History of the International Yacht Club
The Yacht Club was launched in January of 1958. A group of interested boaters from Washington State and the Province of British Columbia met in the City Hall at Blaine, WA The common interest then, as now, was to provide more moorage in the port for pleasure boats.
The club’s first Commodore was Earl McKinney, of Blaine. Earl was succeeded by Eric Griffiths in September of 1958. Under the guidance of McKinney and Griffiths in September of 1958, the club brought pressure to bear upon the Port Commission. These foresighted charter members were instrumental in getting improvements in the harbor facilities for the boating community.
The club has maintained this initial objective over the eighteen years since its inauguration. As a result the Island of Sucia, WA was purchased by a large group of boating clubs, including the International Yacht Club, and preserved for posterity as a State Park. Somewhat closer to home, but equally, thoughtful projects that the International Yacht Club has seen through to completion are:
Fresh water piped to all docks – 1971.
Overhead light installed on the public launching warf – 1973.
Public barbecue pit – 1976.
Apron around barbecue – 1977.
Flag pole – 1977.
Expansion of the Blaine marina and new shore facilities, including a Boating Center and meeting room – 2000
The island of Sucia, Wa was purchased by a large group of boating clubs (the Interclub) that included the International Yacht Club, and preserved for posterity as a State Park. This is the closeest Marine State Park (excluding Patos Island, that has limited mooring facilities) to Blaine Harbor, where the majority of members keep their boats.
Although the club was inactive from 1959 to 1970 it had one member, Myron Terry, who kept up the dues to Interclub, thereby maintaining the club’s Charter. Such foresight comes to a few people in their lifetime. Myron’s faith in the future of the club never faultered. It is no wonder that the members voted Myron and Mary Terry the first Lifetime Members in 1973 at the Commodore’s Dance at Forest Grove.
In 1970 a renewed interest in forming a club arose spontaneously. The time was ripe and the twenty who filled the International Cafe accepted Myron Terry as Chairman and Secretary. It is interesting to note that seven of the charter members were paid-up members in 1970-71. Myron kept the club active and growing through the summer and until the October election of officers.
The Club membership has grown from thirty-five in 1958 to around one hundred this year. The original membership was about 50% American and 50% Canadian and even today the ratio is about the same. We may be a unique Yacht Club because of this common interest. If we are not unique, at least the common interest gives every member an opportunity to work to promote international goodwill.
Our burgee has remained unchanged since it was described by Earl McKinney in 1958. One suggestion was for a white peace arch on a blue background. The other suggestion was a white peace arch on a scarlet background. The club chose the white Peace Arch on a navy blue background.
The order was delayed and members did not have their burgees in time for the sail past at Bellingham in May of 1958. They did receive a sample in January of 1959 but only half the order was imported because the duty was so high (42 1/2%). The other twelve were sold to Canadians in Canada t the same price. The club paid the duty on the American burgees to keep the price equal. Since the original order was filled and sold at $2.75 each, the price of burgees has escalated only slightly. They are available for $25 (2014). A small price to pay for the privilege of flying the club burgee to welcome others aboard. Stories are spun and plans laid aboard yachts while the burgees fly gaily aloft.
A club history is a continuing project. The writer cannot put her pen away but only lay it aside for awhile. “Eleanor, it’s time to lay your pen down!”, I hear them say, so I’ll say “So Long For now!”
Eleanor Middleditch, Historian
Eleanor Middleditch, Historian (passed away in 2005)
(Eleanor Middleditch was Historian from 1975 to 2001)
A club history is a continuing project as Eleanor said in her parting, and now I am taking up the pen after having made some minor editing to Eleanor’s text, and continuing the history to the present date (2014)
Through the 1970s the IYC grew considerably and was able to obtain a lease for a clubhouse in the Harbour Building adjacent to the Blaine Marina. The operation and maintenance of this clubhouse was made possible by sub-leasing the space during the week to a Bingo organization. This allowed the IYC to hire a clubhouse manager to take care of our book keeping and maintain the facility with the minimum of member participation. In the early 1980s inflation and a drop in the Canadian dollar made maintaining this clubhouse uneconomical.
Numerous meeting where held as to what could be done to continue with the clubhouse but as the IYC had lost the income from the bingo facility and the Canadian dollar was low it was decided to close the Clubhouse. At this time over 90% of the IYC membership was Canadian so a decision was taken to move the IYC to White Rock BC in 1986. A Canadian club IYC of White Rock was incorporated and the move was made. Attempts were made to secure a similar clubhouse facility close to the White Rock Pier but all our attempts failed. As such the IYC held it’s meetings in rented facilities and continues to do so to this day. In the mid 1990s the IYC changed its legal name to the IYC of BC.
Legal requirements of Washington State made it difficult to close down the IYC of Blaine that was incorporated in the USA without severe tax penalties so the IYC of Blaine was kept alive until 2006 when a way was found to transfer the money in the IYC of Blaine bank accounts to the IYC of BC. A part of the money that was in the IYC of Blaine’s bank account was used to finance a picnic shelter on Sucia Island that is located at the head of Fossil Bay. Is shelter was completed in 2008 and is available to all boaters who visit Sucia Island. The balance of the money was donated to the IYC of BC.
The IYC of BC continues to flourish and has a excellent cruising and racing program. Most of the members boats are located in Blaine Harbour but other boats are located at nearby marinas. Blaine Harbour is used as the base for our on the water activities and our meetings are held in White Rock BC.
Peter Corless, Rear Commodore 2014
Peter Corless, was Commodore in 1993 and 1994 and caretaker Commodore of the IYC Blaine from 1994 to 2008