There is no doubt that there was dinghy sailing before 1953, first at Tragumna and then at Baltimore and since the official list of Commodores starts in 1952, this should be the start year. It also enables us to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Club in 2002! Those who contest this can organise celebrations in 2003 and 2006!
The most interesting account of the founding of the Baltimore Sailing Club is contained in a letter from Frank Murphy to John Newenham (Commodore 1976) dated 3rd August 1976 from which I quote:-
“You asked me about Tom and the foundation of the Club. The real background is not generally known. Tom was always deeply concerned at the emigration from Baltimore and Skibbereen and spent much time and money here and abroad, and over a long period, in attempts to establish industries to give employment, but without success. I went with him in one of these efforts which took us to Zurich in 1952. Eventually we discussed expanding and developing the indigenous industry of boat building and promoting Baltimore and the islands as a resort for centreboard sailing which would also benefit local tourism.The first step was to get the people who came there “doing it”. Apart from a few motor boats there was only an International 12′, one unclassified 12′ and an old 21/2 ton yacht.
There were increasing numbers of young people both local and summer visitors who could be interested and taught to sail; to start a club was an obvious necessity. I wanted to push on with it but Tom was against doing so until we could be sure of more support. In the early summer of 1953 two more International 12’s arrived; in the week following a third was bought in Crosshaven and, when I called to Tom on the Saturday, he had already heard all and declared we start the club immediately and was passing the news all around for a meeting that night, which was duly held in Salter’s Lounge (now Bushe’s Bar).
He was elected Commodore, and henceforth he and Olive gave it most of their spare time, winter and summer. For years they never missed a weekend on the pier, in fact I only remember one absence in all their years of office when they had to attend the funeral of a relative in England.”
Tom Fuller remained Commodore of the Club until 1966. His successor was Frank Murphy who held the position for a year, followed by Hugh Musgrave for two years. Since then the post has been held 17 Commodores, changing approximately every two years. Above all Baltimore Sailing Club was a family club run on a completely voluntary basis. Today many of the children and grandchildren of the founding families are most active participants. There are a total of approximately 200 members.