ALAMEDA -- Approximately 110 members of the Alameda-based Oakland Yacht Club dressed up in retro ball gowns, as well as tuxedos with tails, to celebrate the club's new leadership and its history.
The Saturday evening affair included live music, decorations and food reminiscent of the Titanic, which was launched in 1912 on its ill-fated voyage.
The club's commodore for the past 12 months has been Brian Cooley of Alameda, and David Marshburn was just tapped to take the post for 2013. More than 200 families are members of the club, and they come from Alameda, the Oakland hills, Fresno, Sacramento and other parts of the state. Some members live on their boats in spots like Mexico and the Caribbean and visit the club from time to time.
"This event took place right on the cusp of our 100-year anniversary, so we decided to make it a bit of a kickoff occasion," said Anne Jacobson, a 2013 social chair of the club and Montclair resident. "We will be having special events throughout next year, too, and a special one on June 22."
Founded at the foot of 12th Street in 1912, the Oakland Yacht Club soon moved up the Alameda-Oakland Estuary to 19th Avenue, which was its home for the next 60-plus years. The club moved to Alameda in 1977. It's been in its current clubhouse since May 1990.
The Oakland Yacht Club acquired its marina in 1998, making it one of only a handful of Bay Area yacht clubs that own facilities and docks. Over the years, its members have included author Jack London, Gov. George Pardee and businessman Steve Bechtel.
"We were introduced to the club by former Commodore Michael Hershey in 2001," Jacobson said. "We like going as a group to cruise in the Bay Area and getting to know more people in the local boating community."
The club's Nov. 10 event featured the music of Gilbert & Sullivan, as well as Ragtime.
"It was really an elegant evening," said Marsha Stark, a club social chair and Alameda resident. "And it was a chance to celebrate outgoing commodore, Brian Cooley, who has been exceptional."
Members of the Oakland Yacht Club interact and share club privileges with other Bay Area yacht groups, like the nearby Encinal Yacht Club. On Jan. 1, the clubs are open to the public, and many yacht club members sail around Alameda.
"It's a New Year's Day tradition," Jacobson said.
Some members also will participate in the upcoming Holiday Lighted Boat Parade, set for 5:30 p.m., Dec. 1 on the estuary. The event is hosted by the Oakland and Encinal yacht clubs.