Club History


The Satuit Boat Club, located in Scituate Massachusetts, is a small club dedicated to furthering boating knowledge and maritime skills. SBC was incorporated in 1944 during World War II when a group of Scituate boaters running patrol watches in Massachusetts Bay met in a building on Dock Street behind what is now T K O’Malley’s restaurant. This building was once home to Priscilla Fish who, with brother Russell, owned the Welch Co. These informal gatherings became more structured and evolved into the establishment the Satuit Boat Club.

As time went on land was purchased on Jericho Road next to the Scituate Harbor Yacht Club for the present club facilities. Construction started during the mid-fifties which coincided with the huge project of dredging of the harbor. Club members brought the single large picture window from the old building on Dock St., utilizing it as the current middle window in the new club house. Relying heavily on volunteers, our clubhouse experienced two or three different expansions to the main meeting room, enlarging the galley and adding the two storage rooms, which were in accordance to a master plan that was developed during the initial days of construction of the first phase. Many of the older members remember these early days of the club’s formation and have their own sweat and labor of love in the SBC building. We have always had a “hands on” philosophy at the club, with members voluntarily participating in needed maintenance and projects.

Our club house has an activity room, a cozy fireplace area, a galley, showers, and heads. Club members are able to use the facility the year round which helps foster strong friendships between members and their families. Periodic social events are planned and are well attended. During the summer season, the club house is full of members, their families and transients utilizing the grills, having dinner together and enjoying the great views of Scituate Harbor. We have a dock, floats and launch services that are used extensively by the membership.


“In the early 1960s, the club wives and family were considered guests of the member. With much effort over the next few years we women finally managed to at least have their collective “foot in the door” but it still took years before we were accepted as members. The clubhouse was definitely a man’s place. The furnishings were anything that wasn’t good enough for the home such as old, soiled overstuffed chairs with sagging springs, old tables with peeling paint, no curtains, rugs or mats. A disaster! One thing that we tried to resurrect was an old wicker set. A member’s wife brought in her Electrolux vacuum (with paint spray option) and we were able to spray paint it a nice soft yellow. It looked quite good but a number of the members (men) thought we had some nerve to do such a thing without their permission. Undaunted and after some time to let the furor subside, we suggested it would be nice to add some new things to the Spartan décor, but the Treasurer said “there was no money for things like that”. With this response, we really took things into our own hands. We started Wednesday bridge meetings and brought card tables, chairs and all the necessities. We made lunch and charged a dollar to play. With this money we were able to purchase the first captain’s chairs for the club, silverware for the galley, and other items to add some appeal. This activity ended when we asked the Treasurer to hold our money for us as we didn’t keep a separate bank account. Some months later we asked for a withdrawal to use for our next project, we were informed that it had been used to help buy the chain link fence between the clubhouse and parking lot. We were raising money to beautify the club and none of us saw any beauty in that fence. It took a few more years before the door was wide open for us. Now of course women are full-fledged members, they hold office and have much influence in the activities of the club, but that’s the way it was.”


The original floats were “camels” gleaned from Fore River shipyard located in Quincy. These were fenders made from large timbers used for ships that were built and launched there. They were extremely heavy and didn’t float very high. SBC member, Ray Gaffey, later designed and, with others, built replacements using “newfangled” Styrofoam and carefully selected lumber in Frank Duffy’s cellar. After construction they were disassembled, transported to the club and reassembled. This was 1963 and these floats, given an annual maintenance coat of copper naphthate for all wood above water and red lead bottom paint for wood under water, lasted over forty years and were only recently replaced– again by floats designed and built by the membership. One of the original 1963 floats is still in use today at the eastern end of the outer float.

Originally, members used dinghies to reach their boats, or contracted with the public “Water Taxi” from O’Neil’s dock next door. Later, SBC obtained a Dyer Glamour Girl launch which contained a small diesel engine but held only six people. In 1978, the club was able to purchase a new twenty one foot Crosby Launch that has served the club well up to the present time. Our launch drivers take pride in the maintenance of the launch and it is still in excellent condition.


On or about 1964 members of the club decided there should be a Junior Sailing program to encourage and promote sailing for our youth. Five members agreed to build five turnabouts to be used in the program. The boats were built from kits in the clubhouse during the winter of 1964/1965. Two wives of the builders journeyed to Amesbury to procure the five kits. Each kit contained all parts for completing the boats except the masts which were fabricated from 2×3 lumber purchased from a local lumberyard. Once completed, the builders drew lots to see which builder got which boat. The five builders became owners of the boats which were placed on loan to the club for use in the new program. The new Jr. Sailing program was a huge success, in the first year alone nearly one hundred kids applied. They were divided into groups by age. One instructor managed these groups five days each week. In addition, a woman’s sailing instructional group was also held one night per week. The builders were Frank Duffy, Joe Hennessey, Ray Gaffey, Jack Rogers and Ed Craig.


For many years, a team of members would take great pride in preparing the food for the annual Satuit Boat Club closing which included a highly anticipated clam bake. The planning that was involved provided an opportunity for members to get involved and have a good time.

The morning of the event started with one group going out in a small boat to collect a large amount of seaweed, preferably the kind with little “balloons” and deliver it to our “beach” at the club. Proper planning took into account that this affair had to take place at a “lowish” tide. This allowed another team to position a 4X8 foot steel sheet onto cinder blocks on the beach and build a fire underneath. An agreement had been made with a local lobsterman who delivered the lobsters to our float in the morning, other supplies had been bought in advance.

Once the seaweed arrived, the steel sheet was covered in 6 inches of seaweed and the first food layer – potatoes- was laid on top. More seaweed was layered on and kielbasa, linguica and other sausages followed. More layers were added including onions, carrots, corn (with husks), and clams. Lobsters and additional seaweed made up the final layer. The entire pile is now approximately 5 feet tall and is covered with a well-used tarp keeping the steam inside for cooking.

The fire is kept going for 3 to 4 hours controlled by the addition of wood collected during the summer for the purpose. Much of the steam comes from the balloons in the seaweed while making a very pleasing popping sound. During this time the cooking team, fortified by various libations, discuss timings based on past clam bakes and engage in a lively debate as to when the food should be cooked. As always, the group comes to a mostly agreeable conclusion and after some hours everybody is hungry enough to start digging in. The tarp, or at least the part that has not been burned, is taken off and the contents are portioned out to the waiting, hungry crowd.

Were the members pleased? A couple comments on the meal and experience:

• “The clam bake food was absolutely unique, with a bit of smokey taste that cannot be had anywhere except at the Satuit Boat Club clam bake”.
• “The lobsters remind us of an expensive Scottish single malt whiskey, and for many of us that is fabulous”.

At the end of the evening, the tide comes in, puffs of steam emerge from the dying fire, and the steel sheet is removed and stored until next year’s clam bake.


Through the years SBC has experienced a number of storms; Hurricanes and Nor’easters, the worst being the Blizzard of 1978 where the club house had two feet of water and debris throughout the building, as well as extensive exterior damage. True to form, the membership pulled together and, through hard work and long hours, completed needed tasks to get the facility back in shape and ready for the 1978 boating season.

Today, the Satuit Boat Club still functions much like it has during the past seventy plus years but with notable progress. SBC prides itself in its summer Junior Sailing Program. The quality of the program’s instructors, curriculum and boats are top notch and many of our local sailors developed and enhanced their sailing skills at SBC. The club helps to support the PHRF summer racing program and sponsors both the Chowder Bowl and Horace Day races. SBC welcomes and encourages visitors and is used as a cruising destination for both individual sailors and other club cruises.

Since 1944 our strength has been the enthusiasm, loyalty and “can do” spirit of our more than one hundred members, their families and guests and this legacy continues to the present day.

Contributed by Phyllis Karlberg, Bill Fairbanks, Ed and Jean Craig, and Leif Lindblom


Additional SBC History – Available to Current Members




Past SBC Commodores:

  • 1944-1947 Lester Chadbourne
  • 1947-1948 Clifford Lougee
  • 1948-1949 Saul Appel
  • 1949-1951 Andrews Wyman
  • 1951-1952 Stuart Cooper
  • 1952-1953 John Kenneth Mills
  • 1953-1954 Richard Claybourne
  • 1954-1955 Norman Beals
  • 1955-1956 Bernard MacKenzie
  • 1956-1957 Fred Prouty
  • 1957-1958 Homer Jansen
  • 1958-1960 Donald Davis
  • 1960-1961 Raymond Gaffey
  • 1961-1962 Paul Jansen
  • 1962-1963 Robert B. Ladd
  • 1963-1964 Stanley Davis
  • 1964-1965 Joseph Hennessey
  • 1965-1966 Jack Rogers
  • 1966-1967 Frank Duffy
  • 1967-1968 Edgar Craig
  • 1968-1969 Cameron Baird
  • 1969-1970 John Dieselman
  • 1970-1971 Edward Smiley
  • 1971-1972 Irving Versoy
  • 1972-1973 Richard Seacord
  • 1973-1974 John Sirois
  • 1974-1975 John Peterson
  • 1975-1976 James Hayes
  • 1976-1977 James Cleary
  • 1977-1978 Walter May
  • 1978-1979 Philip Tower
  • 1979-1980 Douglas Donahue
  • 1980-1981 Warren Hayes
  • 1981-1982 Tauno Metsisto
  • 1982-1983 Peter Cannistraro
  • 1983-1984 David Osborne
  • 1984-1985 William Fairbanks
  • 1985-1986 John Dieselman
  • 1986-1987 Charles Hoar
  • 1987-1988 Phyllis Karlberg
  • 1988-1989 Jay Dieselman
  • 1989-1990 Charles Scheller
  • 1990-1991 Robert Pratt
  • 1991-1992 Walter Barnard
  • 1992-1993 James Milligan
  • 1993-1994 William Johnston
  • 1994-1995 Richard Williamson
  • 1995-1996 Robert Bechtold
  • 1996-1997 Philip Katz
  • 1997-1998 William Woomer
  • 1998-1999 Leif Lindblom
  • 1999-2000 Kevin Roche
  • 2000-2001 David Turner
  • 2001-2003 Janet Fairbanks
  • 2003-2005 Diana Decker
  • 2005-2007 Frank Griffin
  • 2007-2008 Michael Vannata
  • 2008-2009 Frank Griffin
  • 2009-2011 Dennis Walsh
  • 2011-2013 Bill Mullen
  • 2013-2015 Jim Kwiatkowski
  • 2015-2017 John Litchfield
  • 2017-2019 Tom Gavin
  • 2019-2021 Bob Ulwick