The seven founding members1 of the Sausalito Yacht Club were already junior members of other yacht clubs, but with teenage hubris thought they could do better themselves.
The founders conceived and established the new club on New Year’s Eve of 1942. The time was right. World War II had called many of the older, local boat owners to Europe or the Pacific. Before heading off to war, they trusted their boats to the care of the club’s young founders, the oldest just three months short of his seventeenth birthday.
The club had several names in the first few days (including the tongue in cheek Ritz Sailing and Racquet Club) until Sausalito Yacht Club became the obvious choice. A mood of teenage rebellion was reflected in a provision of the first bylaws: no one could join the club who was older than the oldest founding member. Later, the maximum age limit was raised, although it was not abandoned until 1953.
The club decided it needed a permanent clubhouse, and signed a lease with J. H. Madden Sr. of Madden and Lewis Corp. for a site on the water at the former Northwestern Pacific passenger train railhead for the Sausalito to San Francisco ferry, which had been abandoned after the completion of the Golden Gate Bridge in May of 1937. The club called on the talents and labor of members to design and build the clubhouse. Club members, along with a pile driver and operator supplied by Madden and Lewis, drove all of the piles for the clubhouse over the weekend of December 6-7, 1958. Member Ted Boutmy designed the clubhouse and a contractor was hired to build it. The clubhouse was completed and dedicated on September 24, 1960. See Clubhouse Photo Gallery.