January 23, 2012

Salty Sisters

SPYC’s Helen Larsen directs her crew during a race in 1996 while flying a Jolly Roger, which she raised as a playful intimidation tactic.

In the fall of 1951, a group of 10 women, all wives of St. Petersburg Yacht Club members, formed a new sailing group at SPYC known as the Salty Sisters.

First sailing in 8-foot Hagerty Sea Shell prams (later replaced by Clearwater Optimist prams), as well as in Fish Class and later Rhodes 19 sloops, the Salty Sisters are a competitive and successful group of women sailors.

Their success became so widespread that the original group of 10 members quickly grew to 150, and inspired women from neighboring clubs to organize similar groups, including the Tampa Yacht & CC's "Mainsheet Mamas", the "Luffing Lassies" of the Sarasota Sailing Squadron, the Clearwater YC's "Windlasses," Davis Island YC's "Dinghy Dames" and the Pass-a-Grille YC "Broad Reachers."

Salty Sisters The groups coordinated interclub regattas that have continued through the years, with perpetual trophies and fierce competition.

The St. Petersburg Yacht Club has put together a colorful story with photos chronicling the 50-plus year history of the Salty Sisters.

You can read the story of the Salty Sisters by clicking here (PDF).

Salty Sisters 50 year patch

Preserving America’s Sailing Legacy

Engaging Sailing’s Next Generation

Stay Connected to the National Sailing Hall of Fame