Rockport Yacht Club History
Composing a history of the Rockport Yacht Club is an ongoing endeavor.
Note from current chapters author:
"Bob Goldate and I [Jack Lawrence] volunteered to write a history of the RYC for the website not knowing what a task it would be but we are pressing forward. Bob and I have interviewed a couple of old salts and have a few more to do and I have delved into the scrapbooks that the former historians kept of the club activities.
I have only looked at the books for the years 1976 to 1985 so far and I am just amazed at the activities the club was involved in the early years. So instead of a formal year to year history I would just like to do an overview for you and encourage you to go look at the scrapbooks in the office. Not having been here for any of these activities I am just reading old soundings and newspaper clippings and attempting to put together a story..."
The actual beginning of the club is not well documented at this time. We hope to clarify our beginnings through several more interviews. Please proceed to Chapter 2.
The club was founded in 1969 as a loosely organized group of local sailors. Their main objectives were to just have a good time sailing the local waters and as an organized group gain entry to other local yacht clubs on a reciprocal basis for use of their facilities. Well, the other yacht clubs caught onto their scheme and they were forced to formally organize into the Rockport Sailing Club. The group met each month at various members houses and as the group grew the meetings were held at the clubhouse at the Little Bay Club. Travis Bailey was the elected Commodore for the first two years. (At this point we have no scrapbooks until the year 1978. We are waiting on Holly Baileys return from Europe and will be traveling to San Antonio to see her as we understand she has a treasure trove of memorabilia we can look at. I will fill in those years after meeting with her).
The Rockport Sailing Club was an extremely active sailing group through the late 1970s and 1980s. They held at least a cruise a month starting with a January Frostbite and Hot Tub Cruise to Port A. There were cruises to members houses from other clubs in Corpus, Padre Island and beyond. The Tiki island party was named the Mud Island cruise and they cruised to Port Isabel as we cruise to Port Mansfield today. The spring, summer and fall sailing series were a big draw and what looked like the most fun were the sunfish races held in Little Bay and off the beach. There were whole families involved in these races with LeMans starts, capsized wreck starts and what looked like just a bunch of fun.
In 1977 under Cap Henkel the club applied for and received their non-profit status. At this time the membership grew and grew and they overwhelmed the clubhouse at the Little Bay Club. So they went looking for a more permanent home. Little did they know the can of worms they opened when they did this. In early 1978 the Navigation District offered to the club a lease for the Saltwater Pool and a portion of land around it. Evidently the beach and pool were not the beautiful recreation area we have today and the District was looking to improve it or have it improved by an organized group. One way being to allow the Sailing Club to build a clubhouse, dredge the pool and build docks. Well, it would appear that it was not a popular idea with the good citizens of Rockport and there proceeded an 18 month fracas with the Navigation District, Coast Guard, City Council, Sailing Club and concerned citizens all aligned on various sides of the issues. The proverbial mudslinging was incredible in the articles from the Pilot of the day. Needless to say you cant fight City Hall and the club evidently lost the war after winning a few battles.
They next tried to obtain a lease on a portion of bulkhead in Key Allegro with the permission to build a small clubhouse and office above it. That idea also provoked a ruckus with Key Allegro residents and the year ended without a permanent home once again. The club continued to meet as best it could in various locations until at the end of 1981 they were able to purchase the Rockport Fish House from the Rockport Yacht and Supply Company. This was to become their first permanent home. (See the framed picture of the Ice House on the wall at the entrance to the kitchen). The membership spent the next month and a half cleaning, painting and fixing up the Fish House and they were able to hold their March 1982 meeting in the new facility. They spent the summer furnishing it and some of the ladies came up with a very inventive way of obtaining items. They asked the members to donate their gold stamps to the club. Now being from Neuw Yark I remember S&H green stamps and I'm sure some of you do also so I can only assume gold stamps were the Southern equivalent. The ladies collected over 130 books of stamps and were able to buy teakettles, coffeepots, utensils and other items for the kitchen.
The club continued with its sailing activities beginning in 1983 but the most fun seemed to be the sunfish excuse me board boat races as they were called. Almost every member of the club participated in them that summer. One reason may have been the no A/C in the clubhouse and their unwillingness to hold meeting inside so everything adjourned to the great outdoors. Finally in Sept. Bill Coxwell obtained an a/c unit and the clubhouse became a much nicer place to meet.
Also in October 1983 a group of 10 boats and crew left Rockport for a sail to New Orleans via the ICW.
|Abigail Faith||Bill & Mary Southwell and Ed & Peggy Lehn|
|Afterglow||Hugh & Glo Jamieson|
|American Express||Bob & Ann Jones & Tony Stromby|
|Curlew||Elmer & Lucille Hartley|
|Delightful||Tom & Barbara Miller|
|Sante||Tucker & Nikki Coxwell|
|Silver Fox||John & June Meyer|
|Tennie B. III||Jim & Teenie Bailey|
|Wind Machine||Fred & Margie Hauck|
|Jade||Jeff Coxwell, Bill Coxwell & Large Crew|
After a stay in New Orleans most of the boats returned to Rockport but the American Express, Silver Fox, Curlew and Sante pressed onward to the Virgin Islands and the Bahamas.