It all started at a New Year’s Eve party at the imposing winter home of Col. Lowe Emerson on Bayfront in 1910. Clearwater was a charming little town, still part of Hillsborough County, a fishing port surrounded by citrus groves, reached by water, sand roads that wound through little hammocks, and by the little train that puffed along its single track, once a day.
The Charter and by-laws were officially registered on 14th of February 1911, and the 28 wealthy winter resident members met at each other’s homes for the next two or more years, until by default the fledgling Clearwater Yacht Club fell into inactivity.
Young men came back from the great war in 1919 to a Clearwater with little to satifsy their boundless energies. By then the town had paved brick roads running down to a wide, long dock, at the end of which was a building with a pavilion atop, which was to become the new Clearwater Yacht Club clubhouse that year with a totally new group of members.
Throughout the years, Clearwater Yacht Club has never lost sight of a fundamental objective enshrined in its by-laws, “the promotion of sailing”. In 1977 the Kahlua Cup was founded, becoming the first major “big boat regatta” to be organized and hosted by Clearwater Yacht Club on an annual basis. J24 Regattas attracted much attention, producing some highly competitive sailing. The long distance race from Clearwater to Key West, sailed every May, became highly esteemed and universally popular. In 1988 the Optimist Youth Sailing Program was introduced , and in just ten years Clearwater Yacht Club has become one of the best known clubs on the United States circuit, not least a the result of a young Clearwater Yacht Club sailor winning a place in the US Tea of five to contest the Worlds in Portugal in 1990.
None of these things would be possible without the dedication and hard work of a group of people who devote their time, energy, boats and money to the encouragement of competition and excellence. This has surely been the underlying quality that has kept the spirit of Clearwater Yacht Club alive throughout its checkered history.
There will be times in the future when Clearwater Yacht Club has to face challenges, but the spirit will not die as long as there are good people to join with the old blood and look to the future.