THE HISTORY OF THE BREMERTON YACHT CLUB

Table of Contents

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

, 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.
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    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.


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