The yacht club also announced a new partnership with Mote Marine Laboratory.
It was two years in the making, but Bird Key Yacht Club’s new marina is now complete.
The club unveiled the multimillion-dollar expansion Oct. 22 at the MarinaFest celebration. About 260 people attended the event that included bagpipers and a Champagne christening of the new docks.
The new marina wasn’t the only thing to celebrate, though. Event chairman Bill Jacobs said the club will bring back the Sarasota Bay Cup Regatta in April. This year, the regatta will support a charitable organization: Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium.
Michael Crosby, president and CEO of Mote, said Mote will participate in the race on a 1982 72-foot Catalina sailboat.
Crosby described the significance of the partnership, noting that many of Mote’s restoration efforts occur on Sarasota Bay, which Bird Key overlooks.
The new marina boasts 780 linear feet of new seawall, 48 boat slips, 18 boat lifts, a double kayak lift and other amenities such as Wi-Fi and security systems. Duncan Seawall Dock and Boatlift was the primary contractor.
Brian McCarthy, project manager for the new marina, said the original marina was built 54 years ago at the same time as the club and had reached the end of its life.
“It’s a great milestone for the club,” McCarthy said.
Bird Key Yacht Club’s motto is "anchored in friendship," and club membership is open to all. Members do not need to live in Bird Key or own a boat.