Yacht Club celebrates 150 years with plans for youth sailing center

Construction, fundraising is Floryan’s focus as commodore


The St. Augustine Yacht Club is celebrating 150 years in the community, and it is looking to celebrate by raising money to build a youth sailing center.

“It’s a very exciting time right now,” said Kathleen Floryan, who was named commodore of the club during a ceremony on Jan. 20. “We are trying to reach out to the youth, who will be the next generation of sailors.”

Progress continues to be made on the center, as the construction of the facility’s bulkhead began in April 2023 along with the official engineering building plans also getting approved.

Construction of the dock that will be used by the center started in the fall but fundraising continues to be an ongoing task as the funds to make the project a reality is still being worked out.

According to Floryan, any contributions from the community would be greatly appreciated and they are tax deductible.

“The youth learn so much more than just the techniques of sailing, but they learn skills about discipline and being part of a team, which are so important because it’s all about building and strengthening a community through sailing,” Floryan said. “We want to leave a legacy for the next 150 years of the club.”

One of the marquee events marking the St. Augustine Yacht Club’s 150th anniversary this year will include a masquerade ball on Feb. 13 that is open to the public. For more about that event, click HERE.

Many of the events hosted by the club this year will have a historic component, as it looks back on its many years of existence, including the days when Flagler and Carnegie were some of the family names that were members of the club around the late 1800s.

The club has about 350 members and was recently presented with a letter of recognition by the City of St. Augustine in honor of its 150 years of service to the community.

Floryan takes over the role of the club’s commodore after serving as vice commodore last year and will hold the position for the next year.

The duty is the most senior and highest ranked officer and responsibilities include overseeing all of the club’s initiatives and serving as chair of the executive committee.

It is a volunteer position, but one that Floryan is honored to hold because she and her husband love being members of the club and it is a way they can give back and support their passion of sailing.

“We’ve been members since 2006, and we have a 38-foot Hunter sailing yacht named Ariel,” Floryan said.

The yacht won during the 2023 St. Augustine Race Week in the offshore series and the performance non-spinnaker category.

“Sailing is a peaceful escape from the world around us. There’s nothing like feeling the wind in your face and hearing the sound of the water against the side of the boat while watching the porpoises follow along.”

Floryan is involved in the community in many other ways as well, including being the immediate chair of the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce Ponte Vedra Beach Division and a member of Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church.