Saturday, May 26 , 2018, 9:50 am | A Few Clouds 64º

 
 
 
 

Santa Barbara Yacht Club Launches Another Boating Season With Its 144th Opening Day

The club has more than 700 members and hosts social events and boat races along the coast

Santa Barbara Yacht Women Officers Margo Banick, Trish Davis, Mini Michaelis, president, Anne Marie Castleberg and Tara Stoker celebrate opening day.
Santa Barbara Yacht Women Officers Margo Banick, Trish Davis, Mini Michaelis, president, Anne Marie Castleberg and Tara Stoker celebrate opening day. (Melissa Walker / Noozhawk photo)

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

Stormy weather did not deter an enthusiastic gathering celebrating the 144th opening day of boating season at the historic Santa Barbara Yacht Club, including a parade of boats and regatta, to acknowledge Club officers, directors and visiting dignitaries.

“We are the second oldest yacht club behind San Francisco, and I’ve been a member of this club since 1970,” Commodore Bob Young said.

“And my friends and family are here to celebrate opening day. This club is the home away from home for me.”

Founded in 1872, the Commodore and SBYC members welcomed friends, family, guests at the stairway entrance to an upper balcony leading to the dining area.

Guests helped themselves to a delicious buffet breakfast provided by SBYC’s talented chefs, and gazed at the shimmering harbor and Pacific Ocean.

The time-honored tradition commenced during the early morning hours and continued with an afternoon of boat races and water festivities.

SBYC has hosted hundreds of visiting yachtsmen from across the world for decades, and on this day members and guests boarded dozens of boats for a Parade of Fleet led by Relation Ship and Fleet Captain Richard Pertsulakes.

An assemblage of powerboats and sailboats glided effortlessly across the gleaming water with elated passengers in tow.

And in the spirit of game, an energized group sped along the water racing for Casper’s Trophy, as the clouds parted and the late morning sun reflected off the cobalt blue of the shimmering sea.

Out in open water, spectators on decks snapped photos of passing powerboats and sailboats, waved at one another and shouted words of encouragement as an assemble of boats swirled around one another with hulls tilted far over into the sea.

Water splashed over decks as they raced along under full sail, playfully cutting through a shimmering sheet of waves with their colorful sails reflecting off the mirrored water.

Rear Commodore John Koontz, Vice Commodore William Guilfoyle, and Commodore Bob Young celebrate the 144th opening day at the Santa Barbara Yacht Club. Click to view larger
Rear Commodore John Koontz, Vice Commodore William Guilfoyle, and Commodore Bob Young celebrate the 144th opening day at the Santa Barbara Yacht Club. (Melissa Walker / Noozhawk photo)

Inside the Club a schedule of activities commenced from the second-floor with a view of Stearns Wharf and the scenic mountains beyond.

The Presentation of Colors was led by scouts Jon and Dylan Seaward, and Dylan Koontz, before the Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem by Gary Smith.

Reverend Hank Mitchell offered a 2016 Blessing of the Fleet that began with words of gratitude, “Most Gracious God of sea and wind and sun: We thank you for this beautiful place in which we live, for this Yacht Club, for the good times we share here, for the faithful leadership of our officers and directors, and for the dedication and hard work of every member of our staff.”

Introductions for officers and directors followed, including Appointee Officers, SBYC Women’s Officers, president Mimi Michaelis, vice president Bente Millard, vice president, secretary Sherry Dedecker and treasurer Carol Kallman.

Also acknowledged were the Eight Bells, and Staff Commodores were welcomed by Rear Commodore John Koontz. Vice Commodore William Guilfoyle also greeted visiting yacht club officers, and local dignitaries, Councilman Randy Rowse and Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider.

The festive event drew to a close with raucous applause for Jim Yabsley, who was honored with the Jefferson Cannon Award.

The Santa Barbara Yacht Club has over 700 members and their families, offering an outdoor lifestyle in a beautiful setting to anyone interested in boating.

Taxi Dancer crew Tom Parker, Eloy Ortega and Jim Yabsley. Click to view larger
Taxi Dancer crew Tom Parker, Eloy Ortega and Jim Yabsley. (Melissa Walker / Noozhawk photo)

Not all members own boats, with opportunities available to crew other member’s boats. In addition to boating, the Club also hosts parties, luaus, picnics, barbecues, bridge, luncheon speakers, and more.

The SBYC Women were also formed in 1989, as both a social group and nonprofit foundation, providing opportunities for women members to become better acquainted and support youth sailors.

Over the past 27 years SBYCW have donated over $250,000 to the Youth Sailing Foundation, assisting sailing programs for the economically disadvantaged through the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum Tall Ship program.

SBYC is also host for the starting and finishing point for the Santa Barbara to King Harbor, Encinal to Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz to Santa Barbara races.

These events are estimated to bring 300 yachts, and up to 5,000 people, to Santa Barbara, providing direct support for the Harbor Festival and visitation of U.S. Naval Vessels.

Noozhawk iSociety columnist Melissa Walker can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

Members of the Santa Barbara Youth Sailing Foundation attended the ceremony including Ryan Eastwood, secretary, Oliver Stokke, Lauren Siegel, vice commodore, Lucas Pierce, commodore and Caden Scheiblauer, laser fleet captain. Click to view larger
Members of the Santa Barbara Youth Sailing Foundation attended the ceremony including Ryan Eastwood, secretary, Oliver Stokke, Lauren Siegel, vice commodore, Lucas Pierce, commodore and Caden Scheiblauer, laser fleet captain. (Melissa Walker / Noozhawk photo)

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