In 1928 a group of 6 juniors approached Commodore Joseph E. Jessop about starting a junior sailing program in the club. Jessop, a forward thinking Commodore, decided it would be a good idea, despite the grumblings of several members. The initial objective was to teach “swimming, boat care, racing tactics, and sportsmanship”; 80+ years later we are still following the same objective.
The initial class consisted of Robert Town, the 1928 Jr. Commodore, brothers Gordon Frost, Sr., Albert A. Frost, Jr., Robert Merit, Grant Stone and Walter Fisch. Lessons were taught in Sea Mews and Starlets (a junior trainer that was a smaller version of the popular Star class). Races for the starlets were held in the bay and two short years later in 1930, the American Starlet Association would be created with Gordy serving as its first Commodore.
Of these six juniors, two became future Commodores of the San Diego Yacht Club and all of them paved the way for the Junior Programs future.
From these humble beginning the San Diego Yacht Club Junior Sailing Program has evolved into a year round intense training program affecting around 200 youth sailors every year. The Junior Program consists of a full time Junior Program Director, coaches, maintenance and administrative staff. Facilities include a Junior Clubhouse, tool room, Sabot and Laser storage spaces, sail and boat wash areas and two launching ramps. Members of the Junior Program have access to the junior charter fleet that includes 25 Sabots, 18 Optimists, Lasers (and Radials), CFJ's and 420's. Also included in the fleet are the SDYC Jr, Race Committee Boat, the Al Frost Sr., a dozen Whaler chase boats, inflatable and multi-boat trailers for travel to away regattas.
Throughout the year, events are scheduled for sailors of all ability levels including fun events, field trips, special racing clinics and a very active after-school program and practices. During the summer months, the Junior Program goes into 'high gear.' The Program employs the finest instructional staff, recruited from around the globe, to teach an eight-week summer sailing and racing program.
The result of coaching, learning and racing has led to the San Diego Yacht Club Youth Program's success in local, area, national and international competitions. In the recent past, SDYC Juniors have won the US Sailing Youth Championships Single-handed trophy nine times and the Doublehanded trophy four times. SDYC juniors won the Interscholastic Sailing Association's National Championships in '93, ’96, ’99 and 2001-2005 and have placed in the top three each year. The alumni of the SDYC Junior Program have, and continue, to compete at the highest international levels of our sport. Olympic Gold, Silver and Bronze medallists, World and National Champions in several classes and America's Cup competitors are all products of SDYC's Junior Sailing Program.
Along with its competitive achievements, the San Diego Yacht Club Junior Program also emphasizes fun, safe boating, seamanship, life skills and safe boating awareness. This serves to reinforce all members' dedication to the Corinthian principles and tradition of yachting at the San Diego Yacht Club.