A Brief History


Windlasses is a women’s sailing association. Our purpose is to encourage women sailors to improve their art of sailing, to sponsor races and cruises in Prams and Sunfish, and to compete with other women’s sailing clubs on the Florida Gulf Coast.


In October of 1967, a small group of enthusiastic sailing women organized a club to learn the principles of sailing. They named the club “Windlasses.” (A windlass is a machine for hauling or hoisting an anchor). Prams were rented from the Clearwater Optimist Pram Fleet. The Windlasses sailed out of the Maritime Youth Center on Clearwater Beach.
In 1969, Windlasses decided to elect officers and have races and to give charms as awards.
In 1971, Windlasses became an auxiliary of the Windjammers. Trophies were donated by Windjammers awarding outstanding skippers in one series.

Special races held around various holidays were added to the racing schedule in 1971.

    In 1974, the club moved to the Dunedin Pram Fleet Headquarters, renting prams from the city and sailing out of the Dunedin Marina.

Also in 1974, Windlasses joined the newly organized Florida Women’s Sailing Association as an independent organization. They participate in interclub races and regattas with other clubs of the FWSA and the annual FWSA Rainbow Regatta.

In 1975, a Portsmouth Class was added to the racing activities. Interest in this group grew with active fleets of Lasers and Sunfish racing each week.

In 1981, it as decided to discontinue the relationship with Windjammers. Windlasses then joined the Florida Sailing Association as an independent organization.

By 1988, Laser interest had waned but Sunfish sailors had increased and group became registered as Sunfish Fleet #650.

In 1990 the Windlasses were honored to receive the first FWSA Friendship Award for the most active participation in and support of FWSA activities and interclub races.

In addition to racing, Windlasses have cruises to spoil banks and islands and also have and extensive educational program.

Windlasses remains an active group of approximately 150 members with four series of races, special one day races, and cruises. Through the educational program, they strive to improve the sailing skills of all members.


Our Windlass Officers can be e-mailed using their officer title: