Date(s) - Feb. 7, 2015 - Feb. 8, 2015
Sarasota Sailing Squadron
Category – Gulf Coast Circuit
Information and registration: http://www.regattanetwork.com/event/9200#_home
Read a full description of the Sarasota Sailing Squadron’s Winter Circuit in the Forums section: HERE
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 and youth sailing instruction. 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.