South Whidbey Yacht Club

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Commodore’s Message

Greetings from sunny but still frozen Minnesota. Some of our friends know that before we moved back to Washington, we had lived for decades in the Twin Cities where I am writing this.  I can still walk on water and snow covers most of the ground but is melting fast.  It is still a month or more from being able to get back out on the water.

In Minnesota, we were surrounded by water; big lakes, like Lake Superior and Lake of the Woods in the northern part of the state;   medium size lakes such as Lake Minnetonka and Medicine Lake near where we lived; and small lakes or ponds in the neighborhoods.  Not to mention rivers – the Mississippi flowed through the Twin Cities separating Minneapolis from St. Paul.

We thoroughly enjoyed fishing, canoeing, waterskiing, etc., on the surrounding lakes and rivers but they were limited to the warmer months beginning in May when the ice left the lakes on into November when lakes froze over. So unless you were into ice fishing as this lone person is seen doing, your boats were up in storage and sealed off from the snow and ice, resting until the next season.

Living in WA, we can enjoy being out on the water year-round.  It may be cold but at least we aren’t dodging ice flows.  The various SWYC interest groups are in full swing with several activities already planned for April.  Check the event calendar for more information.  New activities are being scheduled so check it frequently if you do not wish to miss out.

One event that I hope everyone will turn out for is Opening Day.  The official/unofficial start to our on water season.  Representatives of each interest group will have a table where you can come visit and learn more about what is planned for the season.  You will also get to see the Commodore recite the traditional incantation that allows them to withdraw the sword from the rock and get the season off to a proper start.

See you at the Honeymoon Bay Club for Opening Day May 6!

Calm seas, fair winds, and clear skies to you,
Pete Grimlund
South Whidbey Yacht Club

Vice Commodore’s Message
Notes from the Flying Bridge 

Reciprocal Moorage

We now have reciprocal privileges at more than 20 yacht clubs in Washington and British Columbia, and we are continuing to add to that list each month.  To see the complete list, go to and click on “Create account.”  It may take a few days, but eventually you will be notified of your new account.  You can then log into Yacht Destinations and on the “Details” tab, you will see a list of all the yacht clubs where we have reciprocity.  So, now is the time to start planning your summer visits to other yacht clubs!


Welcome New Members!!  

Please welcome this month’s newest members to the yacht club.  We look forward to meeting them at our upcoming events.

Al and Nina Fitts
Al and Nina moved full-time to the island a year ago.  They’ve kept a house in Greenbank on Holmes Harbor since 2015.  Until his recent retirement, Al flew C-130 and C-12 aircraft for the Air Force and they were stationed overseas in Germany, Egypt, and Thailand.  In the last two years they discovered they enjoy charter sailing with friends in the British Virgin Islands and the San Juan Islands and decided to take sailing lessons with San Juan Sailing to acquire the necessary ASA certification to charter boats themselves.  Al and Nina are also interested in kayaking locally with a couple of new sea kayaks.  They are members at the Useless Bay Golf Club and enjoy golfing and are also learning to play Bridge.  Al has recently taken up mountain biking and gravel biking and Nina is learning to get comfortable on an electric cruiser having never grown up riding a bike.  Al and Nina are looking forward to meeting and socializing with other SWYC members.

Jenne Holmgren

Jenne (“Jenny”) is a new arrival to Whidbey Island. She retired after a career in California as an Occupational Therapist along with some dabbling in the tech scene of Silicon Valley. She began life as a midwesterner, growing up in Illinois with many summers spent in Minnesota.

Her boating experience includes motor boats on lakes and crewing on sailboats on San Francisco Bay. Jenne has also had some cruising adventures with trips to Cabo San Lucas, the Caribbean, and Tahiti.

Her focus now is learning how to kayak. She expects to purchase her first kayak soon.


Jack and Ann Holton

Jack and Ann spent years living overseas for professional reasons. Newly retired, the couple has made Whidbey Island their home.

Both are avid kayakers and hope to become major contributors to the development of the Whidbey kayak community.  Already being members  of the Oak Harbor Yacht Club, their intention is to learn lessons from the SWYC kayak interest group, then collaborate with both yacht clubs to develop additional kayak activities. They have offered their help in expanding kayaking opportunities at SWYC by providing kayaks for those who would like to try out different kayak designs or just want to try it out.

Jack and Ann are also interested in taking the Adult Sailing lessons with SWYC this  summer.


Lance Porter and Vivian Stembridge

Lance and Vivian raised their kids  on the east side of Useless Bay  along  with day  sailing trips and camping in a VW Westfalia van.  Lance retired from his career four years ago with the Washington State Ferry  System as Chief Engineer.  Vivian retired six years ago after working in Alternative Ed and Elementary Ed for South Whidbey School District as an Administrative Assistant.  Both have been active with Whidbey Island ecological efforts, including habitat restoration in their community with the Island County Shore Friendly program.

Lance and Vivian look forward to participating in kayak trips and other South Whidbey Yacht Club events.


April Membership Meeting

Wednesday, April 19
Greenbank Progressive Club and Zoom

3090 S Firehouse Rd.
Greenbank, WA 98253


      • 6:30 Socializing/Sips & Dips to Share/ Zoom Opens
      • 7:00 Announcements
      • 7:15  Program

Guest Speaker – Greg Easton, Port of South Whidbey Commissioner

*Remember to bring your own plates, silverware and glassware as part of SWYC’s goal to reduce waste in the environment.

Greg Easton, Port of South Whidbey Commissioner

Water Access Improvement Plans

What is the Port of South Whidbey?  What do the commissioners do?  What is the current status and what are the plans for the future, and specifically water access improvement plans for boaters and kayakers?   Greg Easton, representing District 2 (Langley) will be joining us in person to answer these questions and any additional you might have.

To learn more about the South Whidbey Port Commission and Greg, click on this link:

Port Commission

Zoom Link:

Or Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 834 9791 0455
Passcode: 507780

For future programs, see the event calendar on the SWYC website.


Raise Your Sails! It’s Opening Day!!

Ahoy Mates and Mateys! It’s time to get ready for our Opening Day celebration.

Saturday, May 6
3:00 – 6:00
Honeymoon Bay Club
4343 Honeymoon Bay Rd, Greenbank

Plan to join us for our Opening Day festivities. This event is a happy hour/social in which we will show off the SWYC Boating  and Social Events for this year. Sailors and Landlubbers are all invited. Booths will be set up with representatives from club sponsored activities so you can find out how to get involved and enjoy these programs. These activities include Cruising, Kayaking, Racing (Pelicans & Lasers), Youth Sailing, and Windward Women. Come find your bliss!

Each booth will feature a unique chili for tasting and voting. Yum!  There will be a prize for the most favorite chili. We will also have IPA on tap. Please help by bringing potluck items to add, such as cornbread, salad, snacks, beverages & dessert. Bowls for the chili and cups for the beer will be provided but otherwise BYOE (bring your own everything).

We’re planning for a sunny warm day overlooking Holmes Harbor at the Honeymoon Bay Club but if the weather turns terrible we will move the event to the Pole Building at the County Fairgrounds in Langley, as we did last year. Still a fun time for all.  So watch the weather forecast and your email for any last minute changes of location. 

Yes, you can dress as a pirate, and the big question is: Can our Commodore pull the sword from the stone?


Gotta Regatta


Come join us for a day on  the waters of Lone Lake.  Paddle, sail, row, SUP – it’s a fun day to share a picnic (BYO picnic basket), use your small non-motorized boats, or maybe  try out a friend’s boat.  There will be more information on this event at the next club meeting on April 19th  and at our Opening Day Celebration on May 6th.

See  more about this event at this link:

Gotta Regatta




Spring is busting out all over! At least it is trying to. And kayaking with the SWYC is full speed ahead!

2 Upcoming Paddles

The first paddle of the season is Saturday, April 15 – a Spring Paddle to Skagit Island. We will depart from the Coronet Bay boat ramp (need a Discover Pass to park your vehicle) at 10:00 am on an incoming tide and paddle to Skagit Island.  Be sure to arrive earlier and be prepared to launch at 10:00.  We will have lunch (bring your own) on Skagit Island and also have time to walk around and view the wild flowers.   We will depart Skagit Island around slack high (1:30pm +-) and have an outgoing tide back to Coronet Bay.   This is a good beginning of season paddle with a relatively easy crossing of about 2.5 miles each way.

Participants should have sufficient skills such as knowing how to wet exit and re enter their kayak with use of paddle float/ pump/ etc…   We will make the open crossing as a group (or several groups) to avoid boat traffic and will have more experienced paddlers to offer guidance and support if needed.

Friday evening, May 5, we’ll be paddling on Mutiny Bay for a sunset paddle and a Cinco de Mayo sips and dips (margaritas anyone?) at Robinson Beach after the paddle.  Meet at Robinson Beach  at 4:15 for a 4:45 launch.

In the event of adverse weather both of these trips might be postponed to later dates.

RSVP to both or either of these events on our Group Me app.  If you have any questions about using Group Me, or ensuring you’re on the list, reach out to Barb ( or Katy Shaner.  Last minute updates will be on the Group Me app.

For the full list of planned 2023 paddles (so far, with more to come), click here and scroll down the page:

2023 Paddle Schedule 

And don’t forget our Baker Lake Swift Creek Campground trip  June 25 – June 27 and our West Beach Resort Orcas Island trip September 21 – September 24.  Both of these events are open to All SWYC members, as well as our kayakers.  Contact Katy Shaner or Barb Grimlund,, for more information and to RSVP.




Laser Fleet

Spring is here and the wind is blowing.  Let’s get those sailboats up out of the garage and out on the water!  The SWYC laser fleet will be hosting sailing clinics April 16 and 23rd for those wanting to brush up on their laser dinghy sailing skills.  And May brings the start of Fleet Racing on Holmes Harbor starting Tuesday, May 16, 3:30 pm.  We are looking for sailors who already own a laser or small dinghy to join us. If you are just interested to see what we are doing, contact Zak Malbin, Carol Dean or  and join us as a volunteer to help on race days with Race Committee, or helping to rig and launch the boats as you refamiliarize  yourself with the camaraderie and fun of fleet sailing!

Check out more information about the laser clinics and laser racing here:

Laser Clinic
Laser Racing

Pelican Fleet

Ahoy Pelicaneers!  Plans for SWYC’s 2023 Pelican season are progressing. Here is what we have so far:

Sunday, April 16 – The previously announced Pelican Clinic has been replaced with a Pelican Fun Sail at Lone Lake. No formal program is planned. The laser fleet will be conducting a clinic there at Lone Lake, and safety boats will be present. Pelicans are welcome to get some underway time but are requested to keep clear of  the  organized laser activity.

Wednesday, May 3 – Practice races at Monroe Landing on the north side of Penn Cove, first warning at 4:25. These races will not count toward any season or series standing. Besides practice, the event will be used to evaluate the practicality of holding additional race days at this venue. If Monroe Landing proves viable, a summer racing series will be established every other Wednesday starting on May 17th and running through August 23rd with July off for YSA sailing classes. Tentatively we will use Lone Lake until it goes toxic and then switch to Monroe Landing. Watch for a Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions for the series to be posted on our website and distributed via email.

The Gotta Regatta

And of course, the Gotta Regatta, on Saturday, May 13 will be another good time for fun on the water.  Mark your calendars!

New Safety Boat

YSA’s  new boat is a 15 foot 2005 AB with a 60 HP motor and trailer.  This  purchase significantly adds to our set of support boats and will enable us to run even safer events on Holmes Harbor and other salt water venues.

This new larger vessel will provide more flexible and safer support for the expanding general sailing & laser racing program.  A larger safety boat was required to meet the tough environment in Holmes Harbor where evening winds can be strong, finicky, with larger waves and currents.

This boat purchase has had a significant impact on our YSA general fund.  We will be exploring ways to get back on track with our plans to purchase a fleet of boats to replace our cute, but well-worn El Toros for our youth program.  More to come on this at our next club meeting.



SWYC Cruising Activities for 2023

We have some great cruises planned for this summer!  Join each cruise for the full itinerary or just for a few nights.  Or even just meet us for dinner at one of our locations.  All members are welcome to explore and socialize.

If you are joining any of these cruises, contact the  cruise director directly to get the marina information for slip reservations and to let them know you are coming.  

Starting with a May Shakedown Cruise to the San Juan Islands.  Jim and Melody Carney will be the cruise directors.  Itinerary:

Early June – Princess Louisa Inlet, Canada
Cruise – Lead by Bruce Morris and Barbara Bergmann. Please contact them if you are interested in this cruise.
Mid-June – Victoria, Canada Cruise:  Dave Davis and Barb Hardman are cruise directors.   Itinerary:
Late July  – Gulf Islands Cruise.
Bruce Morris and Barbara Bergmann will be the cruise directors. Itinerary:

September –  A possible Puget Sound Cruise. We need a cruise director for this one. Anyone??

Contact Bruce Morris if you would like to be a cruise director or would like to Contact Bruce Morris if you would like to be a cruise director or would like to participate in cruising with SWYC.

SWYC Youth Sailing Association

Registration for both Youth and Adult Sailing Classes
opens APRIL 6


Youth Sailing Camps run 3 consecutive weeks starting on July 10th.  Our students must be at least 10 years old by July and be able to swim.  All the details for these classes are on our website.  Classes are very popular in the community and always fill up quickly.  Register early on April 6thfor best chance of getting a spot.  To register go to and register for the Youth Beginner Class or Intermediate, if qualified.  P & R does keep a waiting list if classes are full.
The dates of the 2023 classes can be found here:
Summer Sailing Classes



Time to Sail. Are you tired of paddling? Tired of sitting on the beach and watching boaters boat? Tired of breathing engine exhaust? Or just ready to expand your on-water experiences?  Maybe it’s time to feel the quiet, emotional rush of sail power.  Gently tug on the lines, move the tiller an inch or two to correct course.  All this can be yours on a sailboat without an oily smell or loud engine.  Just the sound of the wind in the sails.  Now is the time to sign up for the SWYC’s Adult Sailing Lessons.  You’ve always wanted to do this, so why not now ?

Additional reasons to take this sailing class:

  • Do this for yourself.
  • If not for you, then do this for your partner. Get him/her out of the house for a while.  Nothing spices things up like a little adventure together.
  • Maybe a Father’s Day surprise? A little early this year but it could work.
  • It’s a great story to share with your family at Thanksgiving dinner to answer the question – What did you do this summer?

Class details are on our website.  Registration opens April 6th through the South Whidbey Parks and Rec Classes are early June.   For more information, contact YSA Director Bob Rodgers.

Windward Women


Appetizers & Beverages (and maybe dinner) at Callen’s Restaurant
Monday, April 24, 4:00

The Windward Women of the South Whidbey Yacht Club typically meet on the first Thursday of the month. This month, we are changing that up! Instead we will meet on Monday, April 24 at 4:00 pm at Callen’s Restaurant. We can enjoy appetizers and the beverage of your choice, or choose to stay for dinner. Your choice! This is a no host event. It will be fun to connect!

We need to let them know how many are coming, so please do confirm with Patty Maxfield, or  if are able to come. No need to send regrets.

Some could choose to meet early and do an explore of Fort Casey. Let Patty know if you’re interested in that as well.

***We are still seeking a SWYC member who would like to lead the Windward Women  interest  group.  Duties include maintaining the email list and planning an event every other month — or as you choose to do it, since you’re  the leader!  Contact Patty Maxfield or bilgerat if you would like to help out with this role. ***

Community Support – Whidbey Island Nourishes
Each year during the holiday season, the SWYC has invited a local not-for-profit to share their story with Club members at our Holiday Party.  Kid’s First, our organization in 2022,  was just recently able to approve a new program to provide support to foster children from birth to age 2.  This was in large part due to the generous donations from SWYC members collected at and after our holiday gathering.  Kid’s  First has again expressed their heartfelt appreciation for our support.
This year we are embarking  on a new adventure by inviting a local non-profit organization to share their story with us throughout the year.  For 2023, this  will be Whidbey Island Nourishes.  WIN representatives will be invited to join us at various events so that they can be available to share their history and good works with our members that aren’t able to be at our party in December.  We can learn about volunteering opportunities as well as the financial contributions so many members make.   We hope they will be able to join us at our Opening Day celebration to begin our partnership.
Read more about Whidbey Island Nourishes here:
Whidbey Island Nourishes

Social Events

Save the Dates!

You might want to get these on your 2023 calendar.  Please let Mark Conover,,  know if you will volunteer to help with any of these events.  It’s a great way to meet other members – and you get to plan the party!

Boating Opening Day – Saturday, May 6

Gotta Regatta – Saturday, May 13

Crab Fest ’23 – Sunday, July 23

August Social – Wednesday, August 16

Commodore’s Ball – Saturday, November 11

SWYC Holiday Party – Wednesday, December 13

Keep track of all the club events and updates at:!calendar


Member Opportunity – USCG Auxiliary Boat Safety Checks

Getting your boat ready for the boating season?  One of our own, Patty Maxfield, belongs to the US Coast Guard Auxiliary and is qualified to provide boat safety checks. These safety checks are for all types of boats – sail, power, paddle – and are recommended to have completed annually. Contact Patty via email if you are interested. She will try to group the member safety checks together for fun and convenience!

There is no charge for this service.


NEW  Safety Matters!  NEW


By Clay Canfield, Safety Officer

Question: When did you last check your PFD (Personal Floatation Device), aka your “life jacket”, for integrity and functionality?

As mentioned in my first safety article on our physical response to cold water, safety is like layers of an onion. The second layer is your PFD.  Whether you’re a skipper, crew, paddler or just a guest on a boat, your PFD, its care, and presence on your body are vital to your survival if you should find yourself in the water. Because PFD requirements and maintenance is a broad subject, I recommend everyone review the following Coast Guard web page to see what is required for their specific water activity.

Code of Regulations for PFD’s

Auto-Inflatable PFDs: Of particular importance is maintenance of your auto-inflatable PFD. A friend of mine fell out of his hunting boat wearing an auto-inflatable PFD, assuming it would inflate and float him to the surface. WRONG! He had not even checked its useful life, and since it had deteriorated from years of use and UV, it burst when the bottle tried to inflate it. Fortunately he was in shallow water and was able to stand on the bottom to crawl back into his boat, but it could have been a hard lesson to learn had he been in deeper water!My Mustang PFD is warranted for two years, after which the manufacturer says it has reached its Practical Product Lifetime. I think a good rule of thumb is to check your PFD annually prior to boating season while referencing its owner’s manual. Condition of the bladder and functionality of inflation are key. Another good rule of thumb might be to completely replace the PFD every five years.

Non-Inflatable PFDs: Each season be sure to check your PFD for loose or corroded fasteners, tears and to ensure it is still the correct size for you if you have gained or lost weight since you last used it.

Members’ Tips and Training

Website Tip for April

With all the club activities being planned for the summer…..

Is there ONE place I can go to to see all the SWYC events and event details? I don’t want to miss out on anything. The answer is YES!!

Calendar  of Events
Go to the SWYC Calendar of Events on our SWYC  website. Click  here:
Calendar of Events
Once you are in the event calendar, you can scroll down through the months to see all the club events.  If you click on any one of the events/days on the calendar, the details of that event will pop up.  As an example, click on May 6 Opening Day and you will see all the details of the Opening Day  event.
May 6 – Boating Opening Day – Raise the Sails!

Don’t be  left out of the fun.  Practice using the event calendar now.

Questions? email  That’s me, Barb.

*** If you know of any club member who is not receiving these newsletters or other club communications, please email  We’ll help them get connected.

Getting outfitted for the upcoming boating season?  Looking for SWYC clothing, hats or gifts?  

Click here: Land’s End Store

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South Whidbey Yacht Club

PO Box 316

Greenbank, WA 98253