South Whidbey Yacht Club

The 2019 calendar is set and ready, with lots of exciting activities planned for the upcoming year.  We are still looking for someone or some bodies to captain the spring cruise.   Don’t be shy, just pick a place and let the party begin.  Speaking of cruises and parties be sure to read the announcement regarding the Orcas Island Kayak and Club Cruise later in this newsletter.
The Board has already begun thinking about next year and planning for the next Change of Watch. We will also be looking for possible candidates for next year’s Board. Please let us know if you have any interest. By the way, Club members are always invited to join us on the 2nd Wednesday of the month.  Feel free to let me know.
Finally, I am sad to announce the death of our dear friend Gordon Labuan.  Gordon and Karen have been members of the club since 2011 and there was never a reason that would keep him from attending our meetings. We will all miss his smiling face and positive attitude.
Debra Richardson, Commodore SWYC

Come to the February 20 membership meeting!

We’ll hear Captain Karl Kruger talk about becoming “The First Person to complete the R2AK on a Stand-Up Paddleboard”.

Captain Karl Kruger taught himself to windsurf at twelve years old and worked his way up to 420s, Lasers, Hobie Cats and a variety of keelboats…always yearning for a better ride. He began teaching sailing when he was 17 and has taught intermittently ever since. Karl now holds a United States Coast Guard 100 Ton Master’s License with Sail and Tow endorsements.

He has lived in the great Pacific Northwest for 20 years, cruising extensively in the San Juan Islands and Canadian Gulf Islands. During the summer of 2009 with his wife and young daughter, Karl sailed aboard a 36’ sailing vessel up the Inside Passage from Orcas Island, WA to Ketchikan, AK and back again. Karl and his family loved the daily adventure of investigating remote coves and beautiful beaches. It was on this trip that the dream of marrying skiing, surfing, and sailing was cemented in his mind and heart…North of Orcas there are over 900 miles of mountains you can sail and cruise among…

Gordon Labuan
…was a first class character – friend, story teller, author, sailor, fisherman, gangster and good buddy. I’m sure that those of you who knew him will agree.

Gordon and I first met at a SWYC monthly meeting. It was apparent immediately he was not a shy man. He regaled me with stores of his past and his role as a local gang leader, about which he had already written a book and his exploits sailing the Great  Lakes in his Kenner Privateer Ketch, all this in the space of maybe forty five minutes. I liked him immediately.

Gordon signed up for the SWYC fishing trip and slid easily into the group dynamics, dazzling everyone with his stories, good humor and infectious zest for life. One year, while reeling in a halibut, Gordon began to struggle. Two of us went to his aid and helped him drag the fish up from the depths. We did not think too much of it at the time, but later Gordon revealed to us that he was having heart issues and was taking nitroglycerin to try to stabilize his heart. We took him to a walk-in aid station. That was all that was available in our remote location. The medics quickly checked him out and telephoned the on-call doctor.

When we got to the ferry in Sydney, we notified the ferry aid station of Gordon’s situation. They wanted to have an ambulance waiting in Anacortes to transport Gordon to the hospital., Gordon declined, wanting only to get home to his wife Karen. We virtually waved to the Customs agents as we sped through. We all agreed that Gordon should be brought to the hospital in Coupeville. All except Gordon – he refused again. We finally called Karen, who directed Gordon to go to the hospital. Now! Gordon went to the hospital. I take the time to tell this story because I think it speaks volumes about Gordon’s courage and devotion.

In the years following that trip, Gordon had more health complications and setbacks than most people have in a lifetime. Gordon continued to show up at Yacht Club meetings and events, smiling and looking like, “Life is great, bring it on”. There beside him was the ever-vigilant Karen.

Just two weeks ago, I sat talking to Gordon at a party in his home celebrating his birthday. Same old Gordon, smiling, telling stories and having a little face time with all his friends. Enjoying life to its fullest. Gordon made it hard to feel sorry for oneself. Instead, he was an example of how to deal with it and move on.

Thank you Gordon, for that and your friendship. I am eternally grateful.

– Russ Ernest

-Katy Shaner

The kayakers of SWYC began the 2019 season on Tuesday, January 22nd with thirteen interested members getting together at the home of Debra Richardson. Avid kayaker and boater Joel Shrut shared his stories of kayaking Whidbey Island and beyond. Fascinating stories and adventures.

Safety Class

Plans are being made for this summer’s paddles, starting with a safety class offered by Whidbey Island Kayaking. The class will be held on June 17-20 from 2:30 – 5:00 at Goss Lake and the Langley Marina. Knowing kayak safety and being able to do a self and assisted rescue is very important to the comfort levels of everyone kayaking together. If you are interested in kayaking and have never taken a safety class or do not have experience with self and assisted rescues, please consider taking this class. Details to follow with spring approaching.

Orcas Island Kayak and Club Outing

The Club’s kayaking group has scheduled a trip to West Beach Resort on Orcas Island (September 19-22) and has invited the rest of the Club to join in. There are two inland lakes – Cascade Lake and Mountain Lake, as well as the Sound for small sailboats and anchorage for power boats. There is also plenty of hiking and birding available at nearby Moran State Park and shopping nearby for non-boating activities. The resort offers a number of housing options, including cabins, cottages, tent and RV camping.

The dates of the kayaking cruise are Thursday, September 19 – Sunday, September 22. Reservations can be made at  Contact Debra Richardson at or Katy Shaner with questions and to let us know if you plan on attending.

As shown on the West Beach Resort website –

“Our mission is to provide our guests with a truly authentic Pacific Northwest vacation. We offer fantastic west-facing beachfront cabins on a prime walk-out sand/pebble beach — a truly remarkable location. Our cluster of activities is sure to delight both young and young-at-heart! We are five minutes away from Eastsound, with ample shops, restaurants, and the market, yet you’ll feel like you’re really light years away from the rest of the world. We provide a laid back resort atmosphere that has been a favorite of guests who visit our resort year in and year out and pass the tradition on down the generations.”

Wet Hens

More Socials are being planned for the Wet Hens. The first Social of the new year is scheduled to be held at Pat Pritchard’s home on Monday, February 25 from 3:00 to 5:30. Address: 2685 North Bluff Rd, Greenbank. Bring an appetizer to share and carpooling is recommended, as parking is limited. Please contact Katy  if you are interested.

Future socials are being planned for Monday afternoons April 4, June 24, August 8, and October 28.

Pelican Repair Update
The Pelican, now known as “Wet Hen”, is well on its way to being refurbished.  With the assistance of mentor and teacher Derek Pritchard, Sarah Dore and Katy Shaner have learned about and used tools to replace decayed areas with plywood, sanded both the interior and the exterior of the boat and are now deciding on colors to paint the “Wet Hen”. Continuing to meet twice a month for four hours each time, Sarah and Katy are learning hands-on boat repair and restoration. Goal: “Wet Hen” ready for Opening Day!

Hot off the Presses – 2019 Directory

The annual SWYC Directory will be available at the February monthly meeting. The Directory lists all current members, along with their current mailing addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, boats and, for many of our members, “reflections on maritime living”, which might help you connect with other members who have similar interests. You’ll also find a list of the Board of Governors, the SWYC Vision and Mission statements and the calendars that are shared below, just in case you need a hardcopy of any of that information. If you’re not able to pick up your copy at the February meeting, Kathy Rodgers will try to be sure that you have received your 2019 Directory at or soon after the March meeting. Contact Kathy  if you need your copy mailed to you before the March meeting.

Please Welcome  Our New Club Members

Cheryl Lawrence – Cheryl lives in Freeland and has a keen interest in kayaking. “At this point I am most interested in kayaking. I am a graduate of the Kayaking Academy five-day Training Camp. I’ve also taken several basic sailing courses, most recently in the summer of 2017. I’m a good cook and will contribute to the potlucks!”

Peter and Mandy Ford – Peter and Mandy are experienced boaters and full-time WI residents since they retired to the Island in 2016. They enjoy boating in the San Juans and are looking forward to returning to Desolation Sound and the Inside Passage.

Welcome aboard, Cheryl, Peter and Mandy!

Mark your calendars!  Here is the 2019 SWYC Calendar of Events and Meetings: