1995 New Pass sea wall (city), new roof and prep tables for barbecue pit
- 1996 New floating docks in basin
- 1997 Expand leasehold 30 percent, finger docks, boat work area, new small racks, fire lane, new entrance, addition of 35 palms, dry standpipe system on wave fence, new lockers
- 1998 Replaced 100 feet of old fence. Add small drive-through gate for emergencies
- 1999 Construct larger kitchen and walk-in cooler with larger restrooms and storage room
- 2000 Construct new office, replace roof on small boat storage building
- 2001 Build new larger porch and roof for clubhouse, storage for backup hoist, storage for banquet tables on pavilion, construct 245 feet of fixed and floating docks.
- 2002 Maintenance-Milled asphalt entrance road. Redeck main dock.
- 2003 Re-deck Wave Fence, improve drainage at Small Boat Building. Added nine camera DVD Security System.
- 2004 Built 28 new lockers, repainted the Clubhouse, Small Boat Storage Building and Power House. Rebuilt two floating docks and Pump House. Upgraded Security System. Built children's playground.
- 2005 Rebuilt floating dock at end of small boat dock into 4 floating docks. Replaced black tarp on Work Area Fence with Venetian blind slats. Rebuilt washer/dryer wall. Painted work area storage boxes and garage. Refurbished all varnished surfaces in Pavilion and BBQ. Built 16 more lockers.
- 2006 Rebuilt Wave Fence part of Wave Fence and strengthened structure with cross bracing. Rebuilt 1 work boat and 2 Race Committee boats. Replaced Hoist Motor.
- 2007 Built office (storage area) for YSP use in Small Boat Storage Building. Rebuilt hoist balance mechanism.
- 2008 Squadrons first and long time manager Pat Murphy retires. (Pat Murphy spent 27 at the "Helm" as Manager)
- 2008 City provides Club a 1 year Lease extension with a 1 year renewal allowing the Squadron time to become compliant with State mooring regulations.
- 2010 Squadron helps drive extension of No Wake Zone in New Pass Channel.
- 2010 Squadron successfully renegotiates a 25 year upland lease with the City of Sarasota, the longest in Club history.
- 2011 Craig Bridges hired as Manager.
- 2011 Squadron goes Solar with an installation aided by State rebates reducing club electrical consumption by 50%.
- 2011 The Luffing Lassies renovated the Stone House and reroofed while being recognized as a “Seibert” design once intended to be the foundation for an elevated clubhouse.
- 2012 Manager Craig Bridges creates first Rental Program with boats donated by the Red Cross.
- 2012 Squadron is denied a State Sovereign Submerged Lands Lease forcing a reduction in the size of mooring field.
- 2013 F18 International Championship brings sailors from 9 countries and 3 continents returning International competition to Sarasota.
- 2013 - 2014 Main Dock and support docks are rebuilt becoming the largest capital investment in Club history.