In 1924, there were no yacht clubs on the San Diego side of the bay, the San Diego Yacht Club having moved to Coronado. Mud flats extended from the embarcadero all along the shore. A year later, Dr. Ernest Percy Chartres-Martin and Stanley Hobson, disgusted with the lack of facilities for yachtsmen in San Diego, decided to organize a club and build a pier for yachtsman only, because commercial fishermen had priority for the best locations on the piers already in existence. Chartres-Martin and Hobson called the meeting in March, 1925.
According to Sea and Pacific Motor Boat, the charter members of Southwestern Yacht Club were: Dr. E. Chartres-Martin, J. Stanley Hobson, Graham Shand, Dr. McKellar, R.G. Fenn, Al Stewart, and Michael Eff. However, according to the memory of Graham Shand in 1947, the charter members were: Dr. Chartres-Martin, Graham Shand, Dr. McKellar, Earl Mencke, Roger Bryan, Bob Bowman, and William Rolfe. Because no records were kept during the years previous to 1947, accurate data is not available. Perhaps the first group consisted of the original organizers and the latter were the true charter members.
The first meeting was held in a shanty at the head of Mancke’s pier. Ways and means were discussed; Shand and Hobson were appointed to locate a site for the club, and to get the approval of Joe Brennan, who was Captain of the Port at this time. Eventually, Hobson suggested the club be named the Southwestern Yacht Club.
Subsequently, while exploring the bay and shore in a skiff, Shand and Hobson discovered that the only feasible spot in which the club would be able to locate was at the foot of Grape Street. Upon further investigation, it was decided by Brennan that this site was available for a rental charge of $1 per month.
Through the influence of Chartes-Martin, the Street Railway Company donated rails for construction of a pier. Heavy timbers and 2 x 4’s four feet long were purchased from Whiting-Mead Company for $27. Club members obtained additional timbers needed to complete the pier from the sea wall originally built by the city. Shand recalled, “We decided that the timbers would serve a better purpose on our pier than holding back the tide water on the flats, which were fast filling anyway”.