History of the Houston Yacht Club

Kennedy's "Ethylwayne"In 1897, after a summer filled with boating excursions, sailing parties and two hotly contested regattas, a group of yachtsmen organized what is today the oldest yacht club in Texas, the Houston Yacht Club (HYC). Dan E. Kennedy, a former Texas Ranger, was elected the first commodore at a meeting held in the Binz Building, Houston’s first skyscraper, on February 2, 1898.Allen's LandingIn 1905, the members reorganized as the Houston Yacht & Power Boat Club. Members continued to hold meetings in downtown Houston and moor their boats at the club wharf on Buffalo Bayou near Allen’s Landing. The purpose of the organization included promoting and encouraging both the science and sport of boating, and maintaining a cleaner and healthier bayou. Lumber magnate John H. Kirby donated his steamboat, the Lawrence to the Club to promote interest in Houston’s fledgling ship channel and Galveston Bay’s commercial and recreational potential. After two years the Club reorganized as the Houston Launch Club.The Launch Club, with its impressive fleet of motor cruisers, continued to meet downtown until 1910, when they built a club house on Buffalo Bayou in Harrisburg (now part of Houston’s East End) opposite Brady Island and today's Port of Houston turning basin. In addition to encouraging and organizing sailing, power boating, and canoeing events, promoting the development of the ship channel and Houston as a deep water port continued to be a primary focus of the Club. HYC circa 1911After World War I, the sailing members, ready to compete in regattas with other clubs in the South, began a movement to relocate the Club to Galveston Bay where practicing their sailing skills would be more convenient. In 1923, these members established a sailing facility in Seabrook known as the “Houston Yacht Club, Launch Club Bayshore Home.”In 1926, the two groups began selling their respective properties and pooling resources to build the Shoreacres clubhouse. Retaining the Houston Yacht Club name and the burgee of the Houston Launch Club, they moved into their “magnificent and commodious” Spanish building in July of 1927. This three story stucco building, affectionately referred to as the “Pink Palace,” has provided a warm home on the Bay for member families for almost 90 years.Houston Launch Club During World War II, the clubhouse was occupied by the U.S. Coast Guard, which converted it into a training facility. As in World War I, members and their boats went to war. Their power boats were used to help patrol the Houston Ship Channel, a vital oil port.From its landmark home on upper Galveston Bay, HYC continues a long established tradition of organizing regattas, hosting national and world championships, and promoting Houston as a nationally recognized yacht racing and recreational boating center.

Commodores of the Houston Yacht Club

Dan E. Kennedy (1898-1904)

Howard E. Gray (1905)

John Henry Kirby (1905 – Honorary)

Thomas J. Anderson (1906)

George L. Glass (1907-1909)

John S. Bonner (1909 – Honorary, 1917, 1919, 1927-1934)

Bryan Heard (1909 – Honorary)

Frank Amim (1910-1911)

B.J. Still (1910 – Honorary)

W.E. Humphreville (1912-1913)

C.G. Pillot (1914-1916)

Sam Streetman (1918)

Robert A. Bond (1920)

W.T. Glass (1921)

Henry Falk (1922-1923)

Norman Pillot (1922)

O.H. Carlisle (1923-1926)

W.E. Hamilton (1924-1925, 1938-1939)

E.L. Crain (1924)

J.W. Weatherford (1926)

J.H Tallichet (1935-1936)

Harry Hilliard (1937)

E.M. Funkhouser (1940-1941)

Donald Lee (1942)

Duncan Neblett (1943-44)




Roy Allison (1945)

Tyra Nelson Tynes (1946)

W. Howard Lee (1947-48)

A.C. Felt (1949-1950)

Paul Courtney (1951-1952)

Charles Markle Knipe (1953-1954)

Charles M. Smythe (1955-1956)

Louis F. Bonner (1957-1958)

Bill Parker (1957-Honorary)

Julius S. Gissel (1959-Honorary)

Lorne Van Stone (1959-1960)

George Allen (1961-1962)

G.A. Mabry (1963)

Stephen Brown (1964)

A.S. Barada Jr. (1965)

William O. Bartle (1966)

E.M. Fontaine (1967-1968)

Tom H. Crawford (1969)

Hobson Carter (1970)

Edgar W. Kimball (1971)

Tynes Sparks (1972)

Henry Westerlund (1973-1974)

Clark G. Thompson (1975)

Robert M. Middleton (1976)

Ed DeJon (1977)

E. Lowell Holmes (1978)



Ralph Atmar (1979)

Ed Bluestein, Jr. (1980)

Dean Snider (1981, 1988)

William O. Strong, Jr. (1982)

Bill L. Helm (1983)

James Tichenor (1984)

Paul Berner (1985)

Walter Springall (1986)

Marcus Lamkin (1987

Jerrold E. Landon (1989)

John W. Focke (1990)

Ned Van Maanen (1991)

Hank Arnold (1991-Honorary)

Per Huffeldt (1992)

John McMahan (1993)

Rudy Roof (1994)

Joe R. Deese (1995)

Raoul Beasley (1996-Honorary)

Charles M. Smythe, Jr. (1996)

Neil H. Akkerman (1997)

Michael A. “Tony” Nunes (1998)

Ginny Garrett (1999)

George Perdue (2000)

Geoffrey Goddard (2001)

Charles O. Buckner (2002)

Thomas O. Deen(2003)

David Haglund(2004)


R.B “By” Baldridge III (2005)

Dick Hanneman (2006-Honorary)

James Liston (2006)

Bradford Larson (2007)

John Nicholson (2008)

Michael G. Bordelon (2009)

Cheryl Thomas (2010)

R.B “By” Baldridge III (2011)

Pat Gibson (2012)

Bob Wright (2013)

Nancy Edmonson (2014)

Robert Williams (2015)

Gordie Keenan (2016)

Steve Gillett (2017)

Jack Yoes (2018)

Jim Orchid (2019)