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Early History of Barefoot Sailing Club

Editor's note: The following club history was well captured by Past Commodore Ned Gilchrist (2006) in the October 2006 "Footnotes..." Newsletter.

Commodore’s Corner
Commodore, Ned Gilchrist 

Well it is time for the Sea Dog Barefoot Open! What a wonderful event and we hope you all attend.

At this time of the year, I wanted to take time to reflect on the history of our club. In September we were able to have several of our past Commodores at the member’s meeting and it was great to hear their many memories. Allen Shedd brought to the September member’s meeting many pictures dating back in the  club’s history. We greatly appreciate him sharing those with us.

Barefoot Sailing Club apparently started within a parks and recreation department initially and evolved in an established club in 1971. Jim Dorton was the first Commodore of the club and is who “The Dorton Cup” is named after.

Originally established as a dingy fleet organization the was comprised of many types of boats such as  lasers, Fireballs, Thistles, and a Catalina 15 Fleet, it has evolved to a mainly auxiliary fleet today.

In 1987 the club had it’s first organized Blue Water Cruise in Destin Florida. Mike Bowler was telling about an usual event that happened almost nightly on that cruise. Apparently there was a ghost that toilet paper all the boats on the cruise each night accept [sic]… one.

Margaret Sherrod has been an active member of BFSC for many years and was part of Mike’s crew. During Mike’s reign as Commodore, they separated the member’s meeting from the board meeting. Barefoot Sailing Club has also held some unusual events in it’s history. One such event related to me from Captain David Crumbly of Windsong Sailing Academy was of a race called the Bikini Sunburn. It have some challenging events such as the balloon joist and backward sailing. While we have not held the Bikini Sunburn in many years, this year we instituted a new kind of event called the Celtic Crossing. This event have already been scheduled and planned for 2007. In 2000 when Chris Webster was Commodore he institutes and event we all know and love today called the Togo Party which has been held at his house ever since. We look forward to 2007 Chris!

In 1987, the club bought it’s first racing barge called the General Recall. This boat was purchased for a great price at the end of the Atlanta Boat Show that year. It served the club for many years and was
overhauled and rebuilt a few times. The General Recall has since been replaced by the Favored End that itself is being overhauled at the time of this writing.

Barefoot has always been a club that promoted the  port of sailing. We have been founded on that tradition and that we never leave anyone ashore that really wants to come sailing with us. We have some many skippers in the club that are excellent teachers as well.  In 1989, the club started a tradition of having an annual Learn to Sail Clinic. At that time there were over 100 people in some of those early classes. Today its name has changed to Introduction to Sailing; you can’t learn everything about sailing in a short clinic. You can come sailing with our skippers though and learn a great deal!

So you think the lake is low now? Edith Collins, a long time member of the club and a regional racing judge, tells of a time she sailed under Brown’s Bridge in her Santana 20 because the water was so low. They were sailing a race called the 4 Points of Sail and the winner was the person that sailed
the longest distance. Edith’s lay line under the bridge won her that race!

In 2004, Barefoot Sailing Club had the distinct honor of joining with Sea Dog Sailing to sponsor the Barefoot Open. Captain Stacey Brooks has continued that tradition and donated not only some significant funds but also her time to this event. We are thankful to have Stacey as our title sponsor this year as in years past!

So many things have  come and gone. We enjoy the friendship we have built over the years with our fellow sailors. Whether you like to race or you like to cruise or maybe just come to social events to hang out with friends, we  welcome you!

I wish you…

Fair Winds and Following Seas!

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