Regatta - Power
Regatta - Sail
by P/C Bob Dupar, Club Historian
Like many of the Northwest yacht clubs, Meydenbauer Bay Yacht Club had to
struggle to get established. Our
struggle did not begin until after World War II. During the war years, fuel was rationed and boating was severely
curtailed because of the war effort. There
were defense installations and industries around Lake Washington, such as the
Sand Point Naval Air Station, the Renton industrial complex and the Houghton
Shipyards, so all civilian boat traffic was strictly monitored. All boat operators had to be registered with the Coast Guard
and carry a photo ID card. Everyone had to be off the lake at sundown.
But with the conclusion of the war,
yachtsmen and women were anxious to take their boats out and enjoy the
challenges and relaxation of sailing and cruising again. The Eastside was just starting
to grow into a major suburb of Seattle. Moorage facilities were basically confined to the
docks in ones front yard. But with the demand for
inexpensive moorage, came the idea of establishing a new yacht club on
A group of Eastside residents started
talking up the idea of a new yacht club in the coffee houses and watering
troughs of Bellevue. Marc Lagen,
Frank Armstead, Burt Marshall, Gilbert Skinner, Thomas Bannon, Gail Williams and
Dwight Hartman formed the nucleus of the new club.
Marc Lagens family was the owner of the American Pacific Whaling
Company whose headquarters were located on Meydenbauer Bay.
Mr. Schoupp, President of the company, had purchased the adjoining
property, the Wildwood Park Dance Hall. He
was converting the dance hall into his manor house when he unexpectedly died
with the building still in a rough frame condition.
The new yacht club group obtained an option to buy the unfinished
The Meydenbauer Bay Yacht Club was
incorporated on June 26, 1946 and one of the fledgling clubs first actions
was to obtain a mortgage and buy the 400-foot by 600-foot waterfront parcel for
$44,000. They garnered a great deal of enthusiasm and membership grew to near 100.
But they were a bit before their time.
The Office of Price Administration informed them they could not remodel
and complete the clubhouse because of building priorities. The Nation needed schools, hospitals,
roads, etc. Yacht clubs did not rate very high on the priority list.
Membership dwindled and the founders had to make the mortgage
payments out of their own pockets, with no relief on the horizon. It was
1952, six years later before any materials could be purchased for the clubhouse.
During these early years, the small core group of sailors improvised with scrounged
materials to build some primitive docks and try to make the clubhouse halfway
usable. The upper floor did allow room for the sail boaters to swing their
masts by a boom attached to one of the tall firs, into the attic space where
the masts could be refinished.
MBYC was known as the do it yourself club, a name
we still consider ourselves today. With limited funds and a can do
spirit, the membership pulled itself up by its bootstraps, pouring a concrete
floor, installing heads, paneling, painting, laying tile and enlarging the moorage. They
had to clear the brambles and blackberry vines from the lower parking lot, so
that it could be paved. They installed water and power to the docks and
informally dredged the silt from beneath the slips by prop wash.
A new addition was made to the clubhouse, providing indoor
stairs to the second floor and a grand porte co-chere. Mr. Schoupps
garage was converted into a Managers Cottage. Since the early fifties,
the clubhouse has been remodeled and expanded several times to the grand facility
it is today.
MBYC entered the racing competition around the Sound with a
vengeance. They became members of the International Power Boat Association
and the Interclub boating organization. As our members went further and
further from our homeport, we developed a demand for outstations where we could
come ashore. The first outstation was established at Port Ludlow and has
been developed into a very enviable facility. This first outstation was
purchased for $17,000 back in the mid-sixties. Another outstation was established
in Eagle Harbor (Winslow) in the mid-eighties. In recent years outstations
have been acquired in Friday Harbor, Deer Harbor, Gig Harbor and Ganges (B.C.)
and we are still looking for attractive sites to lease, or purchase.
Copyright © 1998 - 2017 Meydenbauer Bay Yacht Club. All rights reserved.