PSPYC - Club History

Early 1940s – The Beginnings

The club began in the early 40s as a social club. Captain Clark relocated old deserted steam schooner hulls from Alaska Packers and Del Monte Packers, and formed a breakwater at Point San Pablo. Captain Clark then built the harbor. The schooner hulls were used for meetings and events. The nucleuses of the club’s membership were Coast Guard Auxiliary members who kept their boats at Bethel Island. Later, the Richmond Sea Scouts met on one of the old ships that had been taken over from the Club. The John Wayne move “Blood Alley” was filmed there. The burned out hulls of ships set on fire for the movie are still buried there in the mud. Anita Ekbert co-stared as a Chinese mother.

1945 – The Point San Pablo Yacht Club was formed in a wheel house of an abandoned ferry boat off Point San Pablo (now Point San Pablo Yacht Harbor). Plank Owners of the Club (aka Founding Fathers) include: Bill Hutchin, May Hutchin (Considered the Founding Father), Bob Sharp, Jerry Ryan, Dan Boone, Vern Nielson, Alton Speed, Bert Clintsman, Roger Williams.

1946 – PSPYC becomes incorporated and accepted as a PICYA club.

1947 – Captain Cook allowed the clubhouse to be built on the beach. The original 8’ x 10’ shacks are the present heads at the Cutting Blvd. clubhouse. Also built at this time were the covered berths and docks on floating 55-gallon drums. Ongoing building done on the property. Started doing Over the Bottom Races.

1949 to 1952 – Started getting a reputation as a party club. PSPYC always had live music. The biggest problem at the time was getting drunk and not being able to drive back home. Equipment after WWII was RDF’s and some old Lorans.

1950′s – Over the Bottom Racing was big, Harry Barusch and his boat Mary Kay have many trophies in our display case.

1957 – Will Heyne joined the PSPYC. During his time, the club was very active in cruising. Many members could be met while cruising up the Sacramento River to the Feather River. At least 10 boats would go up the Feather River every year. Andy Mellin, Will Heyne and Ed Thomas were the first to go offshore cruising. Then David Judd and Hal Hallikanen started joining the cruises. When Will Heyne was Commodore he raised drink prices to 50 cents. It was like the end of the world and they almost threw him out of the club. Beer was 25 cents. Biggest money makers in those days were Bass Derbies, Commodore Balls and Luaus. It was a family club and we did not have a TV then. So, the boat was the big thing. Being a workings man’s club, as it remains today, people extended themselves to own a boat. Club dues were $25.

Early 1960’s – Remodeled the galley at the old club. Frank Byrne (Mike Byrne’s Father) owned Sterling Paint Company in Emeryville. The mast from Frank’s boat went in the garden at the club and Kit Thomas then gave it to Will Heyne where it is now the mast on Leviathan. Larry Knight became the commodore at Aeolian Yacht Club at the age of 18.

In 1967, PSPYC moved to Cutting Blvd. and covered berths. Will Heyne’s recollection: “We had $45 in the treasury. The membership did nothing; we had a ghost of a chance. Andy Mellin loaned us $600 and that’s how we got the place. When we moved, it was a gamble. We did not know why Richmond (Yacht Club) was moving. We had an idea that it was because they wanted to make a turning basin. After it was proved that they could not make a turning basin there, Richmond Yacht Club was already out. We got to stay because the people of Richmond were upset because Santa Fe (railroad) controlled all the waterfront, and there was no public access. To partially satisfy the city, Santa Fe granted us a lease on a month to month basis. They did build some kind of Tiki bar with mats and scrap. Richmond (Yacht Club) moved out and Point San Pablo moved everything from the old place to the present. First improvement was building the covered births and you had to walk on old wooden planks to get to them. South Dock, was rebuilt because a barge tried to go around and mashed into it. The worst time was tearing out the area where our bar is now. Originally there was another building with two roofs. The current building is actually two buildings; the main building and the bar area. Galley, deck, new heads – every Commodore had a project.”

1969  Sewer Line Construction  Once upon a time we had no sewer lines and we were going to be closed down. Club members, themselves, built the line from the center of Cutting Blvd. to the clubhouse. We had to have a 1/8” per foot fall, so we had a 12-foot deep hole in the middle of Cutting Blvd. This work had to be done at night, and the members performed all the work. For those wondering why the women’s heads are elevated, it is for the fall of the sewer line. Will Heyne sold $4000 worth of bonds in one meeting for the sewer project.

1971 – Mell Jessup put on the biggest luau. Flowers were flown in from Hawaii. It was catered by Trader Vics. We had hula girls, sword dancers, torches and tiki lights. A special tiki bar was built. To date this has been the biggest party at the club. People sat on the floor. 300 people attended.

1972 – Phil Baker was one of our best Commodores, the best organized and delegated very well. During Phil’s reign all officers of the Oakland Power Squadron were members of PSPYC.

1974 – Bonds were sold to expand the galley.

1986 – Won Opening Day Best Group Entry, sponsored by Disney.

1996 – Warren Mooney, Bob Lewis, Al Tonelli and Jury Stein pursued purchasing the club with help from the railroad’s Industrial Land Development department. Opening Day, 2nd Place by Leo Moretti.

1997 – Catellus asks us to give them an offer for our current property. Catellus raises rent by 20%.

1998 January – We make Catellus an offer. March – Santa Fe sells property to ANT. May – Sale agreement sent by ANT. August – Final Sale Agreement signed.

1999 January 15 – We own the mortgage!

© Point San Pablo Yacht Club 2017