The Port Townsend Yacht Club was first organized in February, 1947. Since 1986, the club has met at the member-built clubhouse located at 2503 Washington Street, overlooking Port Townsend Bay. Members enjoy many social events, both on and off the water and meet monthly September through June. Additionally, the club has a long standing tradition of awarding scholarships to individual students for study in a maritime educational program. For more than 20 years, our Earth Day project has been the annual spring cleanup at Mystery Bay State Park.
The first set of bylaws was adopted February 11, 1947, and printed by the local Olympic Printing Company. Those hearty founders were a group of men interested in sharing their love of boating with each other and their families. Through the years, PTYC grew and prospered, meeting first in members’ homes and then in a member-built yacht club building on Port of Port Townsend property (just east of the current restrooms). Members hosted fish fries, clam feeds, hamburger parties, and steak dinners to raise money until the clubhouse was completed and paid for. Members cruised to surrounding bays, inlets, and islands, and taught many local youngsters about sailing. The bay saw many a spirited race.
After the lease with the Port expired, temporary housing was found, through the generosity of George Rowley, at Point Hudson Marina. Although adequate for meetings, it was not suitable for social gatherings or for any long-range plans. Once again, committees were formed to seek suitable sites, either to purchase or lease for permanent quarters.
Early in 1986, members started working on a new clubhouse on Washington Street, a partially finished building situated on land leased from the Port. Many club members made generous donations of time and materials for the project and the result is the building members use to this day. From 1987 to 1989, many improvements were made by members: exterior painting, installation of a flagpole, interior doors, cabinets, flooring, carpeting, ceiling tiles, window blinds, and a ventilation system.
During 1990’s, in addition to painting inside and out, numerous enhancement projects were completed. Etched glass windows and a canvas awning completed the entryway; the galley received a new center island; and portraits of Past Commodores, sound-absorbing carpet panels and a burgee display completed the meeting room. The bulletin board was refurbished to display photos of PTYC’s fleet in the lobby. Finally, in 1999, the clubhouse was re-roofed and re-insulated under the floor.
The club established its Scholarship Fund in 1990 to assist and encourage others in the community toward marine-oriented goals. 1998 saw our own Barbara Cochran earn Seattle Yacht Club’s Tug Boat Annie Award for a lifetime of boating achievement and continued maritime contribution.
The process of improving the club continued after the turn of the century with a new flagpole, an outdoor bulletin board, new carpet, redecorated restrooms, a pull-down attic ladder, and a new tile floor in the meeting room. The galley was updated with the donation of an almost-new refrigerator and the purchase of a new range and a cook-and-hold oven. To everyone’s appreciation, Microsoft donated 86 padded and comfortable chairs.
Besides working on the clubhouse and upgrading it to meet fire codes, the club moved ahead with programs and technology. The club’s website was established in 2000 and is today the center of our club’s communication. We enjoyed lunch cruises, booths at the Wooden Boat Festival, cruises to new locations, Saturday seminars, garage sales, and land cruises. In 2006 the club reached out to the entire community by inviting everyone to participate in Opening Day, a celebration which continues today. During 2007, we were given special recognition for our annual maintenance of Mystery Bay State Park
We worked with the Port of Port Townsend to change and improve our reciprocal program and in 2010 we confirmed our ownership of our clubhouse with a land lease with the Port. Our special programs continued: community-wide Opening Day, Mystery Bay State Park clean-up, our Scholarship program, an improved website now at www.ptyc.net, and the expanded Baggywrinkle. In addition, revisions to the Club Bylaws related to budget, membership, and dues were adopted. The Club Treasurer was equipped with a Club owned laptop computer for enhanced fiscal records management.
The past few years has seen the membership thrive and grow. In addition, we have continued to bring in new ideas, new cruising destinations, and new events while maintaining many of our great traditions. The volunteer efforts of the membership have made these accomplishments possible. Our club’s strength now and in the future is in having fun while doing good things for ourselves and for the local boating community. We look forward to 2021 being another great year.