Table of Contents

Floyd Phillips and the Birth of BYC

The small city of Bremerton in 1929 A.D. had little to offer the yachting enthusiast. True, there was a scattering of small pleasure craft and a very few commercial boats, but all in all, there was no real boating activity except among the few that owned boats or dreamed of someday owning a yacht of their own.

One such man that did own a small pleasure craft was Mr. Floyd H. Phillips who at that time was associated with the Bremerton Post Office. Floyd apparently had gotten tired of having his boat drag anchor and land on somebody's beach because it seems that he was one of the main instigators of our Bremerton Yacht Club.

In talking about the possibilities of such a club with the boys at the Post Office and down at Harold Kuett's Charleston Club, Floyd finally rounded up a few boating maniacs and actually got down to real business. A meeting was called for May 25th, 1929.

Approximately 26 men from all walks of life came to this open meeting. It is, of course, understood that there was a great deal of argument. This argument has grown with the club and has blossomed out beautifully -- but bear in mind that it all started on May 25th, 1929.

Out of this argument came several startling developments. It seems that Floyd could talk louder and faster than anyone else there at the meeting, so it was decided to proceed with the plans for a Bremerton Yacht Club. Committees were appointed to draw up a set of workable By-laws and obtain all pertinent data relating to yacht clubs in general so that the ball could get rolling.

Some politician offered to see if he couldn't find a regular meeting place and somebody else went to work on designing a burgee. And so -- the B.Y.C. was born. On June 17th, 1929 a few of the same bunch got together again at the Holman residence. A temporary Chairman was appointed and the first official meeting of the Bremerton Yacht Club was underway.

Someone rose to his feet and nominated Floyd Phillips to be the first Commodore of the B.Y.C. This was duly seconded and thus by unanimous ballot Floyd was elected Commodore. Frank Lewis was elected to the important post of Secretary-Treasurer. Ten men, in all, were the original charter members of the B.Y.C. They were: Floyd Phillips, Howard l. Haven, Elmer H. Brooks, DeWitt Doyle, Earl R. Moriarity, Jan VanderStaay, Fred Brauer, Ernest Westgren, George A. Braendlein and Frank Lewis.

The First Slate of Officers

Floyd Phillips
Vice Commodore
Hob Haven
Rear Commodore
Elmer Brooks
Secretary, Treasurer
Frank Lewis

Here is the transcript of the events of the first meeting as taken directly from the minutes as recorded by Captain Lewis:

A meeting at Holman residence. About 12 men present

  • Object -- to organize a yacht club.
  • Elected -- F. Phillips, Commodore; H. Haven, Vice Commodore; F. Lewis, Secretary.
  • Motions made and carried:
    1. To estimate cost of starting a club, considering necessary supplies, equipment, installing float, renewing glass windows, water pipe, etc. then establish amount of dues and initiation fees necessary for project.
    2. To construct and write By-laws. .
    3. Appointment of committee (Lewis) to obtain information and particulars as assistance in organizing.
    4. Suggested and agreed that all hands turnout Saturday and assist in cleaning up dock, purchase material and proceed to install.
    5. Next meeting to be June 25, Tuesday, on dock. Lewis to furnish material for newspaper publicity.

So you can see, dear reader, that the politicians in that day were on the job. The City Commissioners gave the use of the old ferry dock in Charleston to the newly organized club. Of course, this old dock had been lying idle for a number of years and the ravages of Mother Nature, aided by a few small kids with slingshots, had taken their toll. Broken glass, loose decking and a sign posted at the head of the dock stated that the dock was condemned. That gives a pretty fair picture of the conditions that met the eye of the charter members. But---in the interest of boating, a man will do funny things. The morale of the charter members was 99%. Whatever happened to the other 1% is not clear. The most common version being that it fell overboard and therefore gained the distinction of becoming the original "Hell-Diver" of the B.Y.C. (Well, it had to start somewhere didn't it?).

First Meeting Place for Bremerton Yacht Club

After the formation of the Club at a meeting in the old Anderson Hotel on June 17, 1929, the first regular meeting of members was held in this house somewhere in Bremerton. [BYC Towline, January 2004]