Tuesday, February 12, 2013

WYC Changes the Rules - A History by Ken Howe PART ONE

WYC Changes The Rules (Part One)
by Ken Howe  

The first rating system for club members was established in the By-Laws filed with the ASUW in 1949.  The original members were classified either crew or skipper.  The experienced members used their own boats and some dinghies from the local yacht clubs, SYC and CYC to do instruction.   

1952 Tyee yearbook photo

The By-Laws stated: 

  1. “To be a “Crew” one must be paid up in his Club dues and have passed the   
       swimming test.  
       A “Crew” is entitled to sail or race in the company of a “Skipper” or “Chief.”

  1. To be a “Skipper” one must have qualified as a “Crew” and demonstrate competence in handling and docking the Husky or other Club sailboats and further in meeting the common emergencies of small boat sailing.
      A “Skipper” is entitled to check out a sailboat in his own right.

1955 Tyee

From the first year of active sailing, 1949, the club was involved in intercollegiate races. The Husky boat was designed and built for the club in 1950.

Norm Ahlquist explained the plan for the design of the Husky.  Having sailed them in the 1960s he knew about how they performed.

“As I recall the legend, the club wanted something that would be "self-rescuing and plane." The Huskies were that, provided the hatch covers stayed on and the wind blew over 40. When completely swamped they would float deck awash. If you stood on it you would sink to about your armpits.”

The 1949 By-Laws recognized experienced members of the club as chiefs.  

  1. To be a “Chief” one must have qualified as a “Crew” and “Skipper” and demonstrate    
      knowledge or competence as the case may be in the following fields:
  1. handling an outboard and launch.
  2. the racing rules and running races.
  3. safety and the rules of the road.
  4. knot tying, splicing, serving and other arts important to boat husbandry.
  5. first aid.

       Further he must have a record of service to the club and be agreeable to further
       service, especially as a dispatcher.

      A “Chief” is entitled to use the club launch, qualify “Skippers,” dispatch boats and    
      enjoy such other privileges as the Executive Council shall set forth in accordance 
      with fair, full, and safe use of club facilities.
In 1957 amendments were added to the By-Laws to include the new Penguins. 

1958 Tyee

The swimming test was dropped in the 1957 amendments and this statement added “All members of the club should have sufficient swimming ability to be able to take care of themselves in an emergency.  Because of a lack of testing facilities, members must vouch for their own ability and sail at their own risk if this ability is insufficient.” 

Note: There is no mention of wearing a PFD if swimming ability is “insufficient.”

A boat rating was created for the Penguin and over the years as other boats were added ratings were created for them.  The Kite (a SH boat), the C-Lark (DH boat) and the Lightning (largest boat in the fleet) were some of the early boats requiring a rating.  

To be a Penguin Skipper, one must have qualified as a crew and a skipper, and demonstrate skill and good judgment in handling the Penguin dinghies.  Penguin Skippers and chiefs desiring to race will be given first priority in use of the Penguins.

1962 Tyee

Kite in 1963 Tyee
In 1969 a proposal was made to add a Novice rating to the By-Laws by Norm Ahlquist.
“When I joined in 1966 we had the same ratings but no swim test, just your statement. The winds seemed to be reliably 25+ in the winters and skipper tests meant something. The in thing was heavy (extreme) weather sailing. Winter quarters had maybe 25 members. In the mid 70s the club had bloated to over 1K (check with Ralph J) and the weather seemed to be more subdued. Certain chiefs were giving skipper ratings in very little wind because of demand. I then invented the novice rating (based on the amateur radio licensing scheme) which limited wind and sailing area for the newbies, and it would expire in 6 months as I remember. That helped a lot.”
The language of the rating was:  
“To get a Novice rating you must demonstrate that you know how to launch the boat, sail it around, and bring it back to the dock in one piece.  The Novice rating does have certain restrictions on where and when you may sail.  Novices may sail only in Union Bay (so we can find you easily if you’re ever in trouble), and may sail under 15 knots in Kites, Penguins, and C-Larks and under 20 knots in Huskies and Lightnings.  Even old skippers find 15 knots a bit strong sometimes, so we hope that all new Novices will practice a bit in lesser wind speeds before venturing out into the white caps (white caps tend to start at about 15 knots).  Since the Skipper rating has no restrictions on sailing area or wind, this rating will be given only in winds of 10-15 knots or more.  The exact details of these ratings can be found in the new By-Laws.“ 

Sailing a Husky in higher winds.

1968 Tyee

Day-Cruising Skipper 1970 Handbook

A Day-Cruising Skipper may sail a Lightning on Puget Sound during daylight hours unless the adverse weather condition sign has been posted.  To obtain this rating, one must have been a Lightning Skipper for at least one quarter, must either have skippered a sailboat on a Snooz’n Crooz or other club cruise or have crewed on four sound cruises with a Day-Cruising Skipper, have accompanied a club boat through the locks in both directions, and demonstrated knowledge of the club’s auxiliary power unit and other cruising equipment.  The Rear Commodore certifies that the applicant has met the above requirements, and the Executive Council approves the rating. 

When the club did not have keelboats the Lightning was the largest boat in the fleet.

1970 Handbook photo

Ralph Jackson explained how the club offered a snooze and cruise without keelboats.

“ On early Blake Island cruises we drove the baggage to Vashon ferry terminal and did several barge trips from Vashon to Blake.   At times we used Mike Hart's family boat and my family's boat (Jay Kay - the power boat in the written test right of way diagram) as baggage carriers.”

He also explained that the Kite had just enough room for him to join the student and give instruction from the boat.  He said as the instructor he would follow the class out on the bay with the Whaler and then he would signal a student over to him.  He anchored the Whaler and then joined the student in the Kite.

Kite in 1967 Tyee

By 1977 a side capsize requirement was added to the intermediate and skipper rating.

In the 1980 By-Laws a capsize was added to the skills need to obtain a Novice Rating.
1. A Novice (Single-ahnded or Double-handed) is entitled to sail in wind nto over 10 knots in Union Bay within sight of hte WAC.
a. A Double-handed Novice may sail a C-Lark.
2. Novice ratings are only valid for six months.  it is recommended that members obtain an intermediate or higher rating within this time, as the purpose of the Novice rating is to allow the member to practice whenever he wishes, so that he may learn to sail well.  The Novice Rating may be renewed by taking the Novice Practical Test.
3. To obtain a Novice Rating Double-handed, one must:
a. Have a rating of Crew.
b. Read the By-Laws
c. Pass the Novice Written Examination
d. Be able to tie the following knots: Bowline, Cleating, and Figure Eight.
e. Know the check-out procedures.
f. Rig and de-rig the boat, and demonstrate basic sailing ability, docking, and perform a dry capsize (wet capsize if unavoidable), in at least 3 knots of wind).
g. Display consideration for the safety of lives and for the protection of club equipmetn.
h. The Double-handed Novice Practical Test must be taken in a C-Lark.

Norm and Ralph said the option of doing a dry capsize would encourage the students to try it.  Ralph remembered that about 50 percent of the students ended up doing a wet capsize.

1987 Tyee

What hasn't changed is the thrill!

TO BE CONTINUED...  Part Two: Club Events (photo from sailing in the Fountain!). Photo from The Daily on April 3, 1970.

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic!

    Maybe the best part was hearing Norm's voice as I read his comment on the Husky.

    "boat husbandry"...awesome

    To be a Chief one had to" be agreeable to further service"...interesting

    "Novice Ratings" and associated language...Way to go, NORM!