60 Years of Tradition
Pacific Mariners Yacht Club, founded in 1963, is one of the few “do-it-yourself” yacht clubs in Southern California. Our lovely facilities are open to our members and guests most hours of the day and evening. The club has always prided itself on its spirit of being the “most fun and friendly” club around. PMYC’s reputation in the yacht club community is well known for its hospitality and friendliness. As a result, Pacific Mariners Yacht Club is considered a must stop for many cruisers who venture up and down the west coast of the United States and Mexico each cruising season. Many of the cruisers also make use of our club adjacent guest dock. Come by and visit us anytime!
Prior to the Beginning
By Phil Murray Jr, Founder, Senior Staff Commodore, and Life Member
In the late 50’s several employees of a Wilshire Blvd. Insurance company of which I was one, decided to buy a boat for which the purpose was to “party”. We found an old “classic” 30 foot pilot house cruiser that needed “some work” mostly cosmetic and the price was right $700.00. At that time there were only 4 of us but when other friends heard of what we were doing they wanted in so we grew to 10 pretty quick. We each put in $100.00 which was enough to purchase the boat and enough to buy paint and sandpaper to fix it up. The boats name was “Idler” which was pretty apropos since top speed wasn’t much greater than idling. After several weeks of hard work by all owners and wives we were ready for the big christening party which was held at our slip at Flietz Bros. Marina in San Pedro. We broke a bottle of champagne over the box and most of us piled on for our first big cruise of a mile or so to the Ports of Call restaurant in San Pedro for lunch. Those that didn’t fit on the boat drove. The boat ran great, we all had a “pretty liquid” lunch, piled back on the boat took back to our slip, cleaned it up and went home.
About midnight we got a call from Flietz Bros. telling us: “Your boat sunk”. We called as many owners that would answer their phone, showed up at the marina to see our pride and joy hanging on our dock lines mostly underwater except for the pilot house. After drowning our sorrows we started to look on the bright side. We had the boat insured for more than we had in it. The surveyor discovered that our head hose had been sawed thru so the boat sank slowly. It was discovered that several other boats on our dock had been broken into that night with a lot of electronics stolen. Since we did not have any electronics to steal it was surmised that they got pissed and scuttled us. We took the insurance money, added a little more from everybody and bought a 1938 Matthews 30 foot cruiser in pretty good shape and lived happily for a few years with many happy trips to the island.
When the owners would see each other at the office we would say good morning commodore or how you doing commodore. We didn’t know what a commodore was but we knew it was a very important navy rank so we were all commodores.
The Commodore Yacht Club
About 1960 my sister bought me a membership in the California Yacht Club for Xmas. Cal Yacht Club was just forming and was a paper club at the time. I believe the membership cost my sister $60.00 and I was member #60. Shortly thereafter CYC moved into a wing in the Marina Del Rey Hotel as our facility. Charles Hathaway who is the owner of CYC and a great guy started plans to build CYC where it now stands. He did a great job and the new facility was as good as everybody had hoped. Although the sailboat racing out of CYC was ok I thought belonging to CYC was too much like belonging to a supper club or the LA Athletic Club which Hathaway also owned.
I thought I could do better (and as you all know, I did) so I decided to start a sailboat racing yacht club and chose Tradewinds Marina as our home. Our clubhouse was the east wing of the A frame marina office building. The “Ships Store” had the west wing. Membership grew fast as the Commodore Yacht Club and we were required to join SCYA so our members could race.
However, when our application reached the SCYA board they said wait a minute, commodore is a title that all clubs use and you can’t use it as the name of your club and be a member of SCYA. Back to the drawing board. We had a big membership meeting to choose a new name for our club. Many possible names were submitted most were rejected by me as Commodore but three names reached the final vote. Tradewinds Yacht Club, Mariners Yacht Club, and Pacific Yacht Club. At the meeting it was to be decided by a show of hands. No hands for Tradewinds. But the room was pretty much split between Mariners YC and Pacific YC. Someone said, “why don’t we call it Mariners Pacific Yacht Club”. Well, I am no dummy so I said, “OK, its decided we will be Pacific Mariners Yacht Club”. Since PMYC would also be my initials sort of like Phil Murray Yacht Club.
Membership grew fast and our members tore up the racing scene with members winning trophies in every class in every race. We were beginning to outgrow our little facility but we managed as a “do it ourselves yacht club” as it is today. The Log was published every month on a mimeograph machine literally cranking out 200 copies. Our bar started out where everybody would bring their own bottle, strap some tape on the bottle with their name on it. The club would pop for the mix and ice. In 1964 we started with commodores other than me running the place. Our bank account grew by leaps and bounds. I didn’t relinquish that duty. And about 1967 we went to the Marina to see if we could build our own clubhouse at the far east end of their property. After some thought on their part they came back to us with a counter proposal. They would like to build something larger than just a clubhouse with space they could rent. We would have the entire second floor and we would help them with money for the financing in exchange for future free rent. We said sure and we would even do more. Once of our members was a fine architect and he would design the building at a cut rate. We broke ground in 1968 when I filled in as Vice Commodore as our Rear Commodore had passed away in 67. So I was Commodore again in 1969 when we moved into our new building where it is today. Many improvements and enlargements have been added since and I approve of all of them. Starting 1969 we had five years free rent. During that five years I think I made the biggest mistake on behalf of PMYC. The owners of Tradewinds Marina came to us and asked if we would like to buy the Marina for $1,000,000. I thought it was a great idea and went to the current flag with the proposal. It would require some members to put up some of their own money to swing the deal to be returned out of future profits. The economy was in the tank. I think Carter was president. So we got scared and never went through with the purchase.
I would like to mention a few people who really went above and beyond to help make PMYC what it is today. Paul Hoag, architect who designed the building, Helen Gonder who was club secretary and general do everything gal, organized opening day published the Log etc., Bobby Smith who was my right and left hand man. Organized races helped with the by-laws and kept me under control. Dave Free who designed our burgee. Maryjac Comer who made the beautiful mosaic burgee. Ed Gonder who make the name tag board. Andy Lockton, attorney who kept us out of trouble for many years at no expense to the club. Dick Sommers who furnished the club the first time.