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Houston Open One Design Regatta

July 23rd, 2017

 

2016 HOOD Regatta Photo Houston Open One Design Regatta

image003 Houston Open One Design RegattaAt the Houston Yacht Club Sept. 23-24

All one design sailors mark your calendars for the HOOD Regatta. The Houston Open One Design Regatta is Sept. 23-24 at the Houston Yacht Club. Our sponsors for the 2017 event are Mount Gay Rum, Quantum Sails, Dripping Springs Vodka, Bloody Revolutions, KO Sailing, City of LaPorte and West Marine. We are expecting as many as 100 boats and 350 sailors to participate. Classes anticipated to sail are J22, J24, J29, J70, J80, J105, J109, Pulse 600, RS Aero, and Ensign. There will be a youth line, as well. The racing will take place on three race courses on Galveston Bay.

The Skipper’s meeting will be held Friday night, with racing on Saturday and Sunday. Awards will be given out on Sunday afternoon. Each boat registered will receive a skipper’s pouch from Quantum Sails and a tech shirt. This will be the largest regatta on Galveston Bay this year, so please don’t miss it.

Check the HYC website, www.houstonyachtclub.com or regattanetwork.com for the Notice of Race and registration information. For more information, contact regatta chairs Ken Humphries at k.humphries@humphries-const.com or Joanne Humphries at humphriesj@hotmail.com.

History of the Houston Yacht Club

May 3rd, 2017

HYC1 History of the Houston Yacht Club

Invitation to the Centennial Celebration of the Houston Yacht Club, 1997. Artwork by Al Barnes. Photos: HYC Archives.

Sam Akkerman, author of the book From Buffalo Bayou to Galveston Bay: The centennial history of the Houston Yacht Club, 1897 to 1997 on how it came to fruition. 

akkerman History of the Houston Yacht Club

Sam Akkerman

How did you get started on this project of writing the book?

I became involved in researching and writing about the history of HYC around 1995, two years before the club’s 100 year anniversary celebration. I was invited to attend one of the Centennial Committee meetings where Fleet Historian Tynes Sparks spoke and explained that one of the committee’s goals was to publish a book on the Club’s history and he needed help.

He had boxes of old photographs, clippings, and collections of stories he had been putting together for years. Few early records still existed, but Tynes knew the Club’s legendary history was worth telling and that documentation existed at the Houston Metropolitan Research Center (HMRC).

 As an English major who had always enjoyed research and writing, I was intrigued. Tynes and I scheduled a visit to the HMRC.

On that initial visit we found a Houston Post article describing the first formal meeting of the Club, February 2, 1898 at the Binz Building, Houston’s first skyscraper. It was a thrilling find and I quickly became fascinated by the Club’s history stashed away in that building.

Because the Club’s founders were prominent Houstonians, I read everything I could find on the city’s history and the early 20th century development of the Galveston Bay area as a summer destination for Houston residents.

I located and interviewed many children and grandchildren of the founders and early members. They were all aware of their families’ connections to HYC and generously shared photos and stories.

What surprised you the most as you gathered information about the history of the club?

Many discoveries were made along the way. When I started, we knew that the Club originally met and kept their boats near the foot of Main Street in downtown Houston. Research enabled  us to document specific locations: for a while a wharf was leased at the foot of Travis Street and meetings were held in a ‘tin shack’ near today’s Spaghetti Warehouse.

Another important ‘discovery’ was realizing the true significance of our early membership in the Gulf Yachting Association (GYA). In 1920 we became a founding member of the venerable southern boating organization that promoted inter-club competition in affordable one design boats from Florida to Texas. A bay home was needed for the boats, practices, and competition required by the amateur, family friendly, GYA program which the Club embraced wholeheartedly. I  believe the mission HYC fulfills today was shaped by that program.

And I must mention the oft forgotten role the Club played in the early development of the Houston Ship Channel. The members were not only vocal in their support but their yachts were used to tour dignitaries and visitors who had the power to influence the legislation to dredge the Bayou and Bay into a waterway that would accommodate ocean going vessels.

This focus of the Club continued until World War I. By then the Port was well on its way to becoming the giant we know it as today.

Madlin Stevenson and friends on an R-boat in the Houston Yacht Club harbor in 1929.

Is there a favorite story about some of the members that made you laugh out loud when you were doing research?

Humor reigned throughout the years. Choosing one incident is impossible. Theme parties with elaborate costumes were the norm after World War II. Props might include a live donkey in the Porthole bar or an old footed bathtub for serving “bootleg gin.” Beginning in 1936 the Dumbbell Award was presented periodically to recognize boating mishaps. Recipients and their ‘dumb’ mistakes were carefully recorded in a small gold stamped binder.  Helmsmen, not crew, falling overboard seem to have been quite common.

Where did you grow up and when did you become a member of the Houston Yacht Club?

I was born in Louisiana but grew up in Texas.  My family moved to Houston when I was 12.

In 1989, my husband bought a catamaran and we were sailing it one weekend when we saw a long line of Sunfish being towed behind a motor boat. Each boat had a young skipper on board, relaxing as they cruised along under tow. We learned they were HYC Ragnots (as the Club’s youth are called) and they were on their way across the Bay to an inter-club regatta. My daughters were 9 and 12, a perfect age to become Ragnots and the next summer I was one of the moms in the motor boats towing kids across the Bay.

Is there a favorite time period in the club’s history that really stands out in your mind?

The early years of the Club are among my favorites to study. Members had a fleet of amazing long, sleek luxury yachts which would rival any port in the south. They were prominent businessmen who worked tirelessly to promote the city and ship channel. Yet they commissioned a fleet of small one design sailboats for fair competition. Their younger members formed the Launch Club Canoe Division and explored islands in the Bayou that have long since disappeared. Their cruises were intended for family members and their regattas were events designed to be enjoyed by all ages, boaters and ‘landlubbers’ alike.

Are you currently working on any other projects?

We are proud to have a very well documented article on HYC’s history accepted and included in the recently launched Handbook of Houston, a publication of the Handbook of Texas Online, the most highly respected resource of state history.

Another months long project completed this spring is a permanent exhibit at the Club that honors HYC’s nationally recognized reputation for excellence in race management. Our research documented the national, international, and world regattas that HYC has hosted in the last 120 years. This information was then incorporated into a striking professionally designed display in the Club’s lobby. The project commemorates our 90/120 Celebration – this year the clubhouse is 90 years old and the organization is 120 years old.

Tell me a little bit about your relationship with Rice University.

In 2010 a large portion of our archives was digitized as part of an online exhibit that includes materials from Rice University and the Houston Area Digital Archives at the Houston Public Library. The exhibit, Business and Pleasure on Houston Waterways, explores the relationship Houston has with Buffalo Bayou and Galveston Bay. It was an honor for us to be included in this project and it also provided us with a unique opportunity to preserve our archival materials – the scanned images are safe – permanently stored and accessible online. As well, it  provides another method of sharing our history.

View overlooking lawn, wading pool, signal mast and harbor of the Houston Yacht Club during the Annual Regatta of 1954.

The Houston Yacht Club has a long tradition of bringing families together who love boating on Galveston Bay. In your opinion, is this still the best way to describe the mission of the club today?

Yes. Bringing together families who love the bay does describe what HYC is all about. As the older Ragnots leave for college, a new generation sails out to claim their own place in the cluster of Optis at the start line. Experienced sailors teach the sport and share their boats with novices. New volunteers join the long time volunteers who organize the programs and events for all ages and the well run regattas that make Galveston Bay a nationally known recreational boating center.

100+ Years of Sailing: A History of Sailing Clubs on Galveston Bay

May 2nd, 2017

hyc 100+ Years of Sailing: A History of Sailing Clubs on Galveston Bay

Houston Yacht Club   

Organized in 1897, the club was located on Buffalo Bayou in Houston. It was known as the Houston Yacht and Power Boat Club from 1905-1906, and the Houston Launch Club from 1906-1926. In 1927 the club went back to the original name Houston Yacht Club.

Always more than simply a social or boating organization, during the early years it was identified with some of the most fundamental developments in Houston’s growth.

The present day club house was built in 1927 in La Porte. Hurricanes and fires have left their mark on the original building but she still stands today. A charter member of the Gulf Yachting Association, the club is now over a hundred and twenty years old.

seabrooksailing 100+ Years of Sailing: A History of Sailing Clubs on Galveston Bay

Seabrook Sailing Club

The club was founded in 1934 as a means to enjoy sailing with friends in Galveston Bay. That philosophy continues today. The original club was located along the Kemah waterfront.

In 1950 the club purchased the property at 1020 Todville Rd. in Seabrook. Hurricane Ike destroyed the club house in 2008. The new club house was rebuilt and completed through dedicated club members.

Early Members: Earl Gerloff and Martin Bludworth

Texas Corinthian Yacht Club 

Founded in 1938 to educate its members and their families in the art of sailing, seamanship and boat handling.

The original clubhouse completed in 1938 was destroyed by Hurricane Ike in September 2008. The new club house and rebuilt grounds were dedicated Jan. 1, 2010.

Founding Members: Albert Bel Fay, Ernest Bel Fay, Jack Garrett, William Stamps Farish, and William McIver Streetman

Galveston Bay Cruising Association 

GBCA traces its origin back to 1947 when a small group of sailboat racing enthusiasts informally organized the club.  The club existed and prospered as a letter head organization, without elected officers, bylaws, dues, or a home.

The Club was formally organized in 1954 with elected officials, bylaws and handicap races. The Friday night Rum Races are some of the most popular races run on Galveston Bay.

Early member:  Rufus Bud Smith

Lakewood Yacht Club      

Founded in 1955 the club sits on 38 acres with water frontage on Clear Lake. It has four covered sheds and numerous docks. The original club just catered to power boats, but over the years sailboats kept showing up and the club kept growing. Lakewood Yacht Club will host the J-105 North Americans this fall.

Founding Members: Sterling Hogan Sr., Captain WR Parker and JD Kirkpatrick.

2017 AND BEYOND: THE FUTURE OF SAILING

Learning to Fly with Next Generation USA

Whether you are a seasoned sailor or just getting your feet wet, you can’t help but look in awe at the America’s Cup boats – fast, foiling multihulls with a wing instead of a sail.

The United States, represented by team Next Generation USA, is one of 12 countries entered in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup.  Each team is allowed seven days of practice on the AC45F prior to the event in June.  That’s it, just seven days on a boat unfamiliar to anyone outside a small circle of America’s Cup Teams.

The AC45F is sailed with six crew members and each one has a critical job.  The wing controls the overall power of the boat, so it is in constant motion.  In order to get foiling, the boat needs to be going at least 16 knots and all of the crew must be on the windward side.  Getting up to speed is like taking off in an airplane. The adrenaline is pumping but no one seems concerned that they are screaming downwind, six feet above the water on a 45ft carbon rocket.

Next Generation USA is more than just a group of young sailors. These guys are the face of our country and they will be representing the USA at the highest level of sailing.

Members of Next Generation USA

  • Carson Crain Skipper/Helmsman
  • Matthew Whitehead Wing Trimmer
  • Scott Ewing Soft Sail Trimmer
  • Preston Farrow Grinder
  • Ian Storck Grinder (spare)
  • Markus Edegran Bowman
  • Reed Baldridge Tactician

The Houston Yacht Club Ladies Association Presents Holiday Market on the Bay

October 3rd, 2016

2014 ladies banner The Houston Yacht Club Ladies Association Presents Holiday Market on the Bay

The Houston Yacht Club Ladies Association

The Houston Yacht Club Ladies Association will hold a Holiday Market on the Bay Tuesday evening, Nov. 1 from 6 to 9 p.m. and again on Wednesday, Nov. 2 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Houston Yacht Club is located at 3620 Miramar Drive in Shoreacres.  The event is open to the public and admission and parking are both free.  There will be a buffet lunch available for $15 per person.

Bring your friends and family to enjoy the festive atmosphere and get your Christmas shopping done early. The annual Holiday Market on the Bay is the best way to kick-off the holiday season, spend time with friends and find some unique treasures.

More than 40 vendors are participating in this annual Holiday Market on the Bay.

Some of the items available to purchase include Holiday items, baked goods, jewelry, clothing and more. Please visit us online at www.houstonyachtclub.com for a map with directions.