GGYC 80th Anniversary 1939-2019

SF Marina harbor circa 1929

SF Marina Today

Aerial of SF Harbor 1933

Marina Lighthouse – circa 1935

SF Marina Harbor circa 1938

Golden Gate Yacht Club

Winner 33rd and 34th America’s Cup

Established in 1939 as Puerto d’Oro Yacht Club by a group of enthusiastic boaters and sailors.

Anchored a barge in the San Francisco Marina as a gathering place after a long day of fishing in the Bay or outside the Gate.

In 1939 …

  • Hewlett Packard was formed
  • US hosted the World’s Fair in NY
  • Golden Gate Int’l Exposition opened (at the newly created Treasure Island)
  • Mayor of SF: Angelo Joseph Rossi
  • Albert Einstein and President Roosevelt began America’s A-Bomb program
  • Hitler invaded Poland
  • Britain and France declared war on Germany

Cost of Popular Items in 1939 …

  • New House (avg) – $6,400
  • Wages (avg) – $1,730
  • Rent for House – $28/month
  • New Car (avg) – $700
  • 1 gallon of Gas – $0.01
  • Loaf of Bread – $0.08
  • 1 lb Hamburger – $0.14
  • Fresh Peas – $0.04
  • Campbells Tomato Soup 4 cans – $0.25
  • 1 lb Wisconsin Cheese – $0.23
  • 1 gallon of Milk – $0.49
  • Postage Stamp – $0.03

In 1941 …

  • Puerto d’Oro Yacht Club officially became Golden Gate Yacht Club
  • Fishermen continued to gather for fun sailboat racing if there was no fishing
  • Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in a “Day that will live on in infamy”
  • US officially entered WWII

In 1949 …

  • Women racing sailboats on the bay were the exception, not the rule
  • Long time member Ruth Schnapp raced their boat with an all woman crew when her husband was called into active duty for the Korean War
  • At this time, one had to belong to a yacht club to race on the bay
  • The Commodore of GGYC told her that “no woman was going to race for GGYC”
  • She had her husband join so she could join the Ladies Auxiliary and race

Harbor entrance 1956

1949 to late ’80s

  • Like the Barbary Coast, the Club has a colorful past
    • Dancing on the bar
    • Swimming in the channel
    • Water balloons and water guns shooting at boats entering or exiting the harbor
  • Members had the key to the Club
  • Bar was subject to the “honor” system
  • The Club (barge) remained a great gathering place for recreational sailing — known as the “Friendliest Club on the Bay”


  • The first Manuel Fagundes Seaweed Soup Regatta was held
  • Named for the Commodore in 1951
  • Honoring him for always having a huge pot of soup on the stove for sailors coming in after a day of racing or sailing
  • Race is one of GGYC’s premiere events
  • 2019-2020 Midwinter regatta is the 49th Manuel Fagundes Seaweed Soup Regatta

1989 – Loma Prieta Earthquake

  • Club was all but destroyed
  • Members banded together to rebuild their beloved Club


  • Club was nearly bankrupt ($453,000 in debt)
  • To save the Club, Officers collected keys, locked the liquor cabinet and eliminated food service. Asked members who did not quit to advance money to save the Club. Some paid, some quit
  • The Club was on very rocky ground


  • Norbert Bajurin (Commodore 2001-2002) reached out to Larry Ellison to work out a deal for the America’s Cup. The deal was signed in early 2001
  • This deal ultimately saved GGYC
  • With the Oracle team members, GGYC was able to pay off the debts, spruce up the Club and grow membership once again
  • Membership continued to grow
  • Oracle Team raced under the GGYR Burgee for several years
  • Ultimately, in 2010, GGYC won the America’s Cup in Spain
  • The Cup came home to America for the first time since the ’80s
  • GGYC has the honor of being one of three US Clubs to hold the Cup
    • New York
    • San Diego
    • GGYC

GGYC circa 1950

GGYC circa 1965

GGYC today