About the Spaulding Marine Center

Located in the heart of Sausalito’s waterfront, Spaulding Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving, sharing, and celebrating the area’s rich history of traditional wooden boatbuilding. With its 20,000 sq. ft. working wooden boatbuilding facility, historically significant sailboats, and skilled craftspeople, Spaulding Center offers a wealth of educational programs and community events designed to connect people of all ages to the Bay Area’s maritime history, historic sailing vessels, and the art of wooden boatbuilding.

The center was built in 1951 by San Francisco Bay Area legend Myron Spaulding - concert violinist, champion sailor (he skippered the famous yacht Dorade to victory in the 1936 Trans-Pac race to Hawaii) and self-educated boat designer and builder. Spaulding purchased the property and constructed the Spaulding Boat Works in order to build his own boat designs. Many of his designs are still active on the west coast, and his design drawings are housed at the National Historic Maritime Museum.

Following Myron Spaulding’s death in 2000 at age 94, his wife Gladys Spaulding established a trust to create a non-profit charitable organization, Spaulding Marine Center. Spaulding Center provides a valuable bridge into the San Francisco Bay Area’s rich maritime history, as well as a unique opportunity for youth and adults to learn the craft of wooden boatbuilding.

Spaulding Marine Center’s mission is to provide a gateway to wooden boat building, traditions, and seamanship for people from all walks of life.


Myron Spaulding at the helm on the San Francisco Bay

Spaulding designed and built Chrysopyle on the Spaulding Boatworks dock

Myron Spaulding in the spar loft at the Spaulding Boatworks (1995)

Myron Spaulding

Myron Spaulding was a legend on the Sausalito waterfront, and was a tremendous influence on San Francisco bay sailors during the days when boats were made of wood and built locally by expert craftsmen. An accomplished concert violinist, Myron Spaulding performed professionally for many years, including with the San Francisco Symphony. It was, however, as a yacht designer, builder and sailor, that Myron left his mark on the Bay Area. Learning about working with wood at Polytechnic High School in San Francisco in 1924, he designed and built his first small boat while in school and thereafter was largely self-taught.

Opening an office in San Francisco as a naval architect before World War II, his first significant design was the 20 foot Clipper, of which 80 were eventually built. During this period he was making a name for himself as a crack sailor, eventually going on to win several season championships and racing in six TransPacific races from San Francisco to Honolulu. The highlight of his racing career was winning the 1936 TransPac as skipper of the famous 52 foot yawl Dorade. In addition to the Clipper class, he created the Spaulding 33, which can still be seen on the bay, as well as notable custom boats such as the 50 foot yawl Suomi and the 45 foot yawl Chrysopyle.

During the War, he worked at the Madden & Lewis shipyard in Sausalito building subchasers, then spent a couple of years as a marine surveyor before leasing property near McNear’s Beach in the late 1940s, where he repaired boats, continued with survey work and designed and built the 36 foot Buoyant Girl. After losing his lease to make way for development, he returned to Sausalito in 1951 and bought the present waterfront site at the foot of Gate Five Road. Myron Spaulding died in the fall of 2000 at the age of 94.

Gladys Spaulding

Myron Spaulding’s widow Gladys died a little more than a year and a half later and left the Spaulding Boatworks in charitable trust, with instructions for the trustees to form a nonprofit corporation, named the Spaulding Center for Wooden Boats.