History of the Club
SCCYC is the longest-lived yacht club in Santa Monica Bay and among the oldest on the Pacific Coast, tracing its incorporation to the depression year of 1932 on March 31, 1932.
South Coast Corinthian Yacht Club has gone through many changes from its earlier foundations, retaining the spirit of yachting and having a good time. Today, we are a cross-section of the yachting community, incorporating a variety of craft from single man rowing shells and sabots to ocean racers competing internationally and power cruisers.
As the great depression deepened and spread, two key groups in SCCYC’s early history formed; Santa Monica Sailing Club and South Coast Corinthian Yacht Club, both organized in 1932. These two groups differed considerably – SMSC was mainly composed of Star, Snipe and dinghy sailors who met informally and never incorporated. By contrast, SCCYC was actively promoted by large boat “yachtsmen”, collected dues and initiation fees and incorporated as a California non-profit corporation in 1932. On the other hand, both groups shared an interest in sailing.
SMSC sailors launched their home built boats from the sands of Santa Monica beach and met in ocean front cabins. It’s first Commodore was August Paulson. SCCYC’s first Commodore was Eugene Overton, a spirited sailor. In 1934 the Santa Monica breakwater was completed and SCCYC obtained a small meeting room on the Santa Monica Pier. The location was convenient since the Pier had a crane which could be used for hoisting the more popular boats of the day, such as Snipes and Six-Meters.
This period came to a close in 1937 with the deterioration of the breakwater and the City of Santa Monica granting a lease to the proposed Catalina Island steamer (requiring elimination of yacht moorings inside the breakwater). SCCYC abandoned its dream to build a larger Clubhouse in that area. Contributions for construction were returned; the Club disposed of its assets and liabilities and went dormant, except for the name and Articles of Incorporation.
In 1938, SCCYC and the Santa Monica Sailing Club joined forces and voted to adopt the Articles of Incorporation of SCCYC. The new group elected new Officers/Board of Directors and started to grow and thrive. By the end of the decade, the Club had joined the Southern California Yacht Racing Association (SCYRA) sponsoring the first Pacific Coast Championship Regatta in Santa Monica Bay.
About this time, another sailing club was formed out of a group of Douglas Aircraft Company employees starting a project to build their own sailing dinghies. They selected a design by George Owen and Jack Wood of MIT’s School of Naval Architecture, similar to the dinghy used at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but modified for performance in the choppy waters of Santa Monica Bay. At first, they had no official name, though some called themselves “The Hoboken Bilge Association.” When enough boats were built they became “The Santa Monica Delta Dinghy Fleet.”
The early 1940s brought a devastating war, costing many lives and disrupting many others. With the war came a recession, making survival uncertain; many businesses, social groups and clubs dissolved; but SCCYC held on. Smaller sailing groups, which would have had no choice but to dissipate, joined SCCYC. Among these, in 1942, was the Santa Monica Delta Dinghy Fleet.
As the post-war boom dawned, SCCYC was back on its feet, hotter than ever. Racing and cruising again became popular events. In 1955 Donald Morgan organized the first Sabot fleet. In 1958, Staff Commodores Warren Bradley, Firmin Porter and Donald Morgan organized the importing of seven Enterprise kits from England. And in 1959, Dick Walford organized the Satellite fleet, to later become known as the Super-Satellite Fleet.
In 1961 SCCYC helped to establish the Associate of Santa Monica Bay Yacht Clubs (ASMBYC) to promote and coordinate yachting activities in the Bay. Other Charter Member clubs included Del Rey YC, Malibu YC, Windjammers YC, California YC and King Harbor YC. Also in this year the Champion fleet was organized.
In 1966, SCCYS’s dream of the thirties became a reality. The Board of Directors in conjunction of it’s own Clubhouse on Mindanao Way. Construction started in March, and by December the SCCYC burgee hung over its own facility. SCCYC became an integral part of the thriving marina environment.
The 1970s brought expanded social and racing events to SCCYC members. Television’s Channel 2 News (CBS) covered the first official wedding ceremony on Club premises, for Flag Members John and Aneta Francis. New social activities presented by Corinthians’ President, Pat McElderry, included an annual boat show and boat hopping party. An international theme was established for SCCYC Christmas parties, with Hal Pritchard playing Santa. Weekly and monthly dinners were served, the most well known being the “International Dinners” hosted by various Club members.
On the racing side, Staff Commodore Guy Laurendeau raced his offshore thirty-two foot yacht, Ziguener, to top honors in the Ensenada race in 1972. SCCYC sponsored the first “Ladies at the Helm” race in 1973, an activity presented by Vice Commodore Al Bergen. The Les Storrs Series of races was established in 1976, honoring our 1936 Commodore. Thanks to the adept camera techniques of Buck Trippel, South Coast Corinthian was the first yacht club to have video replay of races. In 1978, two members, Kas Kastner and Jules Rensen, established the Santana 20 fleet in the Marina (Fleet One of the Santana 20 Class). In 1979, Sandy Clark skippered his yacht, Quamichan, in the TransPac, a race to Honolulu, the first SCCYC yacht to do so.
1980 saw the first female Commodore in the Marina and the second in Southern California, Virginia Atkinson. Virginia was the second woman to be voted into Blue Gavel, an organization of Staff Commodores.
The Club saw many improvements in the eighties including a new refrigeration unit, television, large capacity ice machine and beer/soft drink dispensing machine. Gary and Pam Magnuson devoted the majority of their free weekend time to sponsoring Sunday brunches to raise money for a two-tom hoist upgrade. Unfortunately, the cost of the work proved prohibitive.
In 1983, Steve Carrick became the youngest Commodore ever among Marina del Rey yacht clubs. In 1984, Commodore Bill Sheffer hosted the now famous Commodore’s Barbecue. Bill also initiated, organized and sponsored the Clambake Cruise for Labor Day, 1984.
Then a yacht club’s worse nightmare came true. Our landlord wanted to increase the rent so drastically that we simply could not afford to stay. Our membership was at an all time low.
In 1989, we became “homeless.” But not before the biggest, best and still the only “Closing Day Ceremony” in MdR.
For two and a half years after our departure from the Clubhouse on Mindanao Way, a core of Members struggled to keep the Club alive and active. Meetings were held at other MdR yacht clubs, at restaurants, or at Member’s homes. We remained active in ASMBYC and SCYA and met our financial responsibilities to them.
The nineties were shaping up to be a decade of rebirth for SCCYC. In mod 1991, Ken Nairne negotiated a lease for a small space in the second floor of a yacht brokers’ building on Admiralty Way. It was a place, not a palace, but Members pitched in to remodel and pulled old furnishings out of storage.
After about a year and a half on Admiralty Way, Ken negotiated another great deal. We could get the old Clubhouse back for less rent than we were paying when we left in 1989. So in January 1993, we moved back to the original facility on Mindanao Way and implemented an aggressive membership drive. MdR Opening Day Ceremonies for SCCYC was one of its best ever. We came home and the entire Marina knew it.
In August 1993 with the momentum of some new Members and the veracity of more seasoned Members, the Clubhouse got a major facelift: new carpeting; linoleum; paint; bar countertop; and the promise of a strong presence in MdR.
The Club continued to grow and was extremely active in racing during the watches of Commodore Bob Kellock 1996/1997 and Commodore Mike Priest 1998. Both Bob and Mike continued to excel as race chairs and racing leaders as Staff Commodores.
In 1999, Commodore Gil Gflener, Vice Commodore Sandy Clark and Rear Commodore Sherry Barone successfully negotiated the re-purchase of the hoist by SCCYC for $1. It was restored to service using a grant from Irene Campbell (now Hay), painted by volunteers, and appropriately marked by Dick Peterson. The Star, Cal 20, and Santana 20 fleets are actively using the hoist. A hoist upgrade to accommodate heavier boats is planned.
In 2000, Commodore Sandy Clark led SCCYC into the new millennium. Racing continued and the Club continued to grow. Sandy arranged many new improvements to the Clubhouse, including new carpeting and sofas. Mike Priest won ASMBYC’s Yachtsman of the Year award. Sandy provided Direct TV for the enjoyment of the Membership. Treasurer Steve Krug selected the system for those rainy days and for watching USC and UCLA football.
In 2001, Commodore Sherry Barone started a monthly speaker series at SCCYC, bringing in experts in both the sailing and power-boating worlds. Sherry also started the Junior Shipmate Program in June 2001 to teach teams of Special Olympic athletes and able-bodied children how to sail. ABC and Fox TV networks covered this event. Rear Commodore Terry Stingfellow and Port Captain Ron Tvenstrup were instrumental in supporting and helping with the program on the water, as were Sean and Peter Beale, Charlotte Auroux, John Edwards, Deon Claiborne and Mike Oliveau, Jr. UCLA, the Cal 20 fleet, Terry and Darlene Stringfellow and Ron Tvenstrup provided the training boats.
SCCYC hosted the Adams Cup Area J women’s finals for the second time in three years in August 2001. Staff Commodore Mike Priest again led the event and served as Principal Race Officer, supported by Race Chair/Staff Commodore Bob Kellock. Vice Commodore Doug Russell and Nancy Russell led an excellent series of hospitality events, as well as for many other occasions all year. SCCYC also hosted the ASMBYC Home Port Regatta in November.
Aggressive membership growth was continued by Membership Chair Carl Radusch.
Secretary Nancy Werner and Mark Register created an updated SCCYC web site.
Club enhancements for 2001 included new vinyl flooring, dishwasher, stove, BBQ, dishes/glasses, and TV (with Bob Tusler leading the fund-raising). The Club remained extremely active, with numerous fundraisers – Turning the Tides on MS, Diabetes Foundation, American Red Cross, Special Olympics – as well as conducting numerous other special and usual Club social functions.
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