Bremerton yacht club
plus burgee


Part I: 1929 - 1945

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]

The First Work Party

Anyway, the first “work-party” of the B.Y.C. took place on the following Saturday. It is generally understood that everyone present had their own ideas on just how everything should be done and were not at all hesitant in voicing their private opinions both loudly and vociferously. However, as has been stated before, Commodore Phillips can talk faster and louder than anyone else to this date in the B.Y.C. so he did things his own way. There also has been the whisper of a rumor (perish the thought) that someone brought a bottle of the home brew which he conjured up in his attic and several of the members were seen partaking of this vile beverage. However, this has never been proven, thank heavens.

Just what the work party accomplished is shown in the minutes of the second meeting of the B.Y.C.:

“Regular meeting on Charleston dock” 6/25/29. Discussion on cost and advisability of employing a permanent watchman—no decision. Discussion on cost and means of obtaining logs and material for float. Motion made and carried to set the initiation fee at $5.00 per member for charter members. Charter to close July 1st, 1929 after which time fee would advance to $10.00.

Motion made and carried to fix dues at $.50 per month, in advance. Appointment of By-law committee to construct and write By-laws suitable for this club (Braendlein-Paradees-Westgren).

Yacht club pennant selected tentatively H. Haven to get estimate on cost. And so the B.Y.C. progressed. On the next meeting on July 1st, 1929 the By-laws were officially read and adopted. Also, at this meeting Elmer Brooks was elected to the office of Rear Commodore and H. Holman was elected Treasurer of the upstart organization. After this meeting the yacht club met every Monday night.

The first official cruise of the B.Y.C. was a family cruise with a destination of Brownsville.

All these Dogs...
Let us pause now for a brief look at the club: The members had been having regular work-parties and had accomplished a great deal. A dance floor and partitions had been installed in the club. One of the prime means of financing the club was by having a party ever-so-often. The guests would drive up South Cambrian and park their automobiles and then walk out on the dock meanwhile watching very carefully that they didn’t step where a plank wasn’t. The city commissioners had given the use of the dock to the club with the understanding that the club would share the dock with the Dog Pound. So the guests would wind their merry way past 4 kennels full of barking pups and finally get to the club itself. There was a gangway leading from the end of the dock down to a flat (built by members) which was the landing float for the boats. The boats were all out at anchor. Incidentally, one of the members got rid of the dogs, finally, by the simple expedient of opening the kennels and letting them go. However, the dogs, faithful to their new found friend, followed him wherever he went. This member, not to be outdone, found a new home for all the dogs by going out to Cambrian Street and opening the doors of the cars parked along this busy boulevard and putting a mangy cur in each car. Nothin’ to it, hic!

On July 22nd, Frank Lewis was appointed Fleet Captain. There were several cruises that summer, but possibly the most outstanding was the cruise (by invitation of the Tacoma Yacht Club) to Burton over Labor Day. There were seven Bremerton boats participating in the current events while the rest came from Tacoma and the Seattle, Olympia, and Everett clubs to make a total of 125 boats in all.

Most of the business meetings in late fall in 1929 were dispensed with. In their place the fellows came dressed for work parties. The club kept gaining members remarkably fast, but due to the fact that there were no business meetings it would be necessary to drop all tools, give the new member his obligation and then hand him a hammer and put him to work. At one meeting in October, during the absence of Commodore Phillips, the Vice-Commodore (Hob Haven) gave a new member the obligation while perched precariously on the rafters of the clubhouse.

The main reason for all this industry was the fact that the members planned a big “Indoor Cruise Party” for all friends, guests and wives on December 14th. The minutes of the club show great anticipation for this party weeks in advance. It is certain that no party ever had more attention to advance details in every respect than did this one. You can bet your bottom dollar that it was a “lulu”.

On March 1Oth, 1930 the first annual nomination and election of officers for the new year took place.
Captains Haven, Brooks and Westgren were elected to the chairs in that order while Captain Lewis was re-elected as Secretary and Captain Doyle was elected Treasurer. The installation of the new officers was held in the office of the Lewis Hatchery on 6th and Wycoff on March 23rd, 1930. At that time the new Commodore appointed his standing committees part of whom c were the following: Fleet Captain—Floyd Phillips; Fleet Surgeon—Dr. Longley; Fleet Measurer—Elmer Brooks. Incidentally, this was the first and last time that the club had an official “measurer”.

The 1930ies

On March 31st, 1930 it is officially recorded for the first time that the B.Y.C. was looking for a suitable piece of property to establish quarters and mooring facilities. During the year several pieces of property were appraised. In fact the club actually bought the island adjoining what is now the club site. However, after the property was obtained the club found they were denied a right of way through the adjoining property to get a road in to the island. So--they promptly sold the island.

On May 5th, 1930 a motion was made and carried that Mr. Marion Garland be appointed club Attorney, an office that he has held to this day. Apparently, legal assistance was needed in various matters such as incorporating and purchasing property, etc.

Also, the original loan fund from club members was started in this year, as funds were needed for the purchase of new property.

On May 12th, 1930 the first Club Steward was appointed by Commodore Haven. The distinction of being the first Club Steward goes to Captain H. Holman who was a favorite with everyone.

The original ladies auxiliary (not to be confused with the Skipperettes) was formed by the members’ wives on July 14th of 1930. Mrs. George Braendlein was the first President. This auxiliary worked with the Skippers on several occasions and really helped put their social gatherings over in a big way. On October 20th, 1931, the first navigation class was started. This was taken over by Vice Commodore Brooks. These classes have been more or less a regular feature of club meetings ever since this time.

On February 16th, 1931, at the regular meeting, nominations were opened for the officers for the coming year. On the next meeting we note that the 11 By-Laws were thoroughly reread and amended. one of the chief changes was setting the elections back to the first of October and the installation of officers to be the first Monday of each January. Consequently, the
Elmer Brooks
installation of officers for 1931 took place on March 9th, 1931, with the officers to have only until the last of 1931 to remain in office. Elmer Brooks was installed as Commodore that year along with the following aides: Jan VanderStaay as Vice Commodore; Earl Moriarity as Rear Commodore; Floyd Phillips as Secretary and DeWitt Doyle as Treasurer. Commodore Brooks appointed C. S. Adams as Fleet Captain and Earl Moriarity as Club Steward. During this year of 1931 the club prospered and had a fine calendar of boating and social events. Possibly the most noteworthy was the following (as transcribed directly from the News Searchlight):

"The Bremerton Yacht Club and the Queen City Yacht Club, with 24 boats carrying more than 120 people, enjoyed a pleasant weekend cruise, with a day of sports and various entertainment and a clambake on Ostrich Bay, Sunday. members of the two clubs met at Fletcher Bay, Bainbridge Island on Saturday evening, departing from there at 9 o'clock Sunday morning. Due to the fact that there was no adequate float in Bremerton for landing purposes, the party cruised through Washington Narrows to Ostrich Bay for the day. The Queen City Club group included the following boats and members:

Eleanor Francis, Captain E. l. Wolfe and a party of 4; Swanna, Captain C. J. Solid and eight; Nowita, Captain F. C. Dean and seven; Hypathia, Captains James and Thurlow and party of five; Malola, Captain Coy and party of five; Bunny, Captain Vosper and four passengers; Trix, Captain Rockett; Naughty Marietta, Captain Pelz and four; Veronica II, Captain Kane, party of five; Charles III, Captain N. Mortensen, party of three; Starlight, Captain l. E. Bliss carrying nine; M-904, Captain Dan Trapp, four in party; Sea Dog, Captain Thwing, party of six; Winifred C., Captain Strobel and six Seattle people.

From Bremerton were the Lorelei, Commodore Brooks and six people; Marge, Captain Haven with Rear Commodore E. Moriarity and party of five; Spare Time, Vice Commodore VanderStaay and two in party; Romulus, Captain Christensen and seven on board; Hasta Manana, Captain Smith and party of nine; M3579, Captain Hillbery and party of five; Leone, Captain Lague and party of four; Ina Jane, Fleet Captain Adams and two in party.

Members of the Bremerton Yacht Club unanimously declared the cruise to be the most enjoyable event since the club was formed more than three years ago, and anticipate the cruise August 1 and 2 to Possession Head where they will meet the Queen City Club and Everett Yacht Club for a beach picnic. At a future date the Bremerton Club will entertain the Queen City Club at a ladies night at the clubhouse on the Charleston Dock".

Jan VanderStaay
On January 4th, 1932 Commodore Brooks installed the following new officers for 1932: Jan VanderStaay, Commodore; Earl Moriarity, Vice Commodore: C. S. Adams, Rear Commodore: DeWitt Doyle, Treasurer and Floyd Phillips as Secretary. Commodore VanderStaay then appointed Captain Brooks as the Fleet Captain for 1932; Fred Brauer as Chairman of the House Committee; and Earl Moriarity as Club Steward.

During the year of 1932 several new innovations were put in effect, some of which have lasted through the years. However, more and more effort was put forth to purchase a suitable piece of property so that the club could relocate. The energy expended on this project all went for naught as nothing was purchased. The main reason for this was the old "boogy-man" --finances. The club had an average of $60 in the Treasury and that's all folks. Things haven't changed much, have they? Quite a lot of time was spent in trying to interest somebody in a Puget Sound Yachting Association and a Federation of Yacht Clubs, but nothing was gained. One interesting piece of information is that the club almost purchased the old bark "W. B. Flint", an old Libby-McNeil cannery ship, to use as a clubhouse. This also was not successful, but at least the club fathers were in there pitchin'.

On August 22, 1932 the club actually went so far as to vote to buy some property on Oyster Bay, but there is no record of the deal ever being closed. So it doesn't look like we'll have to pay any taxes on that anyway. Guess what! The By-laws were amended again. Rewritten and reread and voted on too, by golly! This time the main change was that all flag officers should be boat owners and that the Secretary and Treasurer's offices should be combined. Outside of these items very little was accomplished in the forward march of the B.Y.C.

C.S. Adams
C. S. Adams was elected Commodore on November 29th, 1932 along with Harry Pritchard as Vice Commodore and Gib Palmer as Rear Commodore. George Braendlein was installed as the combination Secretary-Treasurer. Commodore Adams appointed Dr. Ray Schutt as Fleet Surgeon; a Regatta Committee composed of Captain Pritchard, Doyle and Braendlein; and Entertainment Committee consisting of Captains Palmer, Moriarity and VanderStaay and Captain Phillips as Fleet Captain.

H.O. Pritchard
And so we’ll pass along to the next year. This year Past Commodore Phillips again acted as installing officer and installed Harry Pritchard to be Commodore for 1934 along with Gibb Palmer as Vice Commodore and George Brandling as Rear Commodore and Clarence Adams (the old faithful) as Secretary-Treasurer. Commodore Pritchard appointed Lewis Tucker as Fleet Captain with a well balanced staff of other standing committees. In this year of 1934 the Nanaimo (Capitol to Capitol) race was the main topic of conversation. This was the first year that Bremerton was going to have an entry. Many meetings were devoted to a thorough study of all phases of this race.

BYC Junior Yacht Club

Incidentally, it was in this year of 1934 that the By-Laws and constitution of the Junior Yacht Club were drawn up and the Junior Club actually started. This was done on July 9, 1934 [More!].

The Big Gale
The club was still trying to buy property. No luck -- no money. One of the major set-backs and probably the most costly was the "Big Blow" of October 21st, 1934. Here is the scene: It was a nice Sunday in the Fall and several of the fellows were at the club puttering about their boats when WHAMM!!!--- a gale of tornado proportions swept in from the south-west and for most of the day did its very best to make yachting a pleasure to all concerned. It seems that there were about 12 of the club vessels swinging on the hook down at the Charleston moorings and about 2 weathered the storm. The rest were playing tag with the pebbles on the beach or playing follow-the- leader around the dock piling.

Everybody came rushing down to attempt to save their boats, but in such a gale it was impossible to do much about it. Captain Braendlein was one of the more fortunate as far as his boat was concerned, but was thoroughly inconvenienced personally, as he weathered the entire storm by sitting on his deck while the boat bobbled around like a cork. His anchor did not drag, luckily, but the trouble with George was that he has a pipe in his mouth 23-1/2 hours every day. He loves his pipe. Just the mere thought of being without his pipe would nauseate him. On this day he had his pipe and tobacco. You and I would think that he would be a very happy man. Not George. He didn't have a match.

The floats that were secured to the dock were swept away and were not retrieved until several days later. The Cost Guard saved them from destruction and secured them in the sheltered waters of Phinney Bay. This storm was the beginning of the end as far as the Charleston Dock was concerned. None of the boats anchored there again. But what were they to do? There was but little in the Treasury and while the club had purchased several pieces of real estate and taken option on several more, something always proved wrong. So at this time the club did not own any real estate at all.

To get back to business --there was a regular meeting on October 22nd, the day following the "Big Blow". The boys knew that the jig was up. They decided to go after property in earnest. There was the regular nomination of the officers for 135 at this meeting, but, of course, the election was not held 'til November 5th. Captain Braendlein was elected Commodore with Captains Tucker and Vosberg as Vice and Rear Commodore, respectively. Captain Adams was voted in as Secretary-Treasurer.

Incidentally, an innovation was started on November 19th, 1934 to buck up the lagging attendance. The boys were having a tough time of it and very few were attending the meetings. So, the "kitty", or as we call it now, the "Treasure Chest", was started at this time. This is where the fellows throw a dime in the pot at the beginning of the meeting and hold a drawing after the final order of business.
George Braendlein
Commodore Braendlein was installed in office by Past Commodore Phillips on the first Monday of 1935. He held office during the most interesting year in the history of the club. Look at the record of this year:

The club gave up the Charleston Dock and clubhouse for good in February of this year. All properties were stowed in a garage rented from the First State Bank. From this time the members gathered for the regular meetings in various places including the homes of many of the members. It is noted that several of the meetings were held in the Buster Brown Shoe Store, the Calico Cat (restaurant), Hart Accordian School, etc. The amazing part of this inconvenience is that the Bremerton Yacht Club did not miss a single meeting (every Monday).

The annual Heavy Weather Cruise was held on Washington's birthday as usual. The rendezvous this year was the Tracyton dock. There were only 12 Queen City boats over as visitors. There was much discussion at the next meeting as to the reasons that attendance had been falling off at this cruise. No direct action of any sort was taken.

Ostrich Bay: Northerly Exposed!
On June 1Oth of this year the records show that the B.Y.C. put $10 as down payment on waterfront property at Ostrich Bay (Ammunition Depot). This was just one of the several different buys that had been made. However, they were getting desperate about this time.

There was no road down to the water at this place, and there was an old shack that might possibly be used for meeting purposes with much alteration. So -- as the title was cleared, the boys moved the floats down to this new location. The old shack was cleaned up and work parties resumed. The first (and only) meeting that the club held in this shack was June 24th, 1935. At this meeting various means of acquiring the tide lands adjacent to the new property were discussed, with no results.

Most of the meetings during the rest of the summer were held aboard various boats moored at the new place. For instance, the meeting of July 1st was aboard the "Lorelei" and on July 6th aboard the "Rocking Moon". The records show that the club contracted with Elmer Brooksl brother to furnish and drive piling at the new location, but when the piling came, it seems that they were too small, so they were rejected. This cost $7.62 and much energy wasted in argument.

It was soon after this time that a north wind blew right in to Ostrich Bay and the new founded club blew right out. The storm of the preceding fall was still fresh in their memories. Some unfounded ill-will among the surrounding property owners helped this situation along somewhat.

So --the fellows got together every Monday night in somebody's home. In August of 1935, the Commodore of the Everett Yacht Club visited our club at a meeting held in the old "Calico Cat", a local restaurant. He outlined a big interclub get-together at Everett over Labor Day and invited our members to attend. This, our club agreed to do.

Cleaning Up in Everett

Now, boys and girls, listen to the story of this party. The fellows had such a hangover that it is generally agreed that is the reason for their glum expression to this date. Anyway, Bremerton went to Everett en masse. And it can be said again, brother, that they did it up brown. Took over the entire City Yacht Club and all. Took 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes in the Predicted Log Race along with 1st prize in the Dinghy Tug-O-War, and put on the best show at the skits presented by each club. In other words, it was Bremerton's time to howl. Captain Hillbery won the race. Captain VanderStaay captained the tug-o-war and Perl Maurer and Ray Hart, Jr. put on the skit with some original gags and music. What a party!

In coming back to more serious club biz we note that the club discussed getting a liquor license on September 16th, 1935, but apparently it was just one of the 99 times that it was voted down. Also, at this date the nominations were opened for the officers for the ensuing year. The election was held September 3Oth and Lewis Tucker went to the head of the class along with Captain Hillbery and Captain Bard in that order. Again, Clarence Adams was elected Secretary-Treasurer.

It was in this fall that the deal for the head of the bay property was started. The full story of this dealing is not recorded in the official minutes, but apparently it was a cat and dog fight all the way through. It seems that there were two local business men who joined the club and then went to bat to get the club to allow them to buy a club site, erect a clubhouse and to finance the entire proposition by running a roadhouse or speakeasy or something. This matter was taking practically the entire attention of all of the members all the time and this fall nothing much was done except that the membership was split into two factions and there is a record of a great deal of argument. It seems that these two fellows actually did go ahead and purchase the property at the head of the bay, but of course it belonged to them and not to the B.Y.C. So it didn't help the club any at all.

Here is an interesting item --the first feminine member of the B.Y.C. was Miss Avadana Cochrane (manager of the Credit Bureau). Miss Cochrane joined the club in the fall of 1935 and took an active part in the club activities. Another item is that the club started proceedings to incorporate at this time. Of course, in order to incorporate it was necessary to take another step forward putting the club on a more business-like basis, so a Board of Directors was made up of Pritchard, Brooks, VanderStaay and C. Adams as it's first members. Captain Phillips was elected Chairman.

We note that a special meeting was called by Commodore Braendlein on November 8th, 1935 to discuss a possible business agreement with the two fellows who were willing to finance the new clubhouse. At this meeting a motion was made, but was dropped, by one vote on the question to make the deal. So the entire deal for the new clubhouse fell through --again.

News flash --A Past Commodores' Club was formed in November, 1935. So passes 1935. It was an interesting year, wasn't it? But, the poor old yachtsman still didn't have a place of his own to argue in. What will happen? Don't hold your breaths.

Here comes 1936 (A.D.). Commodore Tucker and staff were installed and we see that Captain Gib Palmer gets out another annual. By the way, he has been doing this since 1933. Captain Palmer must have been the answer to any Commodore's prayers. Commodore Tucker appointed the following committee chairmen: Braendlein, Membership; Regatta, Werner; Entertainment, Hillbery; Publicity, Pritchard; Fleet Captain, Werner; Fleet Surgeon, Schutt. A note in the minutes says that the club (early in 1936) bought some of the used lumber left from the wreckage of the old Golden Hotel. There is probably some of this lumber in the clubhouse right now.

On Washington’s birthday in 1936, the club sponsored a Heavy Weather Cruise that was the real McCoy. This race was held in the area from Fletcher Bay to Suquamish and return. It snowed so hard that everything was frozen up. Plenty rough, too. One vessel lost her dinghy which was lashed topsides. It was just a little later than this that Commodore Tucker lost his ship the "Rocking Moon". It seems that the Commodore had a bad fire aboard and the boat was burned down to the water's edge. Saved his engine by salvage, however.

On March 9th, 1936, the B.Y.C. finally got agreeable and made a deal for property (on time payments) on the Navy Yard Highway on Sinclair Inlet. This property was purchased through the generosity of "Skipper" Berg, a local restaurant man, who owned the aforesaid property.

Throughout the rest of spring and part of the summer the club was in an uproar as to the possibility of obtaining a liquor license and selling liquor to finance the building of a clubhouse, etc. This issue sharply divided the club membership although for a time it looked as though this program might go through with all this friction within the club, it is noted that Commodore Tucker presented his resignation along with Captains Bard and Pritchard. However, these resignations were refused by the membership, by ballot. History tells us that the liquor proposition lost by one vote --finally. In the meantime the club put the old Ostrich Bay property on the market.

Also, a drive for new members was instituted. The piling was purchased from Cresote in June and driven the same month. Work parties were instigated to install new floats on the new property.

The Ostrich Bay property was a lemon. It did not sell readily, and was not disposed of until the next fall.

Incidentally, the bill for driving the new piling required more money than was in the Treasury. Hmmmmm! But, the club was undaunted. They merely held the bill over until enough money was accumulated. Simple.

In the meantime, the Officer's Ward Room in the Naval Reserve Quarters located on the upper story of the old city dock in Bremerton was secured for meetings of the B.Y.C. This was done by Past Commodore Brooks who was a Naval Reserve Officer. So, from June 1936 the club had a regular meeting place anyway. We see that the club voted an assessment of $10 per member in order to build the new floats in July, 1936. Approximately $200 was collected in this manner. The penalty for not paying the assessment was to be dropped from the membership rolls and the $10 had to be paid in 30 days. Nevertheless only $200 was obtained in this manner.

On September 21, 1936 nominations for the officers for the following year were opened, followed by the election on October 5th. This time C. J. Hillbery was elected Commodore; Edward Werner, Vice Commodore; C. P. Freidman, Rear Commodore; and, as usual Clarence Adams as Secretary-Treasurer.

Here is an interesting excerpt from the minutes at this time. It tells the tale of how our forbearers navigated:

"Under Good and Welfare, Captain Johnson gave a very good report on his vacation cruise towards Cape Flattery and like all good Bremerton yachtsmen he did not reach his destination and a manilla stern bearing and inspection of bottom was satisfactory".

So --the club owned a good piece of waterfront property and had driven piling and started on the floats. Of course, there was no clubhouse --as a matter of fact, there was very little room to park automobiles because of the huge rocks and ditches allover the place. However, somebody got the idea of changing the incorporation over to a stock company so that shares in the club could be issued. They are still out. But. this was not successful so the horns were pulled back in.

Our resourceful fathers obtained the gangway from the unused Gorst Airlines float for $10.00. This was the first airplane service that Bremerton had to offer. Of course it was a comedown for the old gangway to have to be tramped on by ugly old yachtsmen but, several of the fellows have felt pretty high as they tripped merrily down this ramp.

On December 28, 1936, the B.Y.C. joined the American Power Boat Association in order to have a more active part in the say-so of the Nanaimo Race.

Commodore Hillbery was installed in office on January 5, 1937. He immediately appointed the following staff: Fleet Captain, Gordon Palmer; Fleet Surgeon, Ray Schutt; Regatta Committee, Harry Pritchard; Membership, Earl Moriarity; Entertainment, Floyd Phillips; Building Committee, George Braendlein; House Committee, Clarence Adams; Publicity. Freidman; Annual, Gib Palmer.

From this time forward the B.Y.C. made great efforts to obtain a clubhouse. We note that the club considered buying the old Seattle Yacht Club clubhouse and actually put in a bid on this property but, it was unsuccessful.

In order to obtain more funds the club opened the membership for $1 initiation fee for 60 days. This was extended over a much longer period than this, eventually. A sizeable amount of money was taken in to the club coffers through this method.

We see that the club politicians were still angling for a liquor permit. It is interesting to note that the club had been trying to get the City Commissioners to install a municipal float ever since the club was founded. These efforts were fruitless. However, on June 28th, 193], a report was made to the membership that the city might do this if the Bremerton Yacht Club would assume all liability and insure the float.

Here are the politicians again: The B.Y.C. formally passed a motion in July 1937 to hire a Club Steward, namely Harry Magill and lease the Houghton Road House (Shellbac) at Kitsap Lake. Don’t worry tho', fell through.

On September 20, 1937, the B.Y.C. formally started the Junior Club for all kids under 21 years. Captain E. Watkins assumed the sponsorship of the Junior Club and it was very successful until the start of the war.
Elmer Brooks

Nominations again. This time for 1938. The nominations were opened on September 20, 1937, and the election was held October 4th. Elmer Brooks was elected to assume the post of Commodore for the second time, along with Jan VanderStaay as Vice Commodore and Ed Stell as Rear Commodore and Paul A. Sheely as Secretary-Treasurer.

The Building of the Clubhouse (1937)

Things started picking up for the club in the fall of 1937. It might safely be said that this marked the real beginning of the Bremerton Yacht Club. Up to this time the club had just been marking time. But with an actual club site and moorages the members started to roll in and the real B.Y.C. was started.
The clubhouse was finally built under contract in January and February of 1938, under Commodore Brooks. Meetings were practically out of the question during this time as most of the membership turned to and aided the construction in any way that they were able.

The first official meeting in the new clubhouse was held March 7th, 1938. This was quite an event. Everett and Queen City Yacht Clubs sent flowers and everything.

The first social event was a party and dance on March 19th, 1938. From that time forward, several money raising projects were instituted. Parties were given regularly and several outboard motors and boats were raffled. Some kind soul decided that the Secretary had too much to do about this time, consequently, the Treasurer's office was put under a separate head. Just who went in office is unknown.

The Board of Trustees came out with a plan on berth rentals at $2.00 per month. This was adopted by the membership. The Board also presented the House Rules of the Seattle Yacht Club. These were also adopted by the club. During the month of March, a caretaker, (Mr. Gene Woods) was employed by the club. It is recorded that he was $1 a year man.

By the way, Captain Jake Huckins was appointed Fleet Captain for 1938. Some items about the new clubhouse:

As mentioned before, monthly dances were being sponsored by the club as a means of making some pocket money. However, with an admission fee of $.25 per person all it made was some headaches. Captain George Tappe and crew did the interior decorating. The piano cost $450.00, which was too much. It was bought on time payments along with the furniture. The newly organized Skipperettes made the drapes. Captain Crow made and donated the ship's wheels that decorate the light fixtures in the main hall. Commodore Brooks' mother, (Mrs. A. L. Brooks) sewed the canvas for the deck in the dance hall. Mr. George Mueller, the jeweler, donated the electric clock. Captain Hillbery did the expert wiring job.

One idea that did make money for the club was the raffling of boats, complete with outboard motor and trailer. One such raffle with Captain VanderStaay in charge, netted $624.

A grid was installed in the summer of 1938 as well as a flagpole --complete with yard and gaff.

The annual "Shake Down" Cruise was held in '38 with several of the boats cruising down Sound to Fox Island. Memorial Day was on Monday so it made quite a long weekend for the gang. However, the Commodore had elaborate plans for a Memorial Day celebration in connection with the boats so all the gang was requested to be back by 10:00 a.m. on Monday, Memorial Day. It isn't recorded just exactly what the Memorial Day services were, but Commodore Brooks' cruiser was assigned to receive the party and funeral escort from the Spanish-American War Veterans to scatter ashes of a departed comrade of that organization over the water during the ceremonies. In the summer of 1938, the B.Y.C. sponsored the Nanaimo Race for the first time. Things really flew around these diggings for awhile. Radio station KVI of Tacoma broadcast the start of the race and Rear Admiral Fenner acted as official starter aboard a Coast Guard vessel. All B.Y.C. boats moored at the club left their respective berths in order to leave some room for the visitors. Also, a complimentary membership card was presented to every Captain to enter the race. Only two cruisers from Bremerton entered the race: Jack Kuphal and Dr. Ray Schutt being the Skippers.

George Tappe
Another year is behind us and we see that the nominations and election of officers for 1939 is coming along. This time George Tappe was elected Commodore with Jake Huckins as Vice Commodore and Fred Givens as Rear Commodore, Howard Niles as Secretary and Orville Strong, Treasurer. This election was held October 3rd, 1938. Also, on October 31st, the Board was increased to seven members, with the Commodore becoming the odd man. Of course, this required a change in the By-laws --which was done. Also, the meetings were moved up to 7:30 instead of 8:00 p.m.

Commodore Tappe was installed in office by Mr. H. E. Jamieson, who was a newspaper marine editor associated, at that time, with the Seattle Star. We note that Commodore Tappe officially thanked Mr. Paul Rosenbarger for designing the clubhouse.

In the year of 1939, several social and boating events were scheduled, including and interesting April Fools Stag Cruise and the annual Heavy Weather Cruise and Dance on February 25th and 26th.

This year the club also sponsored a very interesting educational program -- with an object. This was to secure the participants a license to enable them to carry passengers for hire --such as charter work, etc. This was probably the only successful educational program that B.Y.C. has ever put across. It is also notable that Captain Gib Palmer got out the annual --as usual. The club was growing fast. There was a waiting list for boats and so it was necessary to construct another wing of floats. The piling was driven for this south wing in May, 1939. Also in May, a successful "Sealed Orders Race" was held, along with a Mystery Cruise.

Ed Werner
In September, the annual Corn Roast was the big event along with the nominations for officers for 1940. The election took place on October 2nd with Ed Werner given the job of Commodore, Fred Givens moving up to Vice Commodore and Tom Lebo as Rear Commodore. Captain W. K. Jones was elected Secretary with Orville Strong retaining the Treasurer's job.

The new berths were constructed by contract in September 1939. In November of this same year Vice Commodore Huckins declared at a meeting that the floats are getting low in the water and that they should be repaired. Those words are still echoing around the club. It's like talking about the weather. Also, it is noted that a committee was appointed by the chair to see about getting a separate building for the caretaker to caretake in. This committee is still functioning and is reporting progress at every meeting. Another weather proposition.

The 1940ies

Commodore Werner was installed in office on the first Monday of 1940. He proceeded to appoint his various committees including Paul Cummings as Fleet Captain, Captain Christensen as Regatta Chairman, and Tom Whiteley as Entertainment Committeeman at large. The first life membership of the B.Y.C. was presented to C. S. Adams on January 29, 1940.

Here's an interesting note --a motion was made, seconded and carried in January 1940 to install a "Go SLOW" sign at the end of the floats for the particular benefit of some certain boat owners. This sign was actually posted , in November 1946. This was one of the fastest actions that the B.Y.C. had ever taken .

Commodore Werner had included the annual Heavy Weather Cruise in his calendar of club events for 1940. We see that Past Commodore Tucker in his new boat the "Nisimaha" walked off with first place in this race followed by Jack Kuphal in his "Aimee K" and George Carter in the "Lady Ruth".

About this time the State of Washington descended on the Bremerton Yacht Club and said quote "Boys, we're sorry, but we are going to build a new highway through here and is it OK with you if we take some of your land for a right-of-way?” Unquote. Well the boys didn't do so badly. They got $400 for the right-of-way and had their parking lot all filled in and graded and so when everything was done the club actually had more and better parking and $400 in the bank. Sea Lawyers, that's what they are.

An accurate indication of the growth of the club can be ascertained by noting the difference in the size of the minutes of the club meetings. For the first 8 years the minutes could almost be written on a postage stamp and by 1940, they ran an average of four typewritten large sheets. On May 6th, 1940, Vice Commodore Fred Givens resigned from his position and Captain C. J. Richie was elected to this post.

During this time, the business meetings of the club were dragging down so an innovation was started which put the business meetings on the 1st and 3rd Mondays with social meetings on the 2nd and 4th Mondays. This program has been followed in a general way ever since.

An article of note appears in the minutes of June, 1940. This was the decision of the B.Y.C. to drop their membership in the American Power Boat Association because of the apparent disinterest of that organization in the Puget Sound Area.

July 1, 1940 --voted to pay caretaker $30 per month.
July 2, 1940 --voted not to pay caretaker.
July 3, 1940 --caretaker quit.
July 4, 1940 --Captain Chuck Shildmeyer acts as temporary caretaker for a period not to exceed three weeks.

The "behind the scenes" deal on the above was that the club had not been paying the caretaker any salary at all. The caretaker had been earning a living by selling gasoline, groceries, and doing odd jobs, such as boat painting, float repair, etc. Possibly he was doing all right at this, but anyway there were slack months and he wanted a retaining fee --so he quit. A Mr. Gonyia from Spokane was the new caretaker as selected by the Board of Trustees. However, Mr. Gonyia didn't have the opportunity to do any caretaking because the club decided to hire Mr. and Mrs. Tom Leach instead. This arrangement had the full approval of the club and at this writing is still in effect although Mr. Leach passed on just a few years later. The Leaches came to work at the club in August 1940.

World War II

Here is a series of pre-war "hysteria":

August 12, Captain VanderStaay resigns from Board, (ill health). September 1940, Secretary Jones resigns and Captain M. S. Ashley is elected to fill the balance of the term. September 23, Clarence Adams resigns from Board.

C.J. Ritchie
October 7th, Nominations for the new officers for ensuing year. The election was held on the 14th of October with C. J. Ritchie being elected Commodore with John Tegstrom and Clyde Hayes in the Flag Officer's seats. Howard Niles was elected Secretary and Ashley took over the Treasury department again. Another series of hysteria epidermitus: October 14th, Treasurer Strong resigns; Captain Ashley, the Secretary, resigns Secretarial job to take over as Treasurer (he was Treasurer-Elect anyway) while Secretary-Elect Niles took over as Secretary.

December 3Oth, Captain Huckins resigns from Board. Past Commodore Brooks again acted as installing officer and presented the oath of office and gavel to the incoming Commodore Ritchie on January 6th, 1941. Now this was the last year before the U.S. went to war. Of course, most of the fellows, in particular those that worked for the Navy, were working every day of every week so of course the cruising was done mostly at the lunch hour. However, several boating events were scheduled, but never-the-less were not well attended.

Probably one of the hardest fought arguments (if it's possible to come to a decision on these closely contested affairs) in the mystery, I mean history, of the Bremerton Yacht Club was whether to have a pay phone in the clubhouse or not. But this is where our old friend Floyd Phillips came to aid of his party and said yes in no uncertain terms and so we have a pay phone. If you happen to remember the white "tool shed" or "dog house" that was located at the "Y" in the old floats --it was put there as a phone booth. Had a phone in it too --with an extension in the club itself. But when the pay phone was installed, the phone was removed from this dog house on the floats.

There was the annual Heavy Weather Cruise this year also. Of course, this was the last year until after the war that this event was scheduled, but Captain Pritchard in the "Comet" walked off with top honors.

On June 16, 1941, Treasurer Ashley resigned and J. G. Stanton took over his job.

We see that there was a fishing derby off Possession Point in the spring of this year. There were four boats entered with 15 passengers. Past Commodore Tucker took top prize with a 12lb. 5oz. fish. Captain Hayes was disqualified for shooting at his fish while it is generally understood that Captain Tucker turned in a sales slip for his.

During these summer months, the attendance at the meetings dropped off considerably --in fact, on August 11th there was no official meeting due to a lack of a quorum.

The annual Corn Roast was held this year on Sunday, September 1st at Fletcher Bay. This was the last official cruise of the B.Y.C. until many years later, due to wartime rationing, etc.

John Tegstrom
Nominations were in order on September 29, 1941 with elections held on October 6th. This time, John Tegstrom went in as Commodore; Clyde Hayes as Vice Commodore; H. D. Thompson as Rear Commodore; Howard Niles as Secretary and T. M. Libby as Treasurer.

Of course, December 7th of this year put a blackout on boating as well as many other things. Many yachtsman secured their craft for the duration and did not use them at all. Others tried to take advantage of the Coast Guard Auxiliary and Reserve to do a little boating in conjunction with regular patrol but, all in all, the next few years were pretty dull.

The next installation of officers was on January 5th, 1942. This is the first record of an actual joint installation of the Skippers and Skipperettes. Mrs. Harry Pritchard acted as installing officer for the ladies and gave the oath of office to Mrs. Bailey, President; Mrs. Tappe, Vice President; Mrs. Hayes, Secretary and Mrs. Karnes, Treasurer. Then Captain Pritchard took over for the Captains and installed the incoming officers for the B.Y.C. with John Tegstrom as Commodore.

Building of the new Highway
Incidentally, the only source of excitement during the black war days was the building of the new super four-lane highway. The club was located close to a rock cliff that was to be blown away by dynamite to make room for the new road. Of course, every time that the road gang wanted to blast they would come over to the club and nail some shiplap over the windows and advise the caretaker that it would be a good idea if the boys would move the boats away because one of the rocks hurled in the air by the blast might ruin somebody's paint job on their deck. (These rocks went all the way to 5 ton). So the caretaker would dash to the pay phone and call everybody that had a telephone so they in turn would dash out to the club and get their boats out in the bay and then sit and wait for the blast.

The only bright spot was the very good fishing that season. Some of the boys did alright, too. The disgusting part of this deal was that there were always those that figured "let Jack do it" -- so some of the fellows would take out as many as three or four other boats besides their own. This was a job.

Effects of the War
With the start of the war, things really started to skid at the old club. Nobody had the time to devote to keeping their boat in condition --much less doing anything constructive around the yacht club. Consequently, the floats and house were left alone and rapidly depreciated. The regular meetings went the same way. There were a number of times the boys just couldn't dig up but barely enough members to make a quorum at their meetings. At the installation on the first Monday of the year, it was voted to make every 3rd Monday a social night -- bring the wife and have a pot-luck dinner followed by cards -- but, in the year of 1942 there were only about 2 or 3 of these "social nights" before they gave up. An indication of the state of the meetings is that the minutes were back to half page again. For instance, the meeting of January 22, 1942 was called to order at 8:30 p.m. by Commodore Tegstrom and was officially adjourned at 8:45 p.m. and 10 minutes of that time was spent arguing about a water bill. So that's the way things went.

All due credit must be given Commodore Tegstrom for his valiant efforts to hold the club together through these trying times. Johnny spent half his waking hours at the club doing this or that little odd job that had to be done. Never has a Commodore of the Bremerton Yacht Club done any better. On February 1st is the first note of the organizing of the boats and members for actual war service, when the Coast Guard suggested that the club join the CGA --(Coast Guard Auxiliary). This was grabbed at like a life ring by a drowning man.

Conditions were not exactly suited to pleasure cruising in those days. There were several reasons for this. One was the necessity of procuring a special license from the Coast Guard before running the boat at all, while others were the black looks from every navy boat while running Sinclair Inlet in front of the Navy Yard, the submarine nets across Rich Passage along with the restricted areas where no boat dare venture, absolutely no night running what-so-ever, and finally, no gas to go anyway. So the Auxiliary looked OK to the poor beat-up yachtsmen.

However, things rolled along pretty much in the same order as always. A party was the big event in the clubhouse on February 21st --even if there couldn't be a Heavy Weather Race. At the meeting of February 23rd the cash balance as shown by the Treasurer's report was $456.21 --and also at this same meeting, and under Good and Welfare, Captain Ed Werner reported that a Junior member (J. F. Geeter) was operating his craft without proper equipment and the Coast Guard gave chase, but lost their quarry due to deep mud.

BYC Outstation at Point Monroe?
On March 23rd, 1942 the B.Y.C. bought 10 lots at Point Monroe on the north tip of Bainbridge Island with the idea of either developing this property at a later date --or merely holding it as an investment. So far, neither idea has panned out and the membership is divided as to the question whether this property is a beautiful yacht haven or an ugly old sand Spit.

The method used in the purchase of the Pt. Monroe property is interesting in-as-much as the club solicited each member for a minimum of $5 to put in the pot towards getting this land. A few members came through with some dough and the property was purchased outright. The contributions toward the purchase were refunded by $10 drawings every meeting night.

On March 28th, a combination Past Commodore’s and 49'er party was given at the club with Rear Commodore H. D. Thompson as Chairman. Captain Thompson reported the party a huge success at the next meeting and turned $13.50 over to the Treasury as profits.

March 30th marked the beginning of the Coast Guard Auxiliary when Ensign Tolloefson of the USCG gave an interesting talk to the members and suggested the forming of the Bremerton unit of the CGA. All in all, 24 Captains with boats signed up right then and there. At the election for a Commander of this unit, Ed Werner was elected to this post. A few months later, because of ill health, Captain Werner was forced to resign. Captain Marx Libby was then elected to this post.

On June 1st, Secretary Niles of the B.Y.C. resigned. Captain Eddy Adams was appointed to the vacancy. On the 15th of the same month, Treasurer Libby resigned. Hank Kuhlman .was elected to fill this vacancy. Also, on the 15th we not that there was a discussion regarding attendance. Secretary Adams suggested that each member be assigned one evening in which to give a 15 minute talk on a subject of his own choosing and was promptly given the assignment for the next meeting. Incidentally, Eddie did give his talk at the next meeting. Covered the field of Astronomy in one 15 minute talk too, but he was the only one to give a talk. It must have been a good idea. About this time, as usual, the By-Laws were gone over. Scrubbed up, dressed in new clothes, read and passed. 195783rd time.

On June 29th, our friend Floyd Phillips rose to his feet and spent 46 minutes extolling the advantages of a marine railway and why didn’t the club have one? Not to be outdone, Rear Commodore H. D. Thompson spent 47 minutes right after Floyd in explaining the super-advantages of a work shop which should be located on the floats. After Thompson finished and before the rest of the bunch could start in on their pet project, Captain Morrissey brought up the subject of float repair. Somehow or another the fellows all lost their stomachs for any more day dreaming. July 20 --Tom Lebo resigns from Board --in service.

August 10 --Secretary Adams resigns. Captain Crow elected to fill unexpired term.

Jittery days, weren't they?

The CGA was going strong about this time, tho'. Their meetings were now held independently of the B.Y.C., although at the clubhouse, which was donated free of charge by the members of the yacht club. The thing that held the CGA together was the chance to sneak in a cruise now and then. The boys that had joined the outfit had painted their boats several different shades of Navy gray, black and blue, painted big official letters on the bow, such as CGA 3224 and went cruising --gas, uniforms, insurance, etc., all on Uncle. "Twas fun, tho’.

on August 31st, the club voted to pay the caretaker a nominal salary of $35 per month. Thus for the first time, the caretaker was given a retaining fee for services. Up to this time the caretaker had made a living by the sale of gas, groceries, services, etc.

Clyde E. Hayes
Nomination time again, followed by the annual election of officers on October 5th, 1942. Clyde Hayes moved up to Commodore along with H. D. Thompson as Vice and Simon Hess as Rear. Carl Crow was re-elected Secretary and Hank Kahlman, Treasurer.

There were no meetings on the last three weeks of October due to no quorum. So, the boys amended the By-Laws again. After that it only took one flag officer and 6 members to make the necessary quorum and the meetings were to be held on the 1st and 3rd Mondays only. The war didn't stop the annual Christmas dinner. They had one in 1942. It was at the clubhouse on December 17th --had a caterer and charged $1.50 per plate.

The installation for 1943 was another joint affair. Past Commodore Brooks did the job again. Commodore Hayes ignored the war and appointed Captain Eddie Adams as Fleet Captain and L. Tucker as Regatta Chairman and Doc Schutt as Fleet Surgeon. This was the easiest job that these fellows ever had. Reported progress, too.

Hank Kuhlman resigned as Treasurer in February. Tom Whiteley was appointed to the position by Commodore Hayes. An auditing committee was appointed to audit the books with the result that the B.Y.C. spent a delightful winter learning bookkeeping the hard way as presented by the Chairman of the Audit Committee, W. G. P. Allen. Captain Allen completely renovated the old method of bookkeeping and took the club ahead one more stride by installing an entirely new system, which was a boon for the Treasurers.

Note from April 18, 1943 --Captain Ray Hart, Jr. offers to paint the gangway red. By so doing he opened up another field of thought among club membership. It seems as tho' everyone has their own favorite color. Much argument -- (it was painted red because the painter said so). Not to be outdone, Captain Hank Kuhlman offered to repair the flagpole in his spare moments. The trouble was that Hank couldn't ever locate those spare moments.

The clubhouse was situated on piling which was deteriorating rapidly due to lack of preservative in the salt water. Thus it became necessary to alter this type of construction and put in something more permanent. So in September of 1943, a contract was let to a local cement contractor to install full concrete piling. This job, which cost a little better than a thousand dollars, saved the clubhouse from toppling over into the bay.

About this time we see that members are joining the ranks thick and fast due, to the most part, to the large number of war workers flocking to this area.
H.D. Thompson
Also, the annual nominations and election season is upon us again and the results of the elections held on November 1, 1943 show the following officers for 1944: Commodore, H. D. Thompson; Vice Commodore, Ray Hart. Jr.; Rear Commodore, H. W. Kuhlman; Secretary, A. A. Michaelson; Treasurer, Tom Whiteley. The annual Christmas dinner was again a feature of the holiday season.

Note: December 2O. 1943 --Carl Crow resigns from the Board of Trustees. Past Commodore George Tappe acted as the installing officer on January 3, 1944. Commodore Thompson knew that there was no use in appointing a group of standing committees or in presenting a club calendar --so he didn't. Socially, this was a dead year. However. some events were shaping up so as to make this a very interesting year in many other respects.

On February 1th. 1944 the first record is made of the possibility of the new railroad cutting through the club property. The membership, naturally, was divided as to whether the rails would cut right through the clubhouse or go across the hill, but anyway, it was talked about. And it had a good right to be. It certainly was the main topic of conversation around the diggings for some time.

Note: March 6. 1944 --Arthur M. Mosher resigns from Board.


Part II

Last updated: 4 February 2004

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