Bremerton yacht club
plus burgee


Part II: 1946 - 1970

The Discovery of Phinney Bay

More about this railroad deal: The politicians in power felt that it was a godsend to the B.Y.C. that the railroad was coming through. The club site was not the most desirable spot in the world for a yacht club. It was certainly wide open to the exposure of the weather --especially in a north wind of any velocity. Also, the club needed to expand their already overtaxed facilities, but there was no way to do so at this location. In view of these facts, Commodore Thompson and crew were on the lookout for any desirable property that might be available for purchase. Several locations (scattered from Silverdale to- Brownsville) were carefully checked over, but in reality there was only one really desirable parcel of land -- in Phinney Bay. Practically every foot of Phinney Bay was carefully scanned with prospect of purchase. On a Saturday, Commodore Thompson received information of the availability of the present location from the owner, Mrs. Alice Fenton. On Sunday, Commodore Thompson and Vice Commodore Hart cruised down to this location and came back with full information, including soundings, etc. On the next night, Monday, (as taken from the minutes), Vice Commodore Hart moved that the club go on record as authorizing the Commodore to make a binding contract for option on the Phinney Bay property or to make a down payment or pay earnest money on the property. This was seconded by Past Commodore Tucker and was officially carried by the voting membership.

From here on the argument really started. It seems that a few of the members felt left out of the picture because they had not been notified of the pending purchase. This was kicked around a bit. Then there were those that definitely did not want to move at all. They preferred to stay right there and let the railroad come -- so what. However, all these petty quibbles were finally ironed out to everybody's satisfaction.

Incidentally, the club purchased a total of 475 feet of waterfront for $4,500 which was a bargain in anybody's language. Captains Werner and J. E. Adams were appointed to go to Olympia and look into the purchase of the tide lands (their agreement with Mrs. Fenton included the tide lands, which we were to purchase -- the amount paid to be deducted from the purchase price). Also, the seller was to put in the road leading to the property.

Notice to Vacate
The B.Y.C. received the official notice to vacate on July 4, 1944 -- and it was a 30 day notice. So things whizzed. The Board of Trustees took the burden of the moving project upon its shoulders and (had) the lot leveled off for parking. The 30 days passed and still no sign of a railroad at the old property, so the fellows took their time in moving. However, it is noticed that it was voted to locate a contractor to move the clubhouse as soon as possible.

The boys decided to have a Corn Roast this year as there had been no affair of this sort in the past 2 or 3 years. The natural place for such an event was the new club site at Phinney Bay. Of course, there was nothing there at that date (Sunday, September 3rd), but everybody looked around and generally enjoyed themselves. When they got tired of looking they could all gather and discuss the astronomical figures that the railroad was going to give them in cash for forcing them to vacate from Sinclair Inlet. Never a dull moment.

Here is a roster of the boats and Captains attending this Corn Roast: Commodore H. D. Thompson, Jimbo; Vice Commodore Ray Hart,' Donolie; Rear Commodore Hank Kuhlman, Blanche D.; R. L. Stevenson, Hypathia; Floyd Smith, Stubby; Dr. Ebling, Barbud; Bullard, Ricky Too; Libby, Tyng; McDonald, Opal; Mosher, Sapr; Chandler, Ho-Hum; Monroe, Sea Gal; T. Phillips, Sharon R; Sowers, 30G41; Rasmussen, Wing-Ding; Dr. Jacobsen, Jeep; Parker, Hama; Chrey, Ellen G; Smith, My Girl.

Things moved rapidly along in the fall months. A member (an old-timer) lent the club $10,000 at no interest to allow the move. This member was Dr. Ray Schutt. The club certainly owes Dr. Schutt a great deal for his consideration. We note that the retired Past Commodores VanderStaay, Floyd Phillips and Ed Werner were given life memberships in September, 1944.

Water was piped in to the new club site in September 1944. This was done by contract to a local firm. Cost plenty, too.

Nominations and election time again. On November 6th, 1944, at the annual election of officers for the ensuing year, Ray Hart, Jr. was elected to head the club with Hank Kuhlman as Vice and R. L. Stevenson as Rear. Clarence Lund was elected Secretary and Tom Whiteley re-elected Treasurer.

On November 6th, 1944, the War Department officially approved the plan presented for driving pile at the new club site.

At the meeting on November 20th, Captain Lund resigned as Secretary-Elect and Captain Chandler was elected instead. Captain Chandler also finished out the last three weeks of Captain Michaelsen's term as Secretary.

Moving the Clubhouse
The clubhouse was moved by contract in November, 1944.
The caretaker, Mrs. Leach, was given a leave of absence during this time. Captain Vextor (retired) volunteered to stay with the house during the caretaker's absence. The meeting of November 20, 1944 was held at the City Hall. The reason for this was that the clubhouse was on a 45 degree angle --half on the bank and half on the mover's barge. However, the meeting of December 4th, 1944, was held in the B.Y.C. clubhouse at the new property.

Commodore-Elect Hart and his brother elect officers volunteered to put on the annual Christmas dinner this year. A marvelous turkey dinner was cooked and served by the Skipperettes at the I.O.O.F. Hall in Charleston. After the meal entertainment was afforded --magician, singer, musician, etc. About 120 people were served and declared it to be the best ever. That covers a lot of territory.

Here is the picture of the conditions as the night of January 8th(?), 1945 rolled around and the Captains and Skipperettes came to the new club for the joint installation.

Of course, the war was still going strong, materials were hard to get and everybody was working every day in the Navy Yard. This is stated because it gives the reader an idea of the conditions that beset the members at that time. The road was in to the club property -- but what a road! No gravel, no oil, no nuthin'. That was also the situation on the parking lot. Just a lot of mud. No outside lights of any sort -- although the club was lighted inside. The lot contained several dozen good sized stumps and logs. Of course, there were no floats or boats, as they were still located at the old club site. No flagpole. While the porch had been added to the house, it was not sealed in and there were no steps to get up on the porch anyway. You walked the plank, and you had better make it the first time, brother, or you'd fall in the big "moat" that completely surrounded the foundation of the house and was filled with nice muddy water. While the basement was there it didn't mean anything because there was no way of entering anyway. Mrs. Leach returned to this sorry mess in time for the installation on January 8th. She almost caught the next bus back to Snohomish. These facts give an accurate picture, but it probably wasn't any worse than the old Charleston Dock and "Dog Pound" that the city fathers so kindly lent to our founders who aren't in Heaven.

A goodly crowd was attracted to the installation on this night. An article of note is that Mrs. Ray Hart was installed as president of the Skipperettes at the same time that her husband took office as Commodore. This was the first time that this had ever happened. Past Commodore Tegstrom was the installing officer for the Skippers. After being installed, Commodore Hart immediately launched into a lengthy prepared speech outlining an ambitious calendar of boating and social events for the year. He must have forgotten about the war too. Anyway, it was refreshing to think about, as no events of this sort had been held for so long that the Skippers had forgotten about them. The calendar called for a House-Warming Party in January and the resumption of such well known annual events as the Heavy Weather Cruise, Commodore's Ball, etc. The Commodore then appointed his standing committees. It certainly wasn1t his fault if any member was left off of a committee, because he had plenty of them.

Among the various appointees were the following: Fleet Captain, Art Mosher; Regatta Committee, Marx Libby; Fleet Surgeon, Dr. Ray Schutt; Steward, Art Shelly; Entertainment, Eddie Adams; Publicity, Floyd Phillips; Membership, R. L. Stevenson; Newspaper Editor, Hank Kuhlman; House, L. A. Tucker; Sea Scouts, L. Morris.

Captain Eddie Adams didn‘t like the obligation that was read to each new member and to which each new member subscribed and signed his name. So he wrote out a new one which explained in a little more detail just what the Bremerton Yacht Club expected of each member. This obligation was read for the first time by Commodore Hart on January 8th(?), to R. S. Hammond, a new member.

We note that the Commodore issued honorary memberships to several prominent citizens in and about Bremerton and also presented Past Commodore H. D. Thompson a plaque for being a very valuable man in the past year.

The Birth of the "Towline"
The newspaper was a new innovation. Commodore Hart had apparently decided that a monthly report covering the business transactions, gossip, etc., mailed out to the entire membership each month was much more vital than the standard annual -- so the newspaper was born. Vice Commodore Kuhlman was appointed the first editor. This newspaper was run off on the mimeograph for this entire year. It was a big job, but was well worth the effort expended. Hank Kuhlman had an awful time figuring out a name for the new paper, but he decided to call it the "Towline" -- a name which has stuck ever since.

Also, the Club Steward, Captain Shelly, must have been on his toes. He put out a meal at every meeting; coffee, donuts, ice cream, oyster stew, chili, etc. This one thing possibly more than anything else built up the attendance at every meeting. One thing is certain, the attendance immediately picked up and huge crowds thronged towards the clubhouse on meeting nights. Work parties were thick and fast around the club in those days. Every Sunday the gang would get down bright and early -- pullout the stumps and burn them, etc. After work, in the early evening, the wives would bring food and drink and the whole gang would sit down to a sumptuous pot-luck.

The pile for the dock and floats was driven in January, 1945. From then on there was never a dull moment. The dock was built entirely by the membership on Sundays. Road signs, the mail box and everything else necessary was hurriedly installed. We also note that the club donated an honorary membership (life) to Captain Vextor for his duties in connection with staying with the house while it was being moved.

Moving of the Floats to Phinney Bay
February 11, 1945, was a big day in the life of the B.Y.C. In that one day the floats were moved away from the old location and put in place at Phinney Bay. What a job that was! A big gang worked most of the night before getting the piling sawed down, the water pipes broken and the lights disconnected. On the next morning every boat in the club started the long tow. This was a wonderful success. That evening everything was in place at the new site. On February 19th, the club asked for more money from the members themselves in the way of loans without interest so that the building program could continue unhindered.

The annual Heavy Weather Cruise was renewed in 1945 for the first time in several years. Of course, gasoline was still rationed, but a short race from the B.Y.C. to Brownsville and return was scheduled. Thirteen boats entered and finished this race with great enthusiasm. Fleet Captain Mosher walked off with this one followed by Vice Commodore Kuhlman and Captain Klieves. This event marked the renewal of boating events by the B.Y.C. and although it could - not be an interclub event as of yore, due to wartime restrictions, the spirit was certainly in the right place.

In March of 1945, Commodore Hart took an extended tour of the South Pacific Army and Navy bases through the courtesy of USO-Camp Shows. That left everything in the lap of the Vice Commodore, Hank Kuhlman. Here is the picture: The basement steps were installed, the dock about half completed, the floats in place with old ricketty approach floats leading to shore, a very hay-wire method of electricity distribution to floats, no water, etc. Not exactly a rosy picture. Improvements had been started --but not completed by a long shot.

With Vice Commodore Kuhlman at the head of the class, he immediately appointed our friend Floyd Phillips to take over the job as editor.

We see that in the spring of 1945 the initiation fees were raised to $25 and reinstatement set at $10. A Shake-Down Cruise (overnight) was held at Fletcher Bay in May. On May 21st, the club accepted Commodore Hart's resignation and declared him to be a past Commodore. We note that Captain Tegstrom resigned from the Board about this time and Captain Klieves was appointed to fill the vacancy.

Work parties were gradually fading out --due possibly to warmer weather coming on. All this time rumors as to the settlement from the railroad for the old property kept cropping up.

On July 28th, a special election was held for the purpose of replacing Hart who was still away. The results were as follows: Commodore, Kuhlman; Vice Commodore Stevenson; Rear Commodore, Klieves. Captains Milt Benson and Art Skelly were elected to the Board.

P/C Hart
In the minutes of the meeting on September 17th, we note that Past Commodore Hart was back from his trip and that the nominations for officers for 1946 were opened. The elections were held on October 1st and again Hart was elected to the post of Commodore, followed by R. L. Stevenson and C. L. Klieves respectively. Captain M. L. Benson went in as Secretary and Tom Whiteley as Treasurer. New Board members were H. F. Parker and H. Huston. I Things in general rolled along pretty well in the fall of 1945. The dock was finally completed enough to use -- rails and a coat of paint included. The gangway and access floats were installed. Temporary gas and water lines and electricity systems were installed and working. A big improvement in the "set up" of the club was the concession committee. This committee took over the small stores department and put in a full stock of concession items including gas and oil. This committee, under Captain Milt Benson, built the glassed in porch around the front of the clubhouse.

A Christmas party was held as per usual. This time, due to limited space in the clubhouse, it was held at Haddon Hall in Westpark. Huge success, too. Eats, entertainment and dancing.

The installation of officers for 1946 took place at the clubhouse on January 7th, 1946 and was probably the most elaborate ceremony of its sort ever held around the old club. A huge crowd gathered to see the double installation of the Skippers and Skipperettes. The President of the Skipperettes appointed Mrs. Ida Bailey to be installing officer for the ladies. She then installed Mrs. George Braendlein as President, Gladys Stevenson as Vice-President, Dorothy Klieves as Secretary and Mrs. Art Mosher as Treasurer.

President Braendlein then made a pleasing speech and turned the chair back to the Skippers. Commodore Kuhlman made a short and to the point address and then discharged his committees with thanks and turned the chair over to Past Commodore H. D. Thompson, who acted as installing officer for the B.Y.C. This incidentally, marked the first time in the club history that the members of the Board of Trustees partook of the installation ceremonies. Captains Parker and Huston were installed as new Board members.

After the installation ceremonies were completed, the new Commodore Hart again (for the second straight year) outlined a very comprehensive program for the year of 1946. There were boating events galore, social events that were to make the clubhouse bulge at the seams, and construction plans that were to take the pocket book down a few notches.

Commodore Hart then appointed his various standing committees for the year, including Captain Eddie Adams as Fleet Captain, Captain Howard Huston as Regatta Committee Chairman, Dr. Ray Schutt as Fleet Surgeon, Dr. R. R. Crees as Club Steward, Captain Art Shelly as head of the Concession Committee, Captain Earl Gullickson (a newcomer) as Editor of the Towline assisted by Captain Stuart Hammond as Advertising Manager, the Rear Commodore C. L. Klieves as Membership Committee, the Vice Commodore R. L. Stevenson in charge of a Comprehensive Boating and Educational Program, Captain Harry Parker as head of the important Float Committee, the Junior Past Commodore H. W. Kuhlman in charge of Good and Welfare, Captain L. Morris of the Sea-Scouts, Secretary Milt Benson head of a Planning Committee (repairs and new construction) and a host of minor appointments.

The above list of appointments is notable in one thing more than any other -- and that is the great degree of success with which most of them operated their respective offices in 1946. More about that later.

The rest of the installation was spent in settling some important business, namely paying the bills and going through the huge list of new applications for membership. Also, as a by-play of the evening, the very honorable King Neptune paid his first annual visit to the club and enrolled several new "Hell-Divers" in his unique organization.

In proceeding through the year, we note a "Sealed Orders" Race on January 27th, won by the Vice Commodore Stevenson in his boat the "Zephyr". Also, about this time, the Past Commodore's Club presented the B.Y.C. with a perpetual trophy. This is the winner's cup for a regular Past Commodore's cup Race to be held every year.

Incidentally, the Honorary members of the B.Y.C. for 1946 were as follows: Mayor Hum Kean, Commandant of the Naval Base Rear Admiral Christie, County Commissioner Pruitt, Attorneys Marion Garland Sr. and Jr., and Sheriff Vetters. The first of the annual social events, a Hard-Times Dance was held on January 26th at the clubhouse.

The B-29 Tanks and the Workparty to End all Work Parties

Let us pause for a few moments and talk about the famous "B-29" tanks. Here is the history as far as this author knows: In October of 1945, Captain Lyle Chandler approached Commodore-Elect Hart and mentioned that he knew a fellow that had several war-surplus rubber gasoline tanks from the famous "8-29".. .- These tanks were for sale and Captain Chandler wondered if possibly some of these tanks couldn't be used in the place of logs for float construction. Commodore Hart didn't know whether this would work or not, but he was willing to find out. So, the Commodore ordered one tank delivered to the yacht club from Seattle where the tanks were stored. This one tank came by Auto Freight at a cost of $7.72. The cost of shipment and the guess-work in regards to the possibilities of use just about wound up the deal right then and there. As a matter of fact, the deal was washed up. No one was in the least bit interested. The tank was uncrated -- sealed up and launched. The net gain of Phinney Bay -- quite by accident.

Captain Chandler approached Commodore Hart in the closing week of December, 1945 and mentioned that the party that had these tanks for sale would definitely have to know whether the club was going to buy these tanks --or not -- by the 1Oth of January. However, it appeared that the club was not in the market -- just no interest.

At the request of the Commodore, Captain Mark Libby (the club draftsman) sketched up a drawing using these tanks in the place of logs. Captain Libby was of the opinion that berths could be put in for $79 instead of the $140 per berth that the logs would cost. With that good news, the fellows went to work. It took a lot of super salesmanship, but at the first meeting in January the Commodore laid the business on the floor and by unanimous ballot the membership decided to buy 246 tanks. This was about 100 more tanks than the overall plan of construction called for, but it was decided to buy the whole lot in order to sell the rest to prospective buyers at some sort of profit!!!!! These tanks cost $6 each.

The Tanks that got away
At the Commodore’s request, the seller of the tanks had them moved from the warehouse where they were stored, to a dock on the waterway of the Duwamish River in Seattle. This cost about $200, but it had to be done. In late January of 1946 the work parties went to work on a job that just about killed all work parties. About 50 members on about 15 boats went to Seattle to bring the tanks back. Some went on Saturday and others on Sunday. What a job!!! When the fellows got there they saw that the tanks were piled about 10 high (all in crates) and it looked like they extended for acres and acres. To add to this, it was a very cold January day and it was very icy and slippery. But were the fellows deterred? Definitely not. However, after a day and a half of backbreaking work uncrating, plugging, and launching, the boys only had 76 tanks in the water. The main trouble was that a number of tanks had lost their plugs in the process of launching -- so they "promptly sank. Probably the most discouraging thing was taking the empty crates and piling them to one side. It took at least two men to handle one side of a crate and this was a job.

At last the tanks (except for a couple that sank in deep water) were assembled and parceled out to the various boats ready for the long tow home. Away went the boats. But the worst is yet to come. It appears that some of the fellows had trouble. Anyway, by the time that Commodore Hart was underway (he waited until the rest were gone) he found tanks all over the bay.

Captain Clifford on the "Marshall I" and Captain Adams on the "Daltonia" were in the waterway trying to rescue some of the critters and this editor is very sorry to say that they were thinking bad thoughts and were actually putting some to words. It seems that the tanks would get a little water in them and then wouldn't tow worth two cents. Approximately a dozen tanks were lost in the, towing process, but 4 were recovered in the next week so that (by actual count) only 8 were lost (counting the ones that had sunk at the waterway).

The next Sunday, these tanks were hauled out on the beach by use of block and tackle and truck and back muscles. Everybody breathed a easier except the Commodore. How was he to get the rest of the tanks from Seattle? More work parties were out of the question. However, this was solved by the simple process of hiring it to be done. A barge was rented from the Foss Company in Seattle. The waterway and a stevedore company loaded the tanks on the barge. Fine and dandy. But, then the tug went away intending to pick the tanks up the next day. The barge settled on some very sharp rocks on the bottom when the tide went out --and stove in the planking on the barge. That was a fine pickle. But, the Foss Company sent a crew manned with pumps, etc. to float the barge and the crew managed to get the barge on a grid where the damage was repaired. The tug then brought the barge to Bremerton and laid it against the dock at the yacht club and said "Get it unloaded boys, because I'll be back after the empty barge in the morning". So -- about 75 members got to work that night. It was dark, cold and raining, but off came the tanks --SLAM BANG. There were tanks allover Phinney Bay. By mid-night the tanks were all on the beach (strung as far as the eye could see) and tied up with clothes line so that they couldn't possibly get away. All due credit must be given the boys for this nights work -- the job had to be done and it was. One man in particular deserves a word of praise, that is Past Commodore H. D. Thompson who supervised the work that night -- also his straw boss Captain George Becker.

Commodore Hart was sick that night, (lucky stiff) so he didn't do much work, however, he got up at daylight and looked out on Phinney Bay -- and LO and BEHOLD!! When the tanks were not being towed they floated beautifully!! They didn't take on a drop of water. They were natural wanderlusts and just loved to head out to sea. There were tanks all over the bay and down the Narrows to Vashon Island and up the Narrows to Silverdale. Tanks everywhere. I'll bet that there were at least a hundred trips made out in the next few months to rescue tanks. Finally they were all corralled in the lagoon in back of the club and logs were strung across the lagoon so that the tanks would stay PUT. But not these tanks. They delighted in jumping the logs or swimming under water under the logs and going exploring again. At this time the editor of this history would like to officially extend his sympathies to the crew of the "B-29" for having to use them, and I might add that I don't blame the government for disposing of them as soon as possible after the war.

The Sale of the Surplus Tanks
The surplus tanks that the club purchased were soon sold. The Commodore would lay and wait for unsuspecting and unaware prospects and then he would pounce on them and sell them tanks at $22.50 each. In fact he sold enough tanks to pay for the entire original cost of the entire lot plus the stevedoring, barging and towing. Not too bad, was it?

These tanks were finally put in use on the new floats. They made beautiful floats and everything appears rosy at this writing.

The Towline

Now for a word about the B.Y.C. official publication "The Towline". The editor for 1946 was Captain Earl Gullickson. It seems that Captain Gullickson was of the opinion that the paper could be printed commercially and paid for with a little advertising. This was done on the first issue in January and, carried throughout 1946. This paper is the pride of the club and was certainly a good source of conveying club news, etc. to the members. It kept every member up on the latest doings of the club and consequently kept the interest high in the club. A great improvement over the old annual.

The new Concessions Committee under Captain Art Shelly really set up a business in 1946. Throughout the year the concessions built up a real store of goods and through the profits, thereof, installed the fine furnace in the basement. Captain Shelly put in the furnace at the beginning of 1946 and paid for it himself and then succeeded in making a success out of the concession so that he was able to refund the entire payment of the furnace by October.

The Planning Commission under Captain Milt Benson did the overall planning for new construction, maintenance, etc., throughout the year. This proved very successful, inasmuch as this committee laid out a program at the beginning of the year that seemed impossible at the time and then proceeded to see that everything was done and actually exceeded the original plans and almost doubled the accomplishments!

Education for Skippers & Skipperettes
The Educational Program under Vice Commodore Stevenson was fairly successful. A new system was tried out. This was to use the talent within the club for teaching purposes instead of a professional instructor. The people (Captains and Skipperettes) gathered around tables and learned by "round table" discussion rather than by lecture. All features of boat handling and simple navigation were discussed. This program carried through the odd Monday nights throughout the winter and spring. They were all well attended, so some good must have been done.

The calendar of social events for the year was followed faithfully. Every event that the Commodore had laid out at the beginning of the year was followed to the letter. This calendar called for a race and a dance every month except in the summer season, and it certainly is to the credit of all concerned that every one of these events was a huge success. Besides this, there were a number of events through the year that were added to the calendar, such as a cruise taking about 60 convalescents from the Naval Hospital for a cruise and a picnic lunch and a Navy Day Dress Parade, a Skipperettes Tolo dance, etc.

Work parties were held in the off months of the year until November -- when Commodore Hart called them off. A great deal was accomplished in this time. The gasoline distribution system was put in permanently as was the water and lighting systems. The new floats were constructed, some by work parties and some by contract. These and hundreds of other odd jobs were done throughout the year -- by the members.

Noted in the minutes of January (the second meeting of the year) is a change in the order of business at the meetings. This was inaugurated by Commodore Hart by vote of the members.

No settlement from the Government for the old club site yet -- as a matter of fact, this settlement finally came through in June -- two years after the order to vacate the old clubhouse. More later.

On January 21, 1946 the Vice Commodore got the floor at the regular meeting and suggested a "Manual" to cover all details of the club, including By-laws, Float Rules, House Rules, History, etc. Every meeting thereafter throughout the year of 1946, the Vice Commodore told of his progress with the Manual, but the end of the year rolled around with still no sign of it. The Vice Commodore did re-write all the By-laws again, the.. 925503638th time.

Heavy Weather 1946
On Washington's birthday the B.Y.C. played hosts to every yacht club on the Sound on a Heavy Weather Cruise and Dance, etc. The boys worked day and night on the clubhouse -- painting the porch -- sealing the porch in -- float repair -- cleaning the yard, and so forth in anticipation of this event. Their efforts were not in vain. About 40 visiting yachts and 250 visitors came to see the "big doins". These boats were strung out at the end of the floats and old "Phinney Bay" bulged a little, but everybody had a wonderful time at the buffet dinner on Friday night, the Past Commodore’s Ball on Saturday night after the Heavy Weather Cruise and the free breakfast served by the men and ladies to all who came on Sunday morning. The winner of the race was Dr. E. Guyer of the Queen City Club -- he was promptly made an honorary member for the year.

A few new innovations in the year were the telephone booth was moved to the porch with a separate extension for the caretaker in her quarters; the addressograph which was set up to take care of the huge amount of mail sent to the members in the course of the year; the guest book which each member and guest signs at the meetings and special events; changing the name of the Jackpot to "Treasure Chest" -- more nautical; the landscaping of the back of the clubhouse by the Skipperettes; the new cement sidewalks put in by the members; the parking lights and house lights and float lights etc., a maintenance man to tend the club; purchase of the tide lands in the lagoon. Captain Adams at the second meeting in January said that due to the pressure of other business he didn't want to be Fleet Captain -- so Commodore Hart appointed the Past Commodore Thompson who was a perfect Fleet Captain throughout the year.

One thing to mention in this year was the "song-fests" that the membership had. After potlucks, meetings, educational programs, and on every occasion the gang would get out the song sheets printed up by Rear Commodore Klieves and start to sing under the direction of Captain Crees and the accompaniment of the Commodore.

In fact "lesh shing" was the password to a lot of fun. A Saint Patrick's Ball was held in March and marked another very nice social event. The Past Commodore's Cup Race -- the first of an annual event was run in March, 1946. The worst part of it all was that a Past Commodore won it, Past Commodore Thompson, the Fleet Captain.

A few extra curricular events at the meetings included motion pictures by anybody that had them. Very interesting pictures of China were shown, as well as vacation trips to the San Juans and Canada.

Thompson Trophy
Past Commodore Thompson (probably in repentance for winning the Past Commodore’s Cup) presented the club with a beautiful trophy which is to be a perpetual trophy for a race to be run every June. Captain Milt Benson, of the Planning Commission, won this one as a result of his careful planning on navigational matters as well as yacht club business. Captain Benson skippered the "Klatawa".

Captain Huston, the Regatta Chairman, moved away in the middle of the year, so Captain Owen Hickox took over his job just in time to plan a "Bang and Go Back Race" won by Captain Glen Katzenberger.

A Rear Commodore's Ball was held in April in honor of Rear Commodore Klieves. In May of 1946 Captain Whiteley the long time Treasurer of the club resigned his position as he moved away. At the election held in mid-year, Paul Engel, Jr. was elected to the vacant post. Captain Huston also resigned from the board as he was away, and Captain Benson also resigned due to the By-laws article stating that only one elective position can be held by one man.

Captains Crees and Adams were elected to these Board of Trustees vacancies. A Memorial Day Ball was held in May -- men dressed as ladies? -- and girls dressed as men! Some fun. Also, the Memorial Day Cruise to Port Madison, and the Skipperettes Tolo Dance in May.

Summer months, always vacant as far as club events are concerned, were spent with the Nanaimo Race (12 Bremerton boats raced) and cruises to out of the way ports in the Sound and northward,

Railroad Settlement! Hurrah!!! The settlement from the railroad finally came through on June 17th, 1946 -- $13,250 too. Paid off the note that Dr. Schutt held so patiently all this time and presented him with a life Membership -- he earned it and deserved it.

The Float Rules were revised in June and the berth rent was raised in tune with the times on July 1st, 1946. Garbage service and fire fighting equipment was purchased.

In June, the Queen City Club invited the B.Y.C. to Seattle for a shin-dig. Several boats and people went over for a dance and race. Captain Art Mosher of the B.Y.C. won the race, and a very good time was had by all. A labor Day Cruise by 17 of the B.Y.C. boats to Burton in Quartermaster Harbor was a feature of the summer cruising.

The annual Corn Roast was held in September at the club property at Port Madison.

The Vice Commodore's Ball opened up the fall season of social events at the club. This was in honor of Vice Commodore Stevenson.

A 49er party was the feature of October. Also, a B.Y.C. fishing derby.

R.L. Stevenson
Nominations for officers for 1947 came up on October 7th with the election on November 4th. R.L. Stevenson went in as Commodore with Art Mosher as Vice and Marx Libby as Rear. Earl Gullickson took over as Secretary and Curly Klieves as Treasurer. Three new Board members were Jim Jenson, Guy Williams and Ken Mathews.

The annual Christmas party was held at the American legion Hall on December 18th. The Commodore's Ball on November 23rd. In November and December, Commodore Hart filled out the odd Monday nights by having general social evenings. Very successful.

On December 28th and 29th the Tacoma Yacht Club invited the club to a dance and breakfast and a race at their club. 16 boats and crews took advantage of the fun. Didn't win the race though. Also in December, the club took their boats out to meet the U.S.S. BREMERTON on her maiden trip to Puget Sound. This about winds up 1946.

Ion January 6, 1947 Commodore Hart presented the club with a trophy to be used in the "Commodore's Cup" Race a new racing event to be inaugurated in 1947 in the spring months. This trophy will become the permanent possession of anyone winning it for three successive years.

Mrs. Gladys Stevenson took office as President for the Skipperettes with Eva Katzenberger as Vice President, Eleanor Gullickson as Secretary and Magdelena Mosher as Treasurer. The new officers were installed by Past President Reve Hart.

A sidelight of the evening was the second annual visit of King Neptune who gave the "works" to several Hell-Divers.

-- ooOOoo -—

Editor's Note: The above is a true and accurate history of the Bremerton Yacht Club from the time of it's inception in 1929 to January 6th, 1947. The various committees and calendar of events for 1947 were deleted until the year is over and when this history may again be brought up to date. All comments, facts and figures contained herein are taken from the minutes of the club proceedings and are not taken from "memory" and as such it may be treated as being as accurate as possible.
R. J. HART, JR. 1/10/47
1/27/86 N. R. SMITH

1947 - 1956

The history from January 1947 to January 1956 is taken almost entirely from a scrap book of clippings, as the minutes of the meetings are "temporarily" misplaced.

The first item of interest is the report of the Christmas party and the prices in effect at that time. The record shows 91 people served at a total cost of - $135.43. Cooks- $30.00, Food -$88.54, Total receipts $136.50, Profit - $1.07. Next item "Inaugural Ball" January 1952. orchestra $50.00, Total cost including midnight lunch -$81.56. Receipts- $76.00, Deficit -$5.56. This officially honored Sam Kahn.

In February there were 10 clubs, (2 Canadian and 8 Puget Sound) invited to the Heavy Weather Race.
Samuel Kahn
Commodore Kahn presented the trophy to Captain Knowles of Seattle Yacht Club as the winner, among 83 entries. Next came the Tacoma Daffodil Festival in which B.Y.C. took top honors among the visiting boats with Howard Huston's "Hella Bella". (Now named the "Venture" owned by Captain Archie Merrifield). The "Donolie", owned by Ray Hart was our Christmas ship.
Harry Gundlach
Captain Harry Gundlach became Commodore and immediately took over direction and supervision of a $15,000.00 improvement to the moorage facilities previously budgeted by vote of the membership. A very fine job he did, too, as a lot of that job is still sound and serving today.

In the Commodore's Cup Race, Captain Ted Phillips turned in the winning score of .8000. The Heavy Weather Race was won by Mose Vining of Seattle Yacht Club with an error of .837 in a field of 88 entries. Ray Hart's "Donolie" was entered in the Tacoma Daffodil Parade.
H.B. Garrett

H.B. Garrett served as Commodore. This year the Heavy Weather Race was won by Bert Marsden of Queen City Yacht Club with his "Merrily III", error .5237. This was the race which fooled most of the wise old heads of racing. All week we had had winds of 25 to 30 knots from the south. The morning of the race the same condition existed and the radio report was for a continuation of the same. In fact, all the way to the starting station at Winslow the seas were heavy and windy as predicted. However, about an hour before starting time for the slower boats, the wind died to a whisper and the sea flattened out. The result being that the boys who either didn't know how to compute windage or were too lazy to do so, turned in the best logs. On April 23rd, the B.Y.C. members held the 25th Anniversary Ball, presided over by Commodore Garrett and PIC Hob Haven who was the oldest, in time of service, of our living Commodores.
R.A. Finke

R. A. Finke served as our Commodore. Improvements in our floats continued under his direction. The Heavy Weather Race was won by the Commodore of the Rainier Yacht Club, Charlie Maris on the "Carolyn", with a record of .4923.

Legal Trouble: The Oyster Beds

Fred Jurges
Fred Jurges was Commodore. This year he had the thrill of presenting the trophy for winning the Heavy Weather Race to a member of our club, Captain Fred Steinkraus. After an absence of 7 years the trophy came home. There were 107 entries and the "Merry Me II" led with an error of .6781. During this period from 1947 to 1956 and stretched over a period of several years, we ran into some unexpected legal trouble. It seems that a party by the name of Hugh Banks suddenly appeared with a decision that we were encroaching on his property as he had a lease for oyster rights on the tide lands occupied by our floats. His claim could have developed into a financial shock that would have been more than we could have absorbed. Through the diligent efforts of Captain Bob Crees and the legal advise of Marion Garland, the state decided that since Mr. Banks had only held this lease on paper and had never made any attempt to cultivate an oyster bed, his claims were null - and void. Three years of work went into this litigation and the club will always be grateful to Dr. Crees and Mr. Garland. Further to 1956, however, we note that the concrete bulkhead in front of the clubhouse collapsed and Captain Ted Hyde was contracted to restore it. Our Christmas ship was Ray Hart's "Donolie".

Hal Edwards
1957; Hal Edwards was our leader. Discussion started regarding the sale of property we had purchased on Point Monroe. The original idea was to provide a rendezvous for our boats, but anchorage was not practical. There were two interested parties and V. C. Huston was authorized to advertise the property for $6,000.00. Sale was finally consummated at $5,500.00. Not bad on an original cost of $600.00. other improvements this year consisted of black topping the yard, purchasing a new mimeograph, and securing a magnet of sufficient power to recover tools dropped overboard by work parties. This worked fine until somebody dropped the magnet. Christmas ship was the "Vivienne", owned by Captain Eddie Bjork.

2700 Yacht Haven Way (1958)

Howard Houston
Captain Howard Houston flew the Commodore's Flag. We now have a new mailing address: 2700 Yacht Haven Way - a very appropriate name. We joined the Sucia Islands group and paid $329.00 for our share of the purchase of the Islands which were then turned over to the State as a marine park. We find in the Board minutes a very important item, our caretaker, Mrs. Leach, was instructed to lock the doors to her apartment when she retired. We assume this was not so much for Mrs. Leach's protection as to keep uninvited visitors out of the clubhouse. Christmas ship this year was Eddie Adams' "Emmeline".

Dave Ratzlaff
1959. Dave Ratzlaff was elevated to the rank of Commodore. This was the second time a sailboat skipper had received this honor, Dick Finke having been the first. May of this year was the occasion for some major repairs to the floats to be decided upon and Manson Construction Co. was engaged for the job of driving a number of new and additional piling.

In August of this year, berthing rates were revised to $6.00 for the inner string plus $.20 per foot for over 35 feet. Vic Frank of Queen City Yacht Club won the Heavy Weather Race in a new cruiser, the "Viboco" with an almost unbelievable record of .170.


Carl Wilhelm
1960. This was Carl Wilhelm's year as Commodore. During this year Reo Mitchell was initiated and became an enthusiastic sailing skipper with his vessel, the "Sonsy Lass". His untimely demise is covered in a later paragraph. Mrs. Leach submitted her resignation after 20 years of faithful service. The innovation of a gate key was brought up, but met much opposition and no action was taken. The Heavy Weather Race was won by K. D. Wilson of Queen City. However, he also belonged to the Poulsbo Club and for some reason chose to fly the Poulsbo Burgee that day, so Poulsbo claims the honors on a record of .689. This race lived up to its title as the wind and sea were rough enough to cause 22 boats to cancel out at Point Monroe. The Christmas ship this year was Norm Letson's "Merry Me II".

Berger Jaconson
1961. Operations were under command of Commodore Berger Jacobson. The price of gasoline was investigated but no action taken. Captain Schultheis father suffered a severe fall in debarking from the "DonMarJo". In May the decision was made to install an electric lock at the outboard end of the dock. This met with violent opposition on the part of some members, but as things usually do, the storm subsided and it came to be accepted as normal. During a work party, the club covers occupied by Dr. Ruben Benson and Captain Eddie Adams collapsed into the water. As both vessels had been removed to allow for repairs, there was no boat damage. The executive committee learned that our adopted dog, Bic, was not getting enough to eat and authorized the caretaker to buy enough dog food for him and his pal. The Heavy Weather Race was won by Dr. J. C. Powers of Seattle Yacht Club on the "Nautilus" with an error of 1.0480.

Wally Ellis
1962. Wally Ellis became Commodore. His first improvement was the approval of $6,000.00 to bring in a 6" water main to our property. In October, plans were drawn for an "E" type of float with one side to be reserved for visitors. Captain Ralph Smith submitted plans for rebuilding to the south string of floats, which was approved. P/C Jacobson presented a preliminary sketch for a proposed clubhouse modernization. The "Emmeline" was again chosen as Christmas ship. However, we must revert to Columbus Day, October 12th. A 90-mile wind struck the area doing extensive damage to homes and trees. The south string tore loose from the piling and drifted into the north string which fortunately held. The only boat damaged was George Rasmussen's and this was not too severe. The covers and floats suffered quite extensive damage and for awhile it would have been suicide to venture onto the floats as eight foot sheets of metal roofing were sailing through the air like paper plates. This brought about the necessity for needed repairs mentioned earlier in this paragraph.

The Heavy Weather Race was won by Bob Fickiesen of our club, on the "Tongan". Error, an enviable .63. Bremerton Yacht Club also took the Interclub Challenge Race with boats skippered by Carl Wilhelm, Eddie Adams and Harry Gundlach. The "Emmeline" was again chosen as Christmas ship.

Harry Belt
1963. Commodore Harry Belt took the helm. Bob Fickiesen was nominated and received the award for the North West Industries trophy for "Boating Family" of the year. Commodore Belt presented the Goat Flag to P/C Garrett for piloting the Christmas ship "Emmeline" (also became the B.Y.C. entry in the Tacoma Daffodil Parade). Captain Steinkraus was also "authorized" to find new homes for our two dogs. P/C Garrett and Captain Bill Wright took on the job of clearing our property south of our railway which has become our picnic ground. This has been a most valuable addition to our facilities, as it now contains stoves under cover, a water line and tables. Norm Letson's "Merry Me II" served as Christmas ship.

Grady Barrentine
1964 was Grady Barrentine's year as Commodore. A burgee of the proper size to from the club flagpole was donated by Gloria Rownd. The question of public access across our property to the south became a hot subject and a meeting with the adjoining property owner netted nothing. Consequently, in order to keep our parking lot from becoming a public thoroughfare it was decided to close the entrance for one day a year. In August of this year, our present caretakers, Mr. and Mrs. Les Fenton were hired. The Commodore's expense account was raised to $150.00 per year.

Fred Steinkraus
1965. Fred Steinkraus became Commodore. The initiation fee was raised from $100.00 to $150.00. The modernization program became the main topic of discussion. Wally Ellis was the nominee for "Boating Family" of the year. Actually, this was a very active year, but the records have been misplaced and the history is not as complete as it deserves.

State Waterfront Rights Hassle

1966: Dr. W. E. Rownd skippered the Bremerton Club. The new dry line for fire protection was installed. The Heavy Weather Race results showed three of the first ten places taken by Bremerton boats. At this time there developed a hassle with the State over waterfront rights and a claim for several hundred dollars in back rent. Mr. Chet Simpier handled this affair with the State Land Commission and finally settled for a fee of $275.00 per year with no retroactive rent. Fifteen boats attended the Tacoma Daffodil festival. The Ladies Day Race resulted in Jean Dominy and Helen Hudson in first and second places, respectively. Captain Pete Ross won the International Race and followed this up with 2nd in the Olympia Race, missing first by only three seconds, Captain Ted Morneau won the Goat Flag. Captain Dwight Scheyer parked his boat on a rock near Ladysmith, but nomination for the Goat Flag was beyond the statute of limitations. The club modernization was proposed and a committee was appointed to investigate financing. Captain Ted Morneau's whip the "Intrigue" was chosen as Christmas ship.

Plans for a New Clubhouse
W.G. Woodward
1967 was W. G. "Woody" Woodard's year as Commodore. The initiation fee was raised to $200.00. Dues were raised to $40.00 per year, by motion of the members, but as of this date the raise has not become effective. Plans for the new clubhouse were presented by Captain Ed Day and Captain Stan Wardin was assigned the job of developing a finance plan. Authorization was passed to $150,000.00. The firm of Gilman & Green was employed. A book could be written on what transpired in the next few months, but boiled down to this.

Bank financing could be arranged at 7-12%, but would require a mortgage on the entire property and all work had to be done by a contractor. V. C. Morneau then presented a plan whereby we could use the same plans, having the framing done by a contractor and the finish work by member work parties for an estimated 40 to 50 thousand dollars, if the members would supply that much cash. Captain Warden worked out the financing plan and in no time at all the members ponied up $40,000.00 plus and work started. Bruce Construction Co. (secretly, Bob Fickiesen) did the framing and the work, but many members put in hours far beyond that amount. Result, we now have a fine clubhouse, better than the original plans, new and comfortable caretakers quarters and no mortgage.

In December, the subject of charging for the Heavy Weather breakfast was discussed and it was finally passed that a charge of $1.00 per plate would be put into effect. A sad note of this year recorded the death of our friend Captain Reo Mitchel who collapsed at the helm of his sailing yacht "Sonsy Lass" while in a club race.

Ted Morneau
1969: Ted Morneau became Commodore and continued with his efforts to improve the club facilities. Discussion took place as to the possibility of obtaining a class "H" license, but was voted down. Captain Eddie Adams became the proud owner of the Goat Flag at his own request.

It was reported that the I.P.B.A. had invited the Bremerton Club to put the Heavy Weather Race under their sponsorship which would require an entrance fee of $2.00 per boat, half to go to the I.P.B.A. A matter of points toward the Jerry Bryant Trophy was involved. It was decided to keep the Heavy Weather Race a Bremerton Yacht Club affair with no entrance fee. As of this writing the points earned will be considered in the Jerry Bryant Trophy Award. The matter of sponsoring the Peninsula Sailing Club was introduced and was turned over to Captain Paul McCullough for further details.

Lew Belden
1970: Lew Belden was the new Commodore.

The Heavy Weather Race was a huge success with 150 plus boats entered. Work is already underway for improvements to our floats and railway. Larry Mecham's "La Rose" is being readied for our entry in the Tacoma Daffodil Parade.

During the year many improvements were made to both floats and clubhouse. A 4,000 gallon tank for gasoline was installed to be hooked up later. Curtains were put in the clubhouse, courtesy of the Skipperettes. Captain Oscar Gunderson was credited with many improvements in the interior of the clubhouse and was awarded a plaque for his services.

The "Escape", owned by Captains Feek, Aaberg and Keller, served as Christmas ship with Captain Adams "Emmeline" as escort.

The Heavy Weather Race was held on a calm sea and dry though overcast skies. The participation was less than usual, with only 103 boats entered. The next event of the season was the Daffodil festival. At the end of the wettest March in recorded history, the weather man smiled and gave us three days of sunshine for the event and immediately followed with more rain and cold weather. Captain Bud Skelley's "Happy Daze" was our entry and took second overall prize. An appropriate trophy is on display in our trophy case. A program was started to replace the rubber tanks under the floats with glass tanks. The tanks are being made by members work party time.

In May, the Skipperettes arranged an "Open House" with boats of various types on display. The Ladies acted as escorts and the event went off with no confusion plus a handsome profit from the sale of tickets at $1.00 each. In the late summer the Skipperettes purchased and presented to the club, a dishwashing machine.

In the latter part of October, we experienced a north wind at 40 to 50 knots which resulted in the roof of Barney Chase's club owned shed sailing through the air and landing on Dave Ratzloff's "Persistence".
George Rasmussen

Captain George Rasmussen was installed as Commodore on November 1st, 1971.

Historian's Note: This document is remarkably complete for as far as it goes. We will start an update in the near future. Stand by.

P/C Bob Wheeler, BYC Historian 11/02



Last updated: 4 February 2004

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