Six fun Yacht History Facts you may not have known
1.) San Diego’s fastest, the ‘butcher boy’
A local butcher in San Diego, Charlie Hardy, decided that he would take the lines of the salmon-boat, and build the fastest boat he could. When the fish were running it was used as a fishing boat, and when other larger vessels sailed into San Diego Bay, Hardy would sail out, take their orders for fresh meat, sail back to his market, load the meat on his boat, sail back out and deliver it. Hence, he named his boat the Butcher Boy. Hardy also raced the Butcher Boy on Sundays against other boats and completely outclassed them. Deciding that he wanted a boat that would be even faster than the Butcher Boy, Hardy built the first power-driven boat in the San Diego area. His meat market was called the Bay City Market, and consequently, he named his power boat the Bay City.
2.) The first yacht and yacht racing
Kent Howell bought the Butcher Boy, and converted her into a true yacht or pleasure boat. She is thought of as the first real yacht on San Diego Bay, and her conversion marks the beginning of true yacht racing in San Diego.
3.) Yachting wasn’t mainstream up until the time period around 1883
Even with the double use of boats for both fishing and yachting, pleasure sailing in San Diego during the middle 1800s was not as developed as it was in Europe during the same period. People in San Diego enjoyed sailing, but did not adopt the traditional accoutrements of the gentleman sailor. As the city’s population increased and as its residents became more affluent, yachting grew in popularity. According to E. J. Louis, an early member of the San Diego Rowing Club, as early as 1883 there was great interest in boating on San Diego Bay which led to the formation of many boating clubs.
4.) The first roof over the San Diego yacht club
The first home of the San Diego Yacht Club was the northerly of the two keeper’s lighthouses at Ballast Point. It was here, on Admission Day, 1891, that the members first displayed their burgee. The club used these quarters until 1898, when, for military reasons during the Spanish-American War, the United States government withdrew the privilege. The club had no regular clubhouse from then until 1903.
5.) The first local yacht club
The first local yacht club, the Pacific Pioneer Yacht Club, was founded On March 16, 1852. According to the San Diego Herald there were fifteen members, seven of whom were the United States military officers, with a variety of sizes of sloops and schooners. The yacht club held its first regatta on April 10, 1852. Nothing more is known about the activities of the Pacific Pioneer Yacht Club. No mention of the club or its dissolution is found in local San Diego newspapers nor is it listed in city directories for this period.
6.) Yachting and World War
With the approach of World War I, local yachting activity suffered. During the war, the yachtsmen turned their attention to the war effort. Some 29,000 windjammers and motorboatmen throughout the country joined the Navy, and many of them volunteered their yachts for military uses. The San Diego Yacht Club donated the copper sheathing on the Silvergate to the war effort. Toward the end of the war, Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels expressed his appreciation for the large number of yachtsmen who had joined active service. He believed that their previous experience in yachting had been of real value as preliminary training for participation in the Navy.
Last modified: August 12, 2019