What We Are
The Sarasota Sailing Squadron is a not-for-profit sailing organization open to anyone interested in the sport of sailing. It is an organization established for the purpose of promoting all aspects of sailing and, toward that end, the Squadron provides facilities for storage and launching of boats of various sizes, as well as for educational and social activities related to sailing. Its facilities include a club house with snack bar, a pavilion and barbecue, floating and fixed docks, a 3 ton hoist and launching ramps, rack storage for small boats, dinghy storage for boats kept on a mooring in the bay, and dry trailer storage for boats ranging from 14 to 30 feet. According to the Squadron’s lease with the city and club rules, storage space is limited to boats that are actively sailed. The Sarasota Sailing Squadron is an active sailing club, not simply a boat storage or launching facility.
The facility is operated and maintained by the membership, with an operating budget derived from membership dues, storage fees, race entry fees, and the income of the clubhouse snack bar. As a result, the club is able to maintain a well utilized and high quality sailing facility for the Sarasota community.
The club maintains a strong commitment to providing affordable access to sailing on Sarasota bay. Initiation fees, membership dues, and storage fees are kept low in order to maintain the affordability of the club for the widest possible range of residents of Sarasota. The Sarasota Sailing Squadron is the only place on Sarasota bay where one can find inexpensive dry boat storage with easy access to some of the best areas for sailing on the west coast of Florida. Furthermore, it is not necessary to own a boat to be a member of the Squadron or participate in the various programs. Membership is open to anyone with an interest in sailing.
Much of the sailing that is based at the Squadron is casual day sailing. The facilities at the Squadron make it easy for members to launch a boat for even a brief sail. In addition, the club organizes a variety of sailing and instructional activities.
1. Cruising and Day Sailing
In addition to providing storage and launching facilities for members interested only in day sailing on the bay, the cruising group at the Sailing Squadron organizes monthly group cruises to a variety of destinations around Florida. For members interested in extending their knowledge and skills as sailors, the Squadron organizes lectures and classes on seamanship, marine electronics, outboard motors, and boat handling, as well as lectures on potential destinations for the more ambitious cruisers.
2. Racing Program
The Sarasota Sailing Squadron maintains an “Olympic Circle” race course on Sarasota bay, and runs an extensive racing program throughout the year. The program includes between two and four club races each month, ranging from casual “Friday Night” races to more serious regattas. The schedule includes races for boats of various sizes and types, from Optimist dinghies to large keel boats. Participation in races often includes boats from clubs on the west coast of Florida, from Venice to Clearwater. In addition to the races organized primarily for local boats, the club has been hosting regional, national, and international regattas with increasing frequency. The Sarasota Sailing Squadron has a growing reputation as a desirable venue for major events, and for running well-organized, well-run regattas. The racing program also includes clinics and seminars on racing techniques and strategies.
Anyone interested in racing is encouraged to come out on the day of a race and sign up to crew. Skippers in the racing fleet are always looking for crew, and will generally be happy to take on even a beginner who is interested in learning. The Friday Night races are probably the best way for both new crew and new skippers to get started racing, but the racing fleet always welcomes new additions.
For more information about the racing program, browse the Racing page on this site.
3. Social Events
The Squadron organizes a range of social events for both sailors and nonsailors. Traditional events are the Fourth of July picnic, the Halloween costume party, Thanksgiving dinner, the annual Christmas party and New Year’s celebration, and the “Fireside Chat” wine and cheese party.
How to Join the Club
Membership in the Sarasota Sailing Squadron is open to anyone who is interested in the sport of sailing. Over the years, the Squadron has maintained a commitment to keeping the membership fees low enough to be affordable for everyone.The dues and fees are payable in January of each year. If you join in the middle of the year, they are adjusted so that you only pay for the remaining portion of the year. See the club manager for details.
To join, stop by the club and see Pat Murphy, the club manager or Joanne Hawkes, the club assistant manager. As part of the initiation, new members will be asked to sign up for a day of “bar duty” at the snack bar (Saturday or Sunday, noon to 5pm). This is a great way to begin meeting other members at the club.
All members are also expected to take part in the regular “work parties”, held on one Saturday per month, from 9am ’till noon. This is a “do it yourself” organization and all members are expected to participate in some area where their talents, knowledge, or abilities will be most useful to the Squadron. Areas where there are opportunities to participate include the Race Committee, Entertainment Committee, House and Grounds (Maintenance), Cruising Committee, and Sail Training Programs.