From the earliest days of Golden Gate Park, tensions have been high between model boat lovers and full-sized boat sailors competing for water space on Stow Lake. The inevitable nautical battle was averted in 1903 with the construction of the shallow, artificial Spreckels Lake, filled by diverting fresh water from the wells at the Dutch Windmill, and dedicated specifically to model yachting.
The San Francisco Model Yacht Club, founded in 1898, is the oldest such club in the Americas and has about 175 active members. Hidden out of site on most days, the club keeps a beautiful and extensive collection of model boats in its modest WPA era clubhouse.
Today the club is still quite active, with a boating season the starts in March and runs through October, supporting both motorized and sail model boats. Regattas are held on Saturdays and Sundays all season long. The lake is open to model boaters at any time: powerboats from 10am until 1pm, sailboats from 1pm on.
- Christopher Pollock; “San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park - A Thousand Acres of Stories” 2001, West Winds Press