On September 21, 1906, thirty-two enthusiastic men with an average age of 25 years, met on the ark Bugaboo moored along the shore of San Leandro Bay on the east end of the Island of Alameda on San Francisco Bay. These were the charter members of the Aeolian Yacht Club. In the two weeks following this meeting, the charter membership expanded to 52.
At the next meeting, a burgee and the name Aeolian Yacht Club relating to Aeolus, the Greek God of Wind, were agreed upon. The first social event, a clam bake on Bay Farm Island, was set for September 30, nine days after the first meeting. With an initiation fee of $5 and dues of $1 per month (or $10 per year, if paid in advance), along with theater parties, enough money was raised to buy a small parcel of land at the present site of the club and have piles driven and capped. During the last half of 1907 and the early part of 1908, the club members built a clubhouse. The first meeting in the uncompleted building was on March 6, 1908. Before the second floor was added, the building burned down in early November, 1908. With $1,000 in insurance money, they contracted to have the first floor rebuilt, and by April of 1909, they were using it for meetings. the second story was added by club members during 1909, and this is the basic modern-day Aeolian clubhouse.
Since the beginning, Aeolian members have been active in all forms of yachting around San Francisco Bay. Under the leadership of the first commodore, Larry Knight, and subsequent commodores Carl Strom and Louis Ward, the club joined the Pacific Inter Club Yachting Association in 1907. In 1910, an Aeolian yacht, the Molilou, skippered by commodore Louis Ward, entered the Transpac Race. In 1923, Larry Knight, still one of the club’s most active members, published the first Northern California Yachting Year Book, which has been published annually since 1923. The Claude H. Benham Trophy, awarded annually for yacht club participation in the Opening Day parade, was established in honor of the Commodore of Aeolian Yacht Club in 1929.