Quartermaster Yacht Club, 2017 (Terry Donnelly Photo)

Quartermaster Yacht Club, 2017 (Terry Donnelly Photo)

TIME & AGAIN: Yacht club has long history on Vashon

  • Tuesday, May 8, 2018 1:06pm
  • News

Quartermaster Yacht Club was formed in 1948. The first facility was a short dock and float for landing boats and boarding passengers and a cook shack on the bulkhead.

Quartermaster Yacht Club, 1957. (Courtesy Photo)

Quartermaster Yacht Club, 1957. (Courtesy Photo)

Early on, the yacht club began celebrating the annual opening day of yachting season the first Saturday in May along with other yacht clubs throughout the Puget Sound region and has continued the tradition ever since.

Today, the yacht club works with the Vashon Park District to offer summer youth and adult sailing programs, supports good boating practices, offers a series of Tech Talks on boating issues, offers reciprocal moorage to other yacht clubs and sponsors cruises to destinations around Puget Sound.

The current facility was built in several stages. The original dock was expanded in the 1970s and in the 1990s; the Clubhouse was built in the early 1980s, and new docks were installed in 2016.

The original photograph taken in the early 1950s shows the dock with the dogleg to the right and the ramp down to a float. These features are still basically the same today. The bulkhead is also still nearly the same, except now it is hidden under a deck that is cantilevered over it. The original photograph shows one sailboat; all the other boats are powerboats from about 15 to 30 feet in length.

The 2009 photograph shows some interesting changes. There is only one buoy visible in the original photograph, while there are 18 visible in the 2009 photograph. The original dock with a dogleg to the right is still in place, but at the bottom of the ramp, the new docks expand impressively. A 180-foot guest dock runs to the right with attached floats storing the dinghies for the Youth Sailing Program, and there are slips for 93 boats.

Quartermaster Yacht Club, 2009 (Terry Donnelly Photo)

Quartermaster Yacht Club, 2009 (Terry Donnelly Photo)

In 2015, the club decided to replace the original 1970s and 1990s docks with new docks that are environmentally friendly. Grates allow sunlight to reach the bottom; steel pilings replaced old wooden creosote pilings; a pump-out system removes waste from boats’ holding tanks, and the new docks are farther out into the harbor to keep floats off the bottom at extreme low tides.

The youth sailing program boats and floats are to the right of the ramp, and there are slips for 110 boats.

From its very humble beginnings in 1948, Quartermaster Yacht Club has come to represent a major facility for recreational boating on Vashon with 110 slips and more than 180 active memberships.

— Bruce Haulman is an island historian. Terry Donnelly is a landscape photographer.

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