About SAYC

Club History

Founded 1873

In the post Civil War Era, a group of yachtsmen formed a club in St. Augustine to promote and enjoy their common interest of sailing. The year was 1872. By the Fall of 1873, the club's popularity had grown and it was formally founded as the St. Augustine Yacht Club, the first yacht club in Florida and the twenty-ninth chartered yacht club in America.

sml_img2The newly formed club had as its purpose, the promotion of yachting, yacht racing, and cruising. In addition, its charter, issued by the United States War Department gave it the express responsibility of defending St. Augustine and blockading the St Augustine inlet in times of war. The club burgee, chosen to have a white fortress on a red field, was required to be flown on the yachts of all members.

Lt. R. F. Armstrong, the first commodore, was the Chief Officer of the swift and legendary confederate cruiser CSS ALABAMA. Other notable members included Henry Morrison Flagler with his 183 ft yacht Alicia and Louis Comfort Tiffany, both very competitive yachtsmen.

Dowling Dock on Water Street was the first meeting place of the yacht club. A few years later, the T.W. Spesseger Pharmacy was purchased, relocated and a second story added. Located at the foot of Charlotte Street, the new clubhouse was host to many gala occasions during the Flagler era.

By 1892, yacht racing had become a very popular sport. The mayor of St. Augustine, W.S.N. Pinkham, owned the yacht Cheemaun which had never been beaten in a yacht race. When challenged by the fellow yacht club member Andrew S. Carnegie in his much larger yacht Missue, clever tactics and quick thinking earned Cheemaun the win as well as a handsome purse. Cheemaun's winning record continued until her retirement in 1935, then owned by George Gibbs.

Soon after the turn of the century, the sport of yacht racing was diminished by the advent of steam yachts. The boom years of the 1920's saw a renewed interest in yachting and racing sailboats with a new club planned on Davis Shores. The crash of the stock market in 1929, however, began a slow decline in participation and membership, ending with the club's decommissioning in 1939.

Thirty nine years later, the building of a new marina brought St. Augustine yachtsmen together once again. As in earlier times a club was formed. This resulted in interest and a successful effort to activate the old charter of the club. In the Spring of 1978, the St. Augustine Yacht Club was recommissioned. It began with 100 newly chartered members and held its first race, "The Race of the Century". The clubhouse at Camachee Cove Yacht Basin was built in 1979 and the swimming pool added in 1982.

In 2007 our long standing as a community institution enabled us to arrange with the City of St. Augustine our new home below the Lighthouse on Anastasia Island. This beautiful waterfront location is just a short distance from historical downtown on the shore of Salt Run.

Today the purpose of the St. Augustine Yacht Club is the same as it was in 1873, to promote boating and water related activities, cruising, sailing and racing. As it has for over 135 years, SAYC's Burgee, a white fortress on a red field, flies aboard all members yachts and high above the clubhouse of one of the oldest yacht clubs in America, the St. Augustine Yacht Club.

Current Flag Officers & Board of Governors

Commodore: Jim Gajewski

Vice-Commodore: Leslee Keys

Fleet Captain: Melissa Wissel

Rear Commodore of Sail: John Grannis

Rear Commodore of Power: Frank Samperisi

Secretary: Jamie Rohrbaugh

Treasurer: Jan Spencer

Membership Chair: Linda Bond

Social Chair: Victoria Woltner

Governor-at-Large: Michael Fegen

Governor-at-Large: Kathleen Floryan

Governor-at-Large: Reggie Maggs

Immediate Past Commodore: Roy Jaeger

Club Manager: Diane Scott

Ship Store

SAYC Foundation

Since 1873 the St Augustine Yacht Club has provided a place for members and their families to share and promote water related activities. This has been done in a number of ways from community outreach programs like youth sailing lessons, to more social events like art auctions and family memorials.

The purpose of the St. Augustine Yacht Club Foundation is to promote the furtherance of water activities in our community. These activities range from teaching sailing to children, to the conservation of our natural resources. They are both social and recreational in nature.

Some donors have directed a more targeted approach with a specific focus on youth activities or community giving that helps those less fortunate discover water sports. Still others have donated or caused to be purchased boats that are used locally.

You may find the foundation a good way to personally contribute and leave a legacy.

We would love to discuss how your and your family might participate.

Please feel free to contact:

St. Augustine Yacht Club Foundation
442 Ocean Vista Avenue
St. Augustine, FL 32084

phone: 904-824-9725

* Monetary gifts can be made immediately by sending them into the above address
* Major credit cards can also be used (contact the foundation to arrange)
* Stocks, bonds, nautical items, etc. will be accepted upon board review. Further details available from the foundation.
A note about Estate Planning:
While the foundation does not provide tax or legal advice, we can assist you in the process of giving.

*All contributions are deductible for federal income tax purposes. However, you should consult your own tax professional for further details.