San Diego’s Pacific Pioneer Yacht Club

SAN DIEGO—April is here, which means San Diego area yacht clubs will be hosting regattas with regular frequency during the next few months. San Diego’s first-ever regatta was held 167 years ago this month, shortly after the formation of Pacific Pioneer Yacht Club.

A news report in the San Diego Herald stated the Pacific Pioneer Yacht Club opened its doors on March 16, 1852 and had 15 members (including seven military officers). The yacht club would hold its inaugural regatta less than one month later on April 6, 1852.

An entry from the San Diego Herald’s coverage of the first-ever regatta in America’s Finest City was shared on the San Diego History Center’s website; the news report stated the fleet arrived at the local Long Wharf at 8 a.m. on April 6, 1852.

“The vessels were under way at 11; booming-out was allowed, but no sweeping; the race started at 11:30 but the wind died before 12. A light breeze came up at 12:10,” the San Diego Herald’s news report stated, as told on the San Diego History Center website.

The regatta’s first place winner took home a “magnificent gold-chased drinking cup valued at $250.”

A silver speaking trumpet was awarded to the second place winner, with third taking ohm a suit of colors.

Following the regatta was a sac-race at 4 p.m. and a dinner at the clubhouse at 6 p.m. Admission to the dinner was $10 for men and $5 for women.

The news report of this first-ever regatta in San Diego appeared on page 10 of the April 10, 1852 issue of the San Diego Herald.

Fifteen vessels participated in the regatta, according to the first-ever volume of Hunt’s Yachting Magazine. The vessels were Plutus, Fanny, Josephina, Major Allen, General Hitchcock, Lavinia, Spun Yarn, Contreras, Lone Star, Venie, Playa, Case and Heiser, Bob and Ocean Tub. Eight of the 15 vessels were schooners; the other seven were sloops.

“The distance to be sailed is twenty-two miles,” an entry in Hunt’s Yachting Magazine about the regatta said. “The yachts will weigh with the sea-breeze, and run up the bay as far as Gray’s Point, back, and beat out to Point Loma, then back, and return to the starting point.”

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