The White Rock Sailing Club (WRSC) broke off from the Dallas Sailing
Club (DSC) in 1935. The primary issues seemed to be cost of membership
and members' poor behavior. The club was established as the West Shore
Sailing Club with a pier on the west side of the lake. The pier
was moved to the east side of the lake and the name changed to WRSC
later that year. The following accounts provide insight into the
first seven years on its operation.
Letter from Bill Sherrill to Fred Deere, January
Sherrill was a member of DSC and a founding member of WRSC.
He sailed a Snipe into the 1940s.
I do not know whether you all remember or not, but when we organized
the first sailing club on White Rock, we called it the Dallas Sailing
Club. Our first pier was on the west side of the lake. Later, we
moved to the east side and rented an old building that had been
a restaurant and made it into a clubhouse. After a few years, the
club had acquired several members that had bad drinking problems,
who were unmarried and pretty raunchy. It got so that the members
with children and girl friends could not bring them out to the pier
especially at night. After so long, if you remember, a bunch of
us decided to move out and form our own club. That was when the
White Rock Sailing Club was born. For the life of me, I can't remember
the exact year, but it had to be about 1938 or 1939. [Date was
1935 based of WRSC archives.] We built a pier where the present
pier is now.
These three photos were enclosed in with the letter. The captions
are Bill Sherrill's.
"This is the first pier of the White Rock Sailing Club
which was on the west side of the lake directly across from
the present pier. The second boat from the end of the pier
was the cat rigged scow that Pat Tohms and I built. Man! What
a tub it was.
This was before the Snipe Class was started on the Lake. The
date of this picture was about 1938 or 39."
[This photo also appeared in the Dallas Morning News on
July 27, 1931 and is the Dallas Sailing Club's pier on the
west side of the lake. Sherrill was also an early member of
"I am not sure which side of the lake this pier was
on, but I know it was one of the first. Maybe you will remember.
I am pretty sure it was our first pier on the east side of
the lake. You will notice it was a floating pier.
Also, notice Snipe no. 9. That alone would date this picture."
[This is probably the DSC pier on the east side of the
lake below the Big Thicket.]
"This was the way the pier looked sometime in the late
[WRSC pre-1952 because the boat houses are still on lake.]
In December, 2004, Gene Soltero provided White Rock Sailing
Club's records from when it started in 1935 though 1942 and these
are now part of the CSC archives. Frank Richards rummaged through
these records and extracted the following.
Dissatisfied with it's operation, sailors from the Dallas Sailing
Club formed the White Rock Sailing Club in 1935. The club was first
named the West Shore Sailing Club and bought a pier on the west side
of the lake. Later that year, their pier was moved to the east side
of the lake and the club was renamed the White Rock Sailing Club. Their story follows.
March 1935, eleven sailors petitioned the Park Board for approval
to purchase and recondition a pier (photo) on the west bank of the
lake in "Grave Yard Bay about 200 yards south of Frank's Place."
Grave Yard Bay is between Jackson Point and Huffman's Point and
the grave yard is probably Cox Cemetery. They planned to build a
rowboat tender and service a fleet of six to eight sailboats from
the pier. Some of the boats were to be moved from other places on
the lake, i.e. DSC. The pier was purchased March 26th and transferred
to the West Shore Sailing Club on April 5th.
The West Shore Sailing Club's eleven members elected officers on
April 4th with Pat Tohms as their first Commodore and Bill Sherrill
as Vice Commodore. By summer, the membership had grown to 14 members
who owned 9 Snipes and 2 catboats. The catboat in the photo above
is probably Tom Cat. The members were Chester Chamberlin, W. E.
Grace, T. G. Hensley, Lloyd Jones, J. Maurice Martin, Franklin Martine,
Stanley Naylar, John Nuborn, Largent Parks, Stanley Patterson, Bill
Sherrill, Jack Tennent Jr., Pat Tohms, and Stuart Wallace. The names
on the summer list are not the same as those on the spring list.
Several of the original eleven apparently stayed at DSC.
The West Shore Sailing Club applied for membership in SCIRA (Snipe
Class International Sailing Association) much to the association's
surprise. On March 23rd, William Crosby, the Snipe designer and
SCIRA Executive Secretary, sent back a letter saying it was against
their policy to issue new charters in locations where fleets already
existed. The association's letter noted that it could cause "a
great deal of hard feeling and might ruin the Class racing at Dallas
altogether." Crosby's letter went on to encourage the new club
to try to work out the problems with DSC and to send him "all
the dope on the situation" so that he could help.
On April 4th, SCIRA's Crosby sent a very blunt four page letter
to Bill Bracey at DSC summarizing the situation from his perspective.
These are a few excerpts from that letter.
"The Association is dead set against issuing a charter to
any fleet which must race within the same waters as another fleet
"What in hell is the matter with you guys anyway. You've
got the world by the tail. The oldest fleet and probably the best
and most active, and yet you can't get together. I blame the Dallas
Sailing Club for letting this matter go as far as it has."
"Complaints have been heard about drunks and wild wimmen
[sic]. Any yacht club must expect some of this, but there
should be a responsible house committee to see that the parties
do not get too rough.
All yacht clubs are more or less
'drunk houses' but order is maintained
Your house rules
must be too lax."
"Both Hub and I want you guys to get together or you're going
to bust up the whole thing sure as guns. With two fleets, neither
will amount to anything. With a lot of dissenting members, it
won't be long before the Dallas Sailing Club will have no sailors
and the darn thing will turn into a night club
Issacks, DSCs first commodore, was still in New York.]
"The dope that I received from a number of your members,
indicates to me that the Dallas Sailing Club is not up to the
mark in several ways.
The letter went on to summarize as follows:
"Dallas Sailing Club getting too expensive for some
of its best racing men and boats."
"Dallas Sailing Club slowly but surely turning into
a night club with boats secondary."
"Dallas Sailing Club evidently headed by men who are
more interested in making it attractive to the general public
than to sailors."
"Dissenters wrong in trying to organize another fleet
and withdraw instead of trying to help the club through voting
intelligently for the men who will make the best officers."
"The only thing that I can see is basically wrong is that
the club has gotten too big for its pants - the officers are trying
to force the thing to grow too fast and have become over ambitious
thus driving away their most valuable members - the real sailors.
(I understand that approximately 15 sailors may withdraw.)
"As a final bomb - if the majority of Snipe owners desire
to have a separate charter, it will be given by this Association.
The remaining boats in the club will then race with the new fleet.
"For God's sake straighten it out! Bill"
Crosby's letter pretty well summarizes the stormy beginning of
the White Rock Sailing Club. It appears that the charter for Snipe
Fleet 1 was moved to the new club and that all of the Snipes on
White Rock raced as part of this fleet, including DSC sailors and
later CSC Snipe sailors. DSC must have eventually gotten its act
together. It was the most prominent club in the news coverage throughout
the 1930s and was the biggest club on the lake in the 1940s. By
the late 1930s, WRSC and DSC were working together again. Now, back
to WRSC history.
In August, 1935, the Park Board asked the club to move its pier
and anchorage to the east side of the lake to Big Thicket Bay. The
board had received complaints from fishermen and property owners
and also wanted to consolidate all mooring in one place. The name
of the club was changed to the White Rock Sailing Club at that time.
The park moved the pier to the east side of the lake for the club.
The floating pier was probably located close to the northeast corner
of the lake and the club expanded from that. The initial structure
of the permanent dock seemed to be in place by the winter of 1937.
WRSC continued to race with DSC until the summer of 1937, when
also they started their own club races. DSC was still hosting the
Southwestern Regatta and WRSC was invited to attend, which they
did. Plans were made to initiate team races between the two clubs
in summer 1938.
S. Gozzaldi applied for membership in WRSC and was turned down in
1938 by a vote of 3 for and 4 against. No explanation why. He later
became very active in Fleet 1, SCIRA and was Commodore of the fledgling
CSC in 1942. Fred Deere, and his wife Bobbie became a members of
WRSC in 1938. They were very active in the club and provided a very
thorough archive for Snipe Fleet 1 that is now part of CSC's archives. The photo is of club members in April,
1938. Wallace is on the left in the back row. Sherrill is third
from the left and Deere second from the right. All these were founding
WRSC like most sailing clubs of the time was a men's club. This
paradigm changed in the early 1940s.
In 1939, Josephine McClellen inquired about membership in WRSC
and received the following response: "It was the opinion of
the Club that, since the membership is small and all the necessary
work of building and maintaining the pier and keeping the ground
is done by the members themselves, it might avoid complications
to limit the membership to men who could take part in such duties.
"Trusting that you understand our attitude in this matter,
and with regret that we cannot offer you an application for membership
in the club at this time."
The subject surfaced again from within the club in June, 1940.
"In connection with the matters raised by the girls club representatives
it was voted that the girls club would not be considered as an auxiliary
of the White Rock Sailing Club, but that the girls club could identify
itself by adding the words 'of the White Rock Sailing Club' to its
own name." The club partitioned the Park Board later that year
to lower the fees on prams which were deemed to be suitable sailboats
for women skippers. Here a few excerpts from the letter. "
has up to now been considered a man's sport. There is
on foot amongst the wives and daughters of sailors thru out the
United States to share with their men the relaxation of cruising
and thrill of racing
as skippers, and petticoat fleets are
being born everywhere.
"Heretofore a drawback to the lady skippering has been the
lack of a suitable craft
This lack seems now to have been
fulfilled by a new design called 'Pram'
Park Board, however, has the power to make or break this program
by the license fee which it will exact.
the present $12.50
fee is, if not downright burdensome, at least a major part of their
total annual sailing expense.
it is a certainty that 'Pram'
will not catch on if the present uniform license is demanded.
that a special fee be established
in no event to exceed $5.00."
The club was building Prams (photo) the next spring and Pram racing followed, so a suitable arrangement
must have been worked out with the park. Women had been racing at
White Rock almost from the beginning. There had been a women's series
as part of the 1932 Southwestern Regatta and women's races were
part of many regattas throughout the 30s. The Pram decision seemed
to secure the women's position as skippers.
In September 1939, WRSC started discussions with CSC about a race
series. [This is the first mention of CSC.] It appears that
WRSC and CSC alternated hosting races throughout the 1940 racing
season. In 1941, WRSC shared expenses for the Southwestern Regatta
with DSC and in 1942, CSC also pitched in. The program indicates
the 1942 regatta was cosponsored by all three clubs. WRSC also decided
to sponsor series of open Snipe races for boats from all three clubs
in addition to their regular club races.
The WRSC facility grew to provide davits for dry storage and a
covered deck for shelter from the sun and rain. There was also some
storage space, but not a club house. The monthly club meetings were
held in members homes during the period from 1935 through 1942.
In the Summer of 1942, club membership had grown to 15. DSC had
46 members and CSC 22 that same year.
November, 1942 WRSC minutes - "A special meeting of the White
Rock Sailing Club was held [to hear about]
requirements, duties, and advantages of membership in the Texas
" December 7, 1942 - Pearl Harbor was bombed.
Roger Hansen provides a little different slant on DSC sailors.