Club History

IN THE BEGINNING

April 8, 1952: “KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENT: That we, the undersigned, LOUIS J. ROSENKRANZ, CHARLES E. LEVESON, JOHN R. SAHANOW, JOSEPH WEISS and WILLIAM C. STEIN, all of the County of Los Angeles, State of California, have this day voluntarily associated ourselves together for the purpose of forming a yacht club, AND WE HEREBY CERTIFY:
 
That the name of this yacht club is:
 
DEL REY YACHT CLUB”
 
The above verbatim quotation from the preamble and first article of the Club's charter indicates the high hopes of the five organizers (and concurrently the first Board of Directors, first slate of officers, and at the time, the entire Membership) of the new club dedicated "to promote and encourage, as its primary function and purpose, an interest in amateur yachting in all its phases..."   The presumptuousness (or vision) of this founding group is further indicated by the choice of the club name at a time when the idea of a harbor or marina at the place once known as the "Bay of Winds" was still in the "dream" stage. 
 

EARLY YEARS

Within approximately one year of the charter date, we had obtained membership of 25 (the required minimum) and applied for membership in S.C.Y.A.  We were promptly accepted as members of "a recognized yacht club" and within the span of a comparatively few years increased our membership to almost 500. 

MILESTONES OF PROGRESS
Through the efforts of hundreds of dedicated members, it is now possible to point to milestones of progress like these: 

FIRST CLUBHOUSE
On March 27, 1962, Del Rey Yacht Club, a non-profit corporation, and the County of Los Angeles entered into a 60-year lease for parcel No. 30 in the new Del Rey Marina.  The construction of slips was commenced shortly thereafter, and in September 1965, a magnificent clubhouse was completed and dedicated. 
 
YACHT RACING PROMINENCE
Del Rey Yacht Club has taken an outstanding place in yachting circles.  It is a member of the United States Sailing Association, the Southern California Yachting Association, the Yacht Racing Union of Southern California, the Association of Santa Monica Bay Yacht Clubs, the Southern California Cruiser Association and the Santa Monica Bay Power Fleet. 
 
The Club has participated actively in all forms of both sail racing and predicted log racing, sponsoring over 25 races each year.  Its members have entered such well known international blue water races as the Transpacific Yacht Race, numerous races of Mexico, the Clipper Cup Series, Sardinia Cup, Southern Ocean Racing Circuit, as well as the Pacific Coast Barusch Race and the North American Invitational. 
 
PUERTO VALLARTA RACE
Del Rey Yacht Club was the organizer and host Club for the first international race to Puerto Vallarta in 1971 and continues sponsoring this highly successful biennial event that has generated international recognition and commendation.  As a consequence of the good relations fostered by the race organizing committees, the city officials in Puerto Vallarta proposed that Marina Vallarta and Marina del Rey become Sister Marinas. Today, we are justifiably proud of this very special relationship. 
 
SPECIAL PROGRAMS
We can point with pride to our Club's active educational program, Anglers’ activities, Junior Activities, Racing programs, enthusiastic Auxiliary, fine dining room, general good fellowship and nautical sportsmanship. 
 
LIFETIME MEMBERS
On April 29, 1972, we celebrated our 20th anniversary with a Club party at which "surviving" pioneer members were awarded "service stripes" for twenty continuous years of Club membership. The award of these service stripes, as well as additional 10-year milestone certificates, is now recognized annually at our general meetings. In 2015, our most senior member was awarded her 60-Year Membership Award. In just 1998 alone, membership honors will be bestowed on six 40-year members, five 30-year members and seventeen 20-year members.  For many of our members, membership in Del Rey Yacht Club is for life! 
 
OUR CATALINA ISLAND FACILITY
On October 8, 1972, the Club celebrated another milestone when a large group of members on a Commodore's Cruise participated in the dedication of our lovely new Catalina Harbor facility, which has been constantly improved and enjoyed by our members and their guests over the many years.
 
CLUBHOUSE EXPANSION
Early in 1972, steps were taken to enlarge the physical facilities of the Club by the addition of 88 slips and end ties adjoining the Club property.  In 1984, culminating years of effort by many members, the Club built 56 new slips and accompanying facilities on the main channel in front of the Clubhouse. The addition of these slips made it possible then for nearly every member to have a slip for his boat at the Club, and has resulted in providing us with one of the largest and finest Yacht Club properties in the country. 

CLUBHOUSE EXPANSION...AGAIN
Over the years, the membership and their various activities outgrew the boundaries of the original Clubhouse.  A Building Renovation Committee was formed, an architect was chosen, and in July 1993, construction began.  Construction took about nine months to complete, during which time the Club continued its business and its activities in a large tent and temporary buildings that were placed on the patio and the parking lot. 

On March 18, 1994, the officers of the Club and the Auxiliary were formally installed in the new Del Rey Yacht Club, and the building was re-dedicated.  On March 20, which was Opening Day, the officers and members were proud to greet the guests of the neighboring yacht clubs in the quiet elegance of their new facility.  And so, the founding members who dared to dream of a Del Rey Yacht Club passed the baton to fellow members who dared to dream a little farther. 
 

On to the Future...

Like all histories, this is only the prologue to the future.  Many more exciting and rewarding activities of Del Rey Yacht Club will be recorded in subsequent volumes of our Club's History. 
 

Contributions by Historians:
H/C Charles E. Leveson, S/C Morton J. Bloom, Lynne Briskin & George Bloom
 PHOTO GALLERY