Jacomo Sailing Club was founded in 1958, a year before Lake Jacomo was completed and filled.
Late in 1958, the dam was completed, the gravel roads were almost done, and the anchors were down in sailboat cove. The drysail lot was planned, as well as the fishing docks at the south end, but the lake was dry. The scheduled opening was spring of 1960.
The founders, a group of 12 men, met in Kelly's Bar in Westport, and planned the formation of the Jacomo Sailing Club. At that time there was no public sailing in the Kansas City area. (Most of the large public lakes that now surround this area were not even built yet.) That winter 120 club members were signed up. The club elected officers; the first Commodore being Jack Cleary. They established by-laws, bought equipment, and waited. The winter and early spring were very wet in Kansas City, and the lake filled in by April. Although the park would not be fully done until 1960, the Jacomo Sailing Club. started its first season.
The 1970 years were the high water mark of the club. In 1977, the club had 350 members, and averaged over 175 racing boats each Sunday. Past Jacomo Sailing Club members have spread sailboat racing all through the Midwest, and were the founding fathers of the non-private lake clubs in the Kansas City area. In the 1970’s, sailors with cruising sailboats in the 22-23 foot range started showing up on Lake Jacomo in increasing numbers. Impromptu races began and soon people wanted to join the Jacomo Sailing Club and race on a regular basis. In 1979, the first officers were elected and the Cruiser Fleet was formed.
The Cruiser Fleet became one of the fleets that raced each Sunday. After 3 or 4 years, some of the faster cruisers got tired of losing to slower boats based on their handicap numbers and the Cruisers split into two fleets. After a few years of split racing, there was a general loss of racing fever. By the mid 1980’s, the Jacomo Cruiser Fleet Yacht Club had become more of a social organization than a competitive one.
Now shortened to Jacomo Yacht Club, the community continues on today. While we may not race marked courses every weekend, there are always those who like to compete for bragging rights at the dock after a day of sailing. We still keep to tradition with a couple formal scheduled regattas each year. Otherwise our members enjoy rafting up to spend the night or take a dip when the wind isn’t favorable.
The Club meets monthly during the sailing season and hosts an annual Christmas party. It’s a great way to meet new people who share a common interest…sailing.
Local Sailing Vessel History
In the late 1950's to 1960's fiberglass boats were not yet readily available. The first boat in the Jacomo sailing community was the Y-Flyer. The custom was for a club to band together and build the boats out of wood, each member taking a different task. At the end the members would draw for a boat. The Y-Flyer was an easy boat to build. The club focused on racing with many other related activities. The east drysail lot was full of one-design sailboats including Lightnings, Thistles, and Y-Flyers. The smaller boats such as the Snipe, Windmill, and Demon launched from the west side. The Lightning fleet was the largest in the US, with 75 boats.
During the 1970’s fiberglass boats became common. Cruising boats offering comfort and stability were reasonably available. The county deemed it allowable for people to spend the night on their cruising boats. The number of cruising boats grew until they had their own fleet within the club.