The formation of a Wooden Hull Owners Association was the brainchild of Clark Sweet in 1972. Clark, like many who owned wooden hull sailboats then, felt to be at a disadvantage in his favorite races. The 60’s and 70’s saw an explosion in the manufacturing of affordable fiberglass boats, and this made equitable regatta handicapping of wooden and fiberglass vessels most difficult. Clark contacted Ray Wallace and discussed the formation of an organization dedicated to traditional wood sailboats with equal emphasis placed on racing and cruising. A pilot letter was mailed to 25 skippers. The response was very positive, with many volunteering to assist. A second mailing generated 109 responses, and Wooden Hull was born.
The first organized meeting was held in June 1972, at the Long beach Yacht Club, with an attendance of 40 interested owners. Clark Sweet and Ray Wallace were elected as Co-Commodores, Peggy Gregory as Secretary, and John Carnes as Treasurer. Bylaws were drawn up and the name “Wooden Hull Owners Association” was established. Area delegates were elected for the Long Beach, Newport Beach, Los Angeles, Marina Del Rey, Redondo Beach, and Dana Point areas. WHOA was incorporated and Ray Wallace Designed the burgee.
WHOA’s first function was a highly successful race/cruise from Newport to Dana Point in October, 1972, with 42 boats participating. In the years to follow, more activities were added, and have become regular events.
In 1977 WHOA was elected to membership in the Southern California Yachting Association (SCYA), which allowed members to receive Yacht Club reciprocal privileges, to participate in SCYA racing events, and authorized the Club’s Board of Directors to assign PHRF handicap ratings for member’s boats.
In 1989, the advent of the annual Newport Beach Wooden Boat Festival saw WHOA inaugurate its own popular booth, manned by members and dedicated to the arts and crafts of nautical woodworking.
In August 1991, the club membership voted unanimously to change the organizations official name from Wooden Hull Owners Association to Wooden Hull Yacht Club, reflecting the clubs true status in the yachting community.
Clark Sweet, Ray Wallace and Eric Ericson were elected Life Members; they deserve a hearty thanks for their hard work and dedication to the founding of Wooden Hull Yacht Club.