The San Francisco Bay Bear Boat Association

The Bear Class Sloop is a living piece of San Francisco Bay's maritime history. Conceived by Ernest Nunes and Marty Martinson, the first keel was laid late in 1931 by the Nunes Boat and Ways Company, Sausalito, California. By the summer 1932, the new boat was ready for its first sea trial. On lookers reported that Commodore Cliff Smith of the San Francisco Yacht Club praised the effort, telling young Ernest Nunes, "That is a bear of boat." The name stuck and a unique class, indigenous to San Francisco Bay, was born.

By the late 1950s enthusiastic owners, competitive racing, and adventurous sure-footed sailing craft made the Bears the largest one-design class on San Francisco Bay. Never having achieved mass production, the Bear Class was truly home grown as new boats were added to the fleet by an assortment of professional and amateur builders. Active and highly competitive racing continued through the 1960s with as many as 65 boats in the fleet.

Starting in 2009, a core group of enthusiastic Bear Boat owners started to re-acquaint the greater San Francisco Bay sailing community with these wonderful little yachts. Near term efforts were focused on getting the boats out in sufficient numbers to sail, race and reinvigorate the Bear Boat Association. Eight boats are racing in this year’s Wooden Boat Racing Association (WBRA) season. Six boats have been rescued by active owners in the past several years.

The San Francisco Bay Bear Boat Association celebrated the 80th birthday of the launching of #1 Merry Bear in 2012. The SFBBA is active today, organizing racing and social events throughout the year.  

#52 Juno - FREE

Juno has been rescued from lien sale, and is in the water at Berkeley Marine Center (

She is available for free to a good owner. The boat is basically complete with all hardware, but is in need of deck and planking work.

#34 Hunny

Bear Boat #34 - Hunny
1946, $X,XXX/Best Offer, Moss Landing, CA
She is 1 of 35 boats existing of a 69 boat production life.
All lines led to cockpit for ease of single handing.
Great on the bay, looks good in a 10 knot breeze, but capable of 15 knot winds with an average speed of 5 knots.
Life jackets, toss ring. flares, bilge pump, electrical panel and battery. Hand held radio, and depth finder that may or may not work.
2 spinnakers and pole, self tailing jib boom, one jib, two main sails. Anchor and line. New halyards for main and jib/spinnaker.

The Brokerage

DISCLAIMER: The purpose of this section of the webpage is manifold: to help Bear Boats find owners who can sustain them in the manner to which they are deserving; to help current owners obtain a sense of the marketplace, to help prospective owners locate and connect with a deserving boat, and to help current owners who need to end their relationship with their boat.