Friday, May 10, 2013

WYC-Not Your Father’s Yacht Club (1965-1969 history by Ken Howe)

Invitation to join SYC parade
Seattle Yacht Club
In 1968, the Seattle Yacht Club invited the University club to enter a float in their 
Opening Day parade of boats.  The theme of the event was Aqua Carnival.

Ralph Jackson told the story about what the club planned for their float:

“Our entry, Aqua Carnivore was great fun.   A whale: Husky hull, hoop structure for frame-covered with black plastic sheets for body,  styrofoam teeth, pressurized beer keg for whale's spout,etc.   Connected to the Husky was a Penguin with 3 girls in mermaid tails.  Norm was a big part of this.”

Norm Ahlquist added that the water shooting up from the keg was powerful enough to go over the Canoe House.  The spray landed on the Seattle Yacht Club committee boat as the whale passed in the parade.  The SYC women who got wet were not impressed with the engineering abilities of the UWYC.
Don Barker crewed in the winning boat

1968 Tyee

UW Daily April 4, 1969

The first attempt to sail 500 laps around the pond was scheduled for January 9, 1969.  It had a flaw in the planning besides that it would take at least 20 hours to complete the race.
It was advertised in the daily.

The correction was published the next day.

Pond cleaning-UW Daily

In this race in Portage Bay the UW Club team lent Penguins to the visiting college teams. 

1965 Tyee

In 1965, the racing team was still sailing Penguins but looked to upgrade to newer boats.

When competing at the site of other schools, the team had the opportunity to experience sailing different boats.  The University of British Columbia introduced them to the FJ. 

John Courtier explained how a race would be held: “I was never on the racing team, so I don't know details.  In the late 70's from what I remember I think the team had to have 8 boats to host a regatta, so that would handle 8 schools attending.  I don't know if the limit was  8 schools or if there was some sort of round robin if there were more schools. The schools have A and B teams.  I believe the A teams race against each other, then they switch off and the B teams race against each other.  Somehow those scores are melded together. “  

There was another sailing club at the UW. It was called Helm and Halyard and you had to join Navy R.O.T.C. first.  It was even older than the UWYC. 

Navy R.O.T.C Boat, 1956 Tyee

1946 Tyee

The club tried other activities to attract new members besides the sailing in the Fountain stunt.

Large ads were placed in the Daily about free movies showing sailing.

The High Speed Sailing film featured Catamarans in the surf of California and Hawaii.  Also there was footage of Olympic Class Finn one-design boats racing under the Golden Gate Bridge.

A WYC member competed in the 1960 Olympic Trials in the Finn class.

Another film by Warren Miller shows testing of a Hobie 33.  The catamaran designer built this monohull.  Some club members race on a Hobie 33 called Payara.

Still from the film “Crash Test” .The boat was lifted 12 feet above the water and then dropped in the film.

The club combined C Larks with the Lightnings for the Snooze N. Cruise to Blake Island in the late 1960s.  The Tiliicum Village restaurant opened on the Island in 1962. The island was briefly considered as a location for the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair before the Seattle Center site was chosen. 

Tillicum Village on Blake Island

1970 Tyee

The history of Blake Island is explained in this article for Historylink.

1966 Tyee
Free Sailing days for students who wanted to know how they would like the club were important to increasing membership.  A chance to sail in the new C. Larks and other DH boats like a Lightning with an experienced sailor was a safe way to get out on the water for the first time.

UW Daily Sept.30, 1966

1967 Tyee

1965-1966 Team members photos from 1966 Tyee: John Hager, Steve Koch, and Dave Waggoner

Barbara Green and Jana Svoboda...

With a membership growing larger every year you would think that some of the reporters from the UW Daily would have joined.  They would have learned that there is no sea water in Union Bay.

In the laid back 60s Union Bay was another student hang out. 

1966 Tyee
1967 Tyee

1968 Tyee
1969 Tyee
A Student sailing one of the new Kites.  

1967 Tyee

The student left years ago.  The boat is still here.

The Kite behind the Canoe House.


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