The Yaquina Bay Yacht Club is marking a milestone this month — the 75th anniversary of its beginnings in the fall of 1947.
An open house to celebrate 75 years of sailing will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 13, at the group’s clubhouse, located at 750 SE Bay Blvd. in Newport. There will be coffee and dessert, live music featuring the Lucky Gap String Band, and a silent auction to benefit youth sailing.
The idea of a local yacht club was actually pondered well before 1947. An article in a 1934 edition of the Yaquina Bay News stated, “Newport should organize a yacht club, and it should be called Yaquina Bay Yacht Club because there is a Newport Yacht Club in California and there is a Newport town in Washington, whereas there is but one Yaquina Bay in the world.”
A newspaper article in a September 1947 edition carried headline announcing, “Yacht Club To Be Formed in City Soon” and talked about a local group that was meeting and discussing plans for a local club. There was a meeting held for “boating fans” at the Abbey Hotel, a landmark at the time on the Newport Bayfront.
The group’s original clubhouse was a donated Quonset hut located near Riverbend on the Yaquina River. Then, after many years of temporary meetings in venues here and there, the current harbor-view clubhouse was constructed in 2004 using all volunteer labor.
Dorothy Bogumil joined the yacht club more than four decades ago, in 1980, and served as the group’s treasurer for more than 20 years. She said the construction of a permanent location was a big thing for the group.
“The biggest change probably is having our own clubhouse because sometimes we had (gatherings) at people’s homes, sometimes we held it a restaurants or rented a space,” she said. “Having our own clubhouse has really made holding regattas and things like that a whole lot easier.”
People don’t have to own boat to be part of this group. In fact, “most of the members do not own their own boat,” Bogumil said. Anyone with an interest in sailing can take advantage of lessons and have access to boats owned by the club.
“We’ve got the 420s that they teach sailing lessons on that they can use as club members,” she said. “We also have the whaler, and if people have been checked out on it, they can use it to go crabbing. And then we have a Capri 22, a sailboat that once you’ve been checked out and you know how to operate it, you can charter it.”
According to the Yaquina Bay Yacht Club’s website (yaquinabayyachtclub.org), the organization was founded 75 years ago “with the purpose of promoting aquatic sports of all kinds, particularly yachting, and preserving the traditions of navigation and seamanship … Our members represent all ages and walks of life, sharing camaraderie and a love of sailing and being on the water.”
Bogumil said the folks she has met over the years are what has kept her so involved. “I think what fascinated me are the people. They are so diverse. We have college professors, people with their Ph.D., we have firemen who are members, teachers, a glass blower … it’s a wide variety of interesting people, and yet everyone loves the water and boating.”
Peggy O’Callaghan has been involved with the yacht club since around 2005. This year she is serving as the club’s commodore. “You serve as vice commodore for a year, then you’re commodore and then next year I’ll be rear commodore,” she said.
When asked how she became interested in getting involved, O’Callaghan said, “I think it was just seeing those sailboats on the water, those Wednesday night races, and it just looked so beautiful. I was kind of affiliated with a yacht club in Hawaii when I was there for a short time so I just thought I’d just check out this yacht club. It’s very unpretentious and wonderful, and people are very friendly.”
O’Callaghan said the club is open to anyone. “You don’t have to have your own boat, you don’t have to know how to sail, you could have a powerboat or kayak or paddleboard — you just have to have a love of the water. Or even not that, because we do those potlucks that are pretty famous. And we have music sometimes, and it’s fun.”
For anyone who may have an interest in learning more, O’Callaghan encourages them to stop by the open house on Nov. 13. “That would be the perfect way to find out a little bit more,” she said. “And we’ll have brochures on hand if anybody’s interested in what we offer and things like that.”
She also encourages people to check out the fundraiser during the event. “In the silent auction that we’re having as a fundraiser for the youth sailing program, we have things like a live band and the use of the yacht club so you can have your own party with a band. There are a couple of kayaks, enough paint to paint your home … we’ve got some incredible things.”