JPYC Club History 1972 - 1996

Membership of the Club in 1972 was 168. This number gradually increased to the current 221, which includes members in seven categories.  Annual dues, which were $1.00 at the Club's inception, were $35 at 50 years, $100 at 75 years, and $100 at Centennial year.

The most dramatic change in membership during this period was the decline in the numbers of power boaters from a high of 31 in 1974 to 2 or 3 in 1996. A national crisis in the fuel supply in the 1970s may have been the reason for this decline. In contrast, the number of sail boaters has increased to 158 from 60 in 1972.  And our once highly acclaimed Star Fleet, which counted 17 members in 1977, was by 1988 nonexistent.

What has remained constant is the enthusiasm of the members and their willingness to contribute time and effort to the various activities of the Club allowing Club dues to remain relatively modest and promoting camaraderie, which is a hallmark of this small Club.

In 1976, membership dues were reduced for members older than 65 who had paid regular dues for 30 years and were waived for those who had paid dues for 40 consecutive years. Seventeen senior members who had been active members for 30 or more years were honored at the Otto Kopence Day dinner in 1992. Those honored were Oscar Eskonen, Adair Hess, Lester Rickard, Fred Rowley, Paul Sloger, Jim Irwin, Bill Hackel, Otto Kopence, Jules


Outer harber late 1800's Clubhouse 1910 (extreme left) on barge in water. Replica Santa Maria 1893 World's Fair


Clubhouse on a barge. Venetian night on front lawn.

Massersman, Carl Julstrom, Marvin Glen, Robert Jones, Gene McCarthy, Bob Godwin, John Duncan, Bruce Hillstrom, and Scott Hillstrom. Fred Rowley was presented an award for his many years of devoted service to the Club.

The Clubhouse and docking and storage facilities have undergone regular maintenance and improvements, costs having been kept to a minimum by the efforts of many hard-working members who turn out for the spring and fall workdays each year.

Dues were increased in 1974 to $150 to cover expenditures on Clubhouse maintenance including a new roof and plumbing. In 1977 the external stairs to the second floor porch were removed and solid outside doors installed a security measures. The dining room was extensively refurbished in 1979. The front porch was rebuilt in 1980 and security was further upgraded that year with the installation of better lighting and a steel door. In 1990 substantial galley modernization was done, and in 1993 in anticipation of the Centennial celebration a $25,000 budget was approved to renovate the Clubhouse exterior including redwood siding and replacement windows for the second and third floors.

High water was a problem in 1973 and again in 1987 when sandbagging of the grounds was needed to prevent damage to the Clubhouse. In 1973 the high water limited the size of boats, which could pass under the bridge to the Inner Harbor and under the 59th street bridge. Low water became problematic in 1988 when water was 3 1/2 feet lower than 2 1/2 years previously. Many boats ran aground at the Outer Harbor entrance until extensive dredging was done. Dredging had been done in 1982 and was repeated in 1990, 1991, and 1995.

The Chicago Park District installed a south floating dock in 1978 when the need for additional docking space became evident and in 1979 began to install star docks at its various harbors. Two additional star docks and eleven finger piers were added to the Outer Harbor in 1983.

In 1982 the south end of the Club property was converted to an extensive dinghy storage and launch facility. By 1984 new storage racks for spars were planned and a year later new dinghy docks were built.

1988 was the year a computer system was obtained, which greatly simplified bookkeeping, billing, etc. It was also the year a fire severely damaged the Coast Guard Station across the Outer Harbor. Extensive restoration was planned but did not progress as rapidly as hoped. The Coast Guard fuel docks reopened in 1991, but it was only in 1992 that an Open House was held to celebrate the reopening of this beautifully restored facility. Harbor Master headquarters located next to the Clubhouse for many years were transferred to the Coast Guard Station.

In 1989 the Environmental Protection Agency promulgated new regulations about underground gasoline storage tanks. Inspection and registration of the Club's underground facility were to be done, and pending that sales were discontinued at the dock. The expense of rebuilding the gasoline storage tank to EPA standards and annual inspection fees being deemed too costly for the Club, the storage tank was removed in 1992. Between 1989 and 1991 when the Coast Guard fuel station became operative, fuel for boats was carried in by boat owners or purchased at fueling facilities at other harbors.

Ice House restoration was done in 1993 and a member workshop was installed in it. The barbecue pit was demolished. The Harbor Master's former headquarters became a storage building for youth sailing equipment.

The Army Corps of Engineers began extensive repair of Casino Pier in 1995 with completion scheduled for 1996.

Through the years the galley has been operated by a number of fine managers. To ensure adequate income for these proprietors, a minimum galley fee of $10 for each of June, July, and August was instituted in 1987. In 1991 the fee was increased to $20 for those months and $10 for September.  In 1994 a proposed member surcharge of $75 for support of the galley was defeated. However, it was agreed that galley charges were to be paid by credit card, cash, or check rather than being billed to member Club accounts to facilitate cash flow to galley operators.

The Foghorn continued to be published as the Club newsletter. The editors who ably collected information and edited the house publication were: John Duncan 1972-75; Bob Reed 1976-78; Bob Fouts 1979-84; Bert Andresen 1985-87; Charlotte Jones 1988-90; Kathleen Jurkek 1990-95.

Interest in boating programs for young people remained high. In 1976 Junior Skipper races for youths under age of 15 were begun, and in 1981 a Junior Sailing Fleet for ages 12-21 was announced. In 1985 this junior Fleet became allied with the Sea Scouts' ship "Neptune" belonging to the Explorer Scouts of the Boy Scouts of America. Another craft "Flying Cloud" was added in 1987. 1993 saw the return of junior sailing classes under the direction of Gloria Fallon, the Club manager. The affiliation with the Sea Scouts ended in 1994. The program for taking children hospitalized at LaRabida hospital for sailing excursions on members' boats in 1967 continued.

Otto Kopence Day began in 1987, the afternoon of that day being devoted to various games and activities members' children. Annual Commodore's Day activities included the design, building, and racing of cardboard dinghies by young folks in the Outer Harbor.The story of racing in the JPYC since 1971 reflects the heightening interest in sailboat racing and the decline of the Star boat class and powerboat navigational contests.

The Star fleet in 1973 followed its tradition of sponsoring top Star regattas and added a new twist by staging three regattas all in one weekend. Forty-one Star boats from eighteen Star fleets were represented.

The Hornsby Navigational Trophy was established in 1958 by Edna Hornsby in honor of her husband, Bill, to promote good relations between the power boaters of JPYC and the Southern Shore Yacht Club. This contest was discontinued after 1973. Roy Berkenfeld's "Roy's Toy" and Isadore Demovsky's "Bee Dee IV" being the last winners for JPYC in 1972.

The Cruising Sail Yacht Owners Association (CSYOA) has promoted a very full schedule of Club races including Wednesday evening races, weekend races and later in the season the frostbite series.

For a few years in the 1970s turnabout races were held in which Star boaters and cruising boaters swapped their vessels.

1977 was the year the CSYOA Commodore's Day and Cup Race began. This has continued as the last gala sailing event of the season. A zany racecourse is laid out and various nautical activities are to be completed en route. This is followed by the cardboard dinghy race in the harbor.

In 1978 it was decided to have two classes of Club racing, one based on rating and the other a handicap class for cruising boats, the choice to be made prior to the race. This was to encourage more cruising sailors to participate.

The Raske Memorial Trophy was dedicated in 1979 to be awarded to the Club winner of the Michigan City to Chicago leg of the Tri-State race and in 1990 the Otto Kopence One Design Trophy was created. Fred Rowley donated a perpetual racing trophy in 1993 for an annual race bearing his name. In 1993 the Andresen Regatta became a benefit race with half of the entry fees supporting the Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Program for disabled sailors, which was begun in 1990 by the Chicago Park District. In 1994 JPYC hosted the first Area III Race for the Judd Goldman Program during the Andresen Memorial Weekend at which the Freedom Cup was awarded.

In 1981 the first of several annual smelt fries was put on by Bill and Antje Hackel, and the following year saw the beginning of an annual Halloween Party. A fish boil was held in 1983. 1986 was the year of a gala 90th birthday party for the Club at the Clubhouse.

Frank and Tess Garner (below) were the first African American couple to join JPYC. Frank was invited to join by a concerned member who wanted Frank's Sea Scouts to be able to use the washrooms at the club. Frank later became the club's first African American Commodore.


Commodore Frank Garner and Tess Garner


1985 —


TwoJacksonPark sailors set sail in the Fifth Annual Single-handed Race sponsored by the Muskegon Yacht club on August 17th. Board member of the Single Handed Society, Ed Dybala in his 30 foot Pearson, Gamelan and restauranteur Allan Mallory in his J30 Pronto joined some 40 other sailboats on the 153 mile round trip from Muskegon to Racine.


1988 —

The historic US Guard Station burnedown. Immediateiate plans rebuit were on the table.


1987 —

In 1987 JPYC Committee Report on harbor options because of the trending high water over the previoys years. The Chicao Park District had propised a dam to protext the Outer Habor. The estimated cost, $700,000. MemberBart Hogland was Chairman of thus committee.

Gloria and Tom Fallon were named Club Managers

Yatchsman of the Year Award went to Steve King.

The Nautical Hertiage Museum at Dana Point, California is the home of the "Q" boat "Virginia" which used to sail out of Jackson Park around 1920....38 to 45 feet, Q boats were racing machines with beams no more than 9 feet (more in the January issue of Waterfront, a Californua boating magazine.)


1988 —

Jac Callahans Brien Claire is beached upon the rocks at Jackson Park habor entrance.


1990 —

Ed Palenik...Yachtsman of the Year



Charlotte Kones Kopence is Yachtsman of the Year


Commodore Hank Gattone in 1987 initiated a late Saturday afternoon get-together on the porch. Dubbed the "Popcorn Party" because of the purchase of a popcorn machine to provide snacks, this party with libations of assorted types and live music has proven to be a continuing success.

Among the regularly scheduled activities are hearty luncheons for workday workers in the spring and fall, a CSYOA Spring Bash pot-luck dinner, a Champagne Brunch on Opening Day, a MORF Round-Up Party, Otto Kopence Day Dinner, Commodore's Cup Day Dinner, and the Andresen Regatta celebration in conjunction with the Judd Goldman races.

Various theme parties have been held, none more notable than the Hawaiian Luau of 1988.

Robert Nelson of "Daybreak" was JPYC's first African American treasurer.

Burt Waters, a Chicago Policeman and skipper of "H2O", was the first African American to be Head of Security. Waters also played TAPS on his horn for Opening Day Cereonies for many years.

The Annual Awards Dinner in early December outgrew the Clubhouse capacity of 100 in 1973 and since has been held at such places at the Willowbrook Ballroom in Willow Springs, the Quadrangle Club on the University of Chicago campus, and the South Shore Cultural Center, formerly the South Shore Country Club. It remains the premiere social event of the year where members often have to reintroduce themselves because they are unrecognizable "all dressed up".

1998...The seiche of 1998 hit South shore raising the waters levels to as much as 8 feet, around 8 a.m. The water came in so fast, it was running like a river. The trash dump and porta-potty were swirling around the parking lot. Cars were floating around like boats. If it were not for the pilings, many cars, would have been in the lake and boats that had gotten loose would have been stranded on the parking lot. The level, however, receded as quick as it rose.

A new racecourse was established in 1992. It was based on Olympic Star boat racing with a radius of one mile. Consistent windward starts were instituted. Wind and weather reports on NOAA's weather channel from the 68th street crib were discontinued.


Also in 1992 organized cruising activities were instituted. Two such activities planned for that year were a cruise to Kenosha and another to Michigan City.

Beginning in 1994, spinnakers were allowed for one section of every Wednesday evening race. Thereafter the CSYOA awarded two Boat of the Year awards, one Jib and Main (JAM) and one with spinnakers. Also in 1994 JPYC and the Hammond and Indiana Harbor at East Chicago Yacht Clubs jointly developed a new regatta series consisting of three regattas (nine races) called the South Lake Series at the southern tip of Lake Michigan.




In 1994, JPYC saw its first all African-American crew of men and women compete in the 1994 Chicago-Mackinac Island Yacht Race. Upanayana, owned by Dr. David Blackwell, was captained by honorary club member and solo-circumnavigator, Captain William "Bill" Pinkney. Upanayana's crew (all skippers) consisted of club members: Dr. David Blackwell, Wesley Smith, Ted Graves, Dr. Nate Morgan, Yvonne Nelson, Pamela Rice, as well as Robert Bassett and Lance Lovely.

In March 1995 the University of Chicago Sailing Club joined forces with JPYC to host its first annual Spring Thaw Regatta for the Midwestern Collegiate Sailing Association. Ten teams from eight Midwestern colleges raced Flying Juniors. A similar regatta was held in October.

Club members continued to participate successfully in the Chicago to Mackinac Races. The Hillstroms "Vigilant" placed second in their section in 1975 and 1979 and third in 1980. Tom Chambers captained "Blue Horizon" to third place in his section in 1980 and 1982, first place in 1983 and 1984 and second place in 1986 and 1987. Townsends' "Virago" placed third in section in 1987 and Dave Morrow in "Latest Trick" was second in 1991. Tom and Marilyn Edman sailed "Pronto" to first in section in 1993 and 1995.

Chicago Yachting Association Boat of the Year Awards were awarded in their respective sections to: "Vigilant" - Hillstrom - #1, 1978 and 1982; "Silver King" - Hackel - #3, 1978 and 1980; "Blue Horizon" - Chambers - #3, 1979, 1980, and 1981 and #2 1986; "Virago" - Townsend - #3, 1983 and 1984 and #1 1986; "Airwaves" - Smirl - #1 1992 and 1993; "Punch" - Chernick - #1, 1994.

Edmund Jedrzykowski, holder of the #1 membership card and a member since 1926 died in 1985. He together with Carl Kallgren (Commodore in 1938 and 1939) had sailed "Princess" to first place victories in the Chicago to Mackinac Races in 1932,1934, and 1935. George Quandee (Commodore in 1966 and 1967) died in 1991. He won the overall time prize in the 1964 "Mac" with "Talisman" the smallest yacht in the fleet that year.

Awards continued to be presented at the Awards Dinner in December to winners of Club races and area races. The highlight of the evening is the awarding of the "Yachtsman of the Year" trophy, an award that prior to 1968 was known as the Hughes Trophy. It honors those members who have demonstrated extraordinary dedication and service to the Club. Those who have been so honored since 1968 are:

1968 Adrian A. Walker

1982 John and Rose Borvansky

1969 Jerry Clair

1983 David M. Truitt

1970 Guy E. Jones

1984 Stanley H. Gratt

1971 Fred C. Rowley

1985 Edward Dybala

1972 Carl Samans

1986 Stephen D. King

1973 Marie Mitchell ----The first woman honored as the "Yachtsman of The Year"

1987 Raymond H. Andresen

1974 George A. Quandee

1988 Lu Orrell and Eunice Jackson-Lyle

1975 Gene T. McCarthy

1989 Henry J. Gattone

1976 John 0. Duncan

1990 Edwin Palenik

1977 Lael W. Mathis

1991 Charlotte Jones-Kopence

1978 Robert E. Fouts

1992 S. James Bown

1979 Robert G. McDonald

1993 Ray Hermanowicz

1980 Bruce G. Hillstrom

1994 Kathleen Jurek

1981 Gerald W. Miarecki

1995 Richard Schaefer

A less coveted award was established in 1984. Known as the "Grate Sailor Award" it is bestowed upon that boatman who has been discovered to have committed the worst misadventure (blooper) of the year. Except for when no worthy candidate was identified it has not been easy to decide on a winner from many potential front runners. Mistakes have run the gamut from being grounded on submerged pilings near the South Shore Country Club to accidental discharging of flares below deck. The following is a list of winners sans their embarrassing bloopers:

1984 Ray Andresen

1990 Harlan Dellsy

1985 Larry Meyer

1991 Bob Manning

1986 Dave Morrow

1992 Not earned by anyone

1987 Albert Waters

1993 Jack Callahan

1988 Jack Callahan

1994 Jim Webb*

1989 Cruz Family

1995 Cynnie Wittosch                               

*Award temporarily renamed "Great Sailor Award" and given to Jim Webb for a rescue mission during the Chicago to Mackinac Race.

Participation in the Venetian Night decorated boat events was enthusiastic until 1986 after which JPYC was no longer represented. In 1972 third place awards were won by James Valenta's "Halcyon" and Robert Clark's "Mariachi". Dave Truitt's powerboat "Intrigue" was a consistent entry and frequent winner having won a first place in 1975 and a second place in 1979, the latter with the Chicago Lighthouse as a theme and with the Chicago Children's Choir aboard. In 1977 "Intrigue" was featured on TV Channel 7 (ABC) with its theme "Chicago Sings" and the Chicago Children's Choir participating. A first place award was won in 1985 by the brigantine "Pinnafore" with a theme "We Are The World".

In 1989 the JPYC Independence Day Regatta was part of the 100th anniversary celebration of Hyde Park's incorporation into the City of Chicago.

John Duncan, Gerald Miarecki, and Raymond Andresen served as Commodores of the Chicago Yachting Association in 1978, 1982, and 1987, respectively. 

A legal battle between boaters and the City of Chicago began in 1984 when the city imposed a 50% surcharge on mooring fees. A decision favor favoring boaters in a suit to block this surcharge was appealed by the city to the Illinois Supreme Court. In 1989 the mooring fee surcharge was repealed. However, mooring fees were increased by 20-25% that year, and an additional 10% increase was levied in 1991. These increases were to be earmarked for harbor improvements.

Members remember with some amusement 1978 the year when a sailboat remained icebound in the harbor all winter. It resumed sailing in the spring apparently none the worse for wear.

The Club and its members fortunately experienced few sailing disasters.  One exception occurred in 1973 when Paul Gordon drowned while crewing for Fred Hendler on "Circe" when a severe squall hit during a Star race. Carson Hoover's boat "Eslyn III" during a squall the same day on a race from Chicago to Michigan City was struck by lightning and two crewmembers were severely stunned and shaken.

Dave Truitt on "Intrigue", a Coast Guard Auxiliary vessel, was first to locate the crash site of a downed two engine plane on June 8, 1979 after an intense 2 1/2 hour search in dense fog.

As the JPYC begins its Centennial celebration in 1996 the major change anticipated is the privatization of the city harbors. The Chicago Park District has contracted Westrec Marinas to run the harbor system.

A Centennial Regatta is planned for the July 6-7th weekend, and the biggest social event of the summer is to be held on the Club grounds at that time.

The membership looks forward to another one hundred years.

CHICAGO, IL 41.46.50 | 87.34.42




6400 South Promontory Drive

Chicago, Illinois 60649

41.46.50 | 87.34.42


P: 773.684.5522



©2017Jackson Park Yacht Club. All rights reserved. No part of this site may be used without written permission.