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Austin Yacht Club


Austin, TX

Founded 1951


Dr. William Carter started the Austin Sailing Club in 1951. Commodore Bob Embleton had the club incorporated in 1953. Back then, meetings were usually held at members’ homes. For a while, club meetings were held at the Austin Public Library. Dues were $10 a year.

us yc auBoat building was a common bond among the ASC members, since almost all the boats were home built with wood. Dr. Carter designed the T-28 and T-24. The “T” standing for Texas and the number, of course, referring to the boat length. Bill Carter’s T -28, Heuristic, was the scratch boat. There were also two T-24’s, a Comet, a Snipe, an International 14, and several double enders. Sails were made of cotton and lines were linen. Pat Kimbrough remembers the first attempt with a synthetic sail. Orion, which did not quite make the grade, was so brittle it cracked when folded. Dacron did not appear on the scene until around 1956.

Races were run from shore, at the Lake Travis Lodges, using a portable mast as the signal hoist for various starts. Marks were usually inner-tubes with a flag attached. The rules demanded a higher level of conduct and seamanship because, if you fouled someone or touched a mark, you were out of the race! There were no penalty turns in those days.

Cruising was also very popular when ASC first got started. About every two weeks, members gathered for a short overnight sail. Arkansas Bend was a favorite destination. When the lake was full, you could sail right up to shore and tie off with a stern anchor out to kept the boats all pointed toward shore. The Bluebonnet Cruise, to Cow Creek, was held once a year. It was an ideal campground, but unfortunately turned out to be private property. The Bluebonnet Cruise is now celebrated as the Turnback Canyon Regatta, with the post-race BBQ and campout held on park land that is part of the Lago Vista community. Many years the local volunteer fire department hosts the barbeque, attended by hundreds of people in addition to the racers.

In the early 60’s, ASC rented a cabin at Lake Travis Lodges for a clubhouse. It was next to a cafe run by Jesse James, the State Treasurer. He liked sailors and extended a good price on the cabin rental. The cabin had a large room, kitchen, bath, and fireplace. Out front a large screen porch overlooked the marina. This clubhouse proved popular and enabled the Austin Sailing Club to attract more members. About this time, Raymond Allen, owner of Beacon Lodges offered to sell ASC that property for $110,000. Several ASC members tried to come up with the money, but it was out of reach at the time. Beacon Lodges was then sold to builder/developer Walter Carrington. Later, as club membership grew, a trust fund was established and the current club site was purchased.

Tom Leach designed the current clubhouse. In 1969, it was built under the careful supervision of Bill Griffis. At this time the name was changed to the Austin Yacht Club.

The original fishing camp cabins have been retained and can be rented by club members and guests. The cabins were substantially remodeled after the flood of December 1991 when the level of Lake Travis reached 710.44 feet above sea level. The floors of several cabins were raised to the top of the original stone walls, to lift them above the spillway level of Mansfield Dam.

It was commonly believed that the clubhouse was built just above the level of the spillway but this turned out to be off by several feet, as the clubhouse was under more than a foot of water during the 1991 flood. The clubhouse was remodeled with emphasis on water proof materials and easily movable fixtures.

In the mid 1980s the office was built adjacent to the clubhouse, with expanded restroom facilities below. Hap McCollum was in charge of this project, which included a spectacular demolition of an existing structure.


The team from Austin Yacht Club are coming to the Resolute Cup with a long history of sailing together. Skippering is Scott Young with 45 years of racing experience, his crew consists of John Morran and Doug Kern, both of who have at least 30 years of sailing under their belts. The team has proven themselves before by winning the Mallory Cup four times. Beyond that Young brings his experience winning at the helm from his time at the J/22 and J/24 North Americans. To compliment this Kern brings his history of receiving silver at the 1990 Olympic Games as the trimmer while Morran received silver as the tactician at the J/80 Worlds.

More than just great sailors, Morran and Kern are also the founders of PB&J Junior Sail Training at Austin Yacht Club, continuing on the spirit and love for this sport.

SKIPPER - Scott Young

TACTICIAN - John Morran and Doug Kern