Port Madison Yacht Club
An Interim History – 1956
The following are excerpts written by Hazel Tomlinson for Sea Magazine:
One day in March 1956, aboard the Evergreen State Ferry, seven Bainbridge Islanders breathed life into an infant sailing organization by signing its bylaws and electing themselves officers. These men “being soberly dedicated to the promotion of sailing, navigation, piloting and seeking only to enjoy and admire the manifold beauties of the sea” had banded together – so the articles of incorporation declare – to form the Port Madison Jib and Jug Association.
This summer, a decade and 60 member families later, the old jib and jug group, now more auspiciously titled the port Madison Yacht Club, will host the national O.K. Dinghy Regatta. To the champion of that race, scheduled for July 8, 9, and 10 on Port Madison Bay, goes a free ticket to Australia and the 1966 inter-national O.K. Dinghy Finals.
Today, despite a more sedate name and ambitious schedule, PMYC is not all that pretentious. Still dedicated more to the promotion of sailing than to frills, members advise newcomers to their clubhouse not to expect elegant decor and white-jacketed waiters. But if the building lacks elegance, it compensates in utility and atmosphere. The modest former machine shop is now self-conscious under a fresh coat of paint with a new deck across the front – labor contributed by a volunteer work party. In this room with its rough wood walls, members conduct business meetings, throw parties and potluck dinners and, on bone chilling race days, warm their backsides and stiff fingers around a blazing fire. Outside the clubhouse, located on the east bank of Port Madison, the club float unique in today’s automated, status-conscious society, PMYC stresses in-formality and the desire to maintain a status quo. Basically a family club, the year’s calendar features bi-weekly races for men and women, children’s sailing instruction, plus numerous family-type activities. In addition, members find time to donate talent and muscle to club projects. They respond to a call for volunteers wielding paint brushes, hammers, shovels, lawn mowers, and enthusiasm. This casual atmosphere is what members hope to preserve.
One of the original members has been quoted as saying that “no one shall be denied membership or expelled so long as the vessel in which he has ownership can float for 15 consecutive minutes in either fresh or salt water and does not exceed a maximum length of 220 feet nor a minimum of four feet in length overall at the waterline.”
PMYC – An Interim History - 1966
Members were not quite so tongue-in-cheek, however, when they drew plans for their class boat. It had to be small enough for women and children to rig and handle, stable enough for novices – young and old, easy to maintain, reasonably priced, and to meet the final test, it had to be an unbeatable performer.
Commodore John Powel, Vice Commodore Howard Springer, and rear commodore John Adams drew sketches and, with the help of Bill Garden, produced the design of the Port Madison Pram. When the first boat was completed, anxious members drew straws to see who would own it. John Adam’s sail, carrying the large, blue #1, is proof of the winner. Although it was designed to sail with mainsail only, the 14 foot pram has been with jib and spinnaker, a combination that every other Sunday afternoon, regardless of the weather, pram owners turn out to race. And a pretty sight the boats are – triangular white sails billow as sailors strain to make wind, tide and current work to their advantage because each race counts toward the championship trophies to be awarded at year end. Each summer families pack food, sleeping bags, and kids and sail across the bay to Jefferson Head for an annual overnight picnic.
An Interim History – 1992
In the twenty-six years since the above was written, there has been emphasis on large boat racing in addition to dinghy racing and there are races every week. This has caused an expansion of docks and floats to accommodate the large boats along with grid and mast hoisting facilities. Additional property has been acquired to preserve the natural beauty of the club’s surroundings. The clubhouse has undergone recent remodeling and now sports a completely new interior with large windows overlooking the bay. A large flagpole and landscaped grounds complement the clubhouse decks, where members congregate for meetings or picnics on warm summer evenings. All work is still supplied by member work parties.
Dinghy racing at PMYC continues to be so popular that many of the club’s junior members have long since graduated from prams, El Toro’s and Mintos to Lasers and are openly competing with adult members for use of the boats. Both junior and adult members compete in international competitions – one of, which is the annual Laser regatta hosted by PMYC. In both talent and enthusiasm for sailing, Port Madison Yacht Club can be quite proud of its heritage.
Who was Fal Joslin?
by Jim Llewellyn with Ann Mosley (Fal's daughter)
Every year someone asks me, "Who was Fal Joslin?" So this year I found out.
Falcon 'Fal' Joslin, Jr was the son of a railroad pioneer in Fairbanks, Alaska who built the Tanana Valley Railroad. He grew up between Fairbanks and Seattle and in his early years learned to sail on Hood Canal and in Long Island Sound. He was hooked on sailing. Prior to WWII he built a 34 ft gaff rigged yawl designed by Lee Coolidge which was named Aeolus (Greek God of Winds). It was launched in 1938. He was also an avid racer as crew on the Maruffa from SYC. Fal moved to Bainbridge Island following WWII and the Aeolus was a familiar sight moored in Eagle Harbor.
After moving to Bainbridge, Fal and his wife Ruby did extensive cruising on the Aeolus. Ruby died prematurely of cancer, but just prior to Fal's retirement from Colyear Motor Sales, he decided to sell the Aeolus for a larger, more comfortable cruiser which he named Alcyone, (daughter of Aeolus). Tragically the Alycone was pulling into a dock in Lake Union one beautiful October afternoon in 1973 and the exhaust system had overheated causing a fire in which Fal lost his life.
Since Fal was part of the beginning of PMYC, they were kind enough to establish a perpetual trophy bearing his name and to name a weekend cruise in his honor.
Fal will always be remembered as a fellow who loved engines, tinkering and craftsmanship. He could fix or build anything that involved boats. He loved life and anything to do with saltwater.