Sat, Feb 24, 2018



It would not be historically correct to begin recording the history of the Vallarta Yacht Club without including the lengthy endeavors of Jim Ketler, and his visionary leadership that allowed him to persevere until he succeeded in founding the Vallarta Yacht Club that we know today.
Shortly after arriving in Puerto Vallarta in 1991 while Jim and wife Jan were living aboard their boat Justus II in Marina Vallarta, and, most likely because of his large statue as well as his even bigger stature and friendly personality, Jim was asked by the cruising community to organize a Christmas Party for the following month.
The party was highly successful and after that, one thing followed another which led to Jim co-founding the Banderas Bay Yacht Club in 1993. As well, several of the current VYC members also were founding members of the newly established Club de Yates, Bahia de Banderas. Two of the principle officers of the Yacht Club were: Commodore- Doug Danielson (Duchess of Barbob), and Rear Commodore - Jim Ketler (Justus II). Jan Ketler (Justus II) was a contributing writer for the dual language El Faro newsletter. Some other current VYC members that were members of the Banderas Bay Yacht Club are: Terry & Aggie O’Rourke (El Moro), Karl & Linda Raggio (Karlin), and Bob & Sally Wood (Luana). During the Yacht Club’s first (and only) year of existence a Firecracker Regatta was conducted, the Fishing Frenzy and the first Chili Cook-off were added activities to the now established Annual Banderas Bay Regatta. Membership had grown rapidly to a peak level of 115 members before, due to the lack of having its own facility, the Yacht Club folded. Some say it was because of the new restaurant manager’s endeavors to create a more formal dining area that Yacht Club members were reluctant to come and felt uncomfortable in the new formal environment.
Rear Commodore Jim Ketler, Gene Menzie, Terry O’Rourke and Rafael Davidson worked hard to secure a clubhouse sight in Nuevo Vallarta but were not able to do so. For a while the Yacht Club continued to operate in Nuevo Vallarta at the Bahia del Sol Beach Club and later at the home of Gene Menzie; where building a small clubhouse (prounounced "bar") on his dock was being planned.  But, by April of 1994, the Banderas Bay Yacht Club was no longer active.
An available plot of waterfron land had become available near the then new marina in Nuevo Vallarta, but most of the members either did not have, or were not willing to commit for that great of a capital outlay.


However, Jim Ketler never lost sight of his dream to establish a world class yacht club on Banderas Bay and, sure enough, he was the main catalyst in bringing Vallarta Yacht Club to the Paradise Marina.

Nearly six years passed before Jim Ketler’s dream of a
world class yacht club on Banderas Bay would again emerge. And, again, it was Jim’s initiative that caused a small group of Paradise Village Marina boaters to begin the early discussions of the probability for success.
There were several things going in favor of this new endeavor that had materialized over the past few years. The Paradise Village Resort development was growing rapidly, and along with the hotel and condominium complexes, the simple 23 slip A Dock grew into a full world class marina of over 250 slips which were almost immediately filled with cruising boats from Canada and the United States. In 1997, Paradise Village management had hired a professional Marina Manager who was strongly in favor of a private yacht club being located near the Marina. And, thirdly; an abundant resource of retired managers and professionals had arrived aboard the boats now berthed in the Marina.
The Ketlers had now moved into their new home on the lagoon, so organizing meetings were held there and aboard the Greens’ trawler which was berthed close to the Marina Manager’s office. Early on regular attendees of this nuclear group consisted of Jim Ketler, Nick Rau, Dan Green, and Dick Markie. They were later joined by Doug Campbell, Lupe Dipp, Tom Mortinson and Lew Jennings.
Of course, finding and acquiring a physical facility was of the utmost importance. But other challenges were identified via market research activities of interviews with past members of the former Banderas Bay Yacht Club, boaters with boats at the three area marinas and local marine industry business owners; and familiarity with other established and recently started yacht clubs in the United States. Chief among these other challenges were: Establishment of Mexican Business and Not-for-Profit associations, raising working capital, membership recruitment, staffing and licensing. A Business Plan was developed around these and other issues (and occasional SWAG assumptions) and, later, the construction of the Club Constitution and a Set of Bylaws.
As it turned out, finding a suitable location and building a facility was fairly uneventful. Senor Graciano Sovernigo was receptive to the idea to have a Yacht Club within the Paradise Village complex. But not at all convinced, or in favor of the Club being either owned or operated by boaters. After being told of Don Graziano’s agreement to provide a facility, our organizing group drew up a basic floor plan depicting our requirements which were, for the most part, completely ignored. Our organizing group also offered suggestions for a location site either immediately south of El Pescatore restaurant or, the restaurant itself. Again, these suggestions were not accepted by Paradise Village. However, when Don Graciano learned a bit more of what a Yacht Club’s purpose and objectives were, he came up with the final site location that was acceptable to Paradise Village and our organizing group .Located on expensive waterfront property that was partially owned by Paradise Village and Marina Residence each was a rarely used palapa structure. Expansion or other improvement to the palapa was prevented due to the adjoining property being publicly owned. However, due to the Yacht Club’s non-profit association’s status, it seemed a building permit could be attained.
But convincing Graziano of the traditional purposes of a yacht club and why the yacht club needs to be governed by its members was a whole other challenge. The facility’s construction was well underway and Graziano had given absolutely no indication of his understanding of our arguments. Even when the concrete letters of the building’s identification name were formed, they spelled only the generic “YACHT CLUB” instead of our request that “VALLARTA YACHT CLUB” be inscribed.
Nevertheless, Jim Ketler and his organizing group continued to promote the yacht club idea and the response from local boaters varied from interested to enthusiastic. Work continued in refining the Business Plan and developing the Constitution and Bylaws. But, progress in convincing Graziano of the need for member governess of the Club was stymied. And, at times, seemed to be an impossibility. Realizing this situation, one of the organizing group’s’ most influential members and holding the closest business relationship with Graziano, retracted his support of the effort. And Graziano became even more fearful of the Club becoming a hangout for “undesirables” consuming their “10 peso beers”. In recognition of Graziano’s adamant resistance, Jim Ketler gallantly removed himself from being an active member of the organizing group.
With Jim’s voluntary withdrawal, the Organizing Group was able to crack open the door to guarded discussions with Graziano. Lew Jennings assumed the role of Acting Commodore of the Organizing Group, but as lease negotiations seemed to again be stymied, he also withdrew from the Organizing Group. But the few remaining active members of the Group continued to work through the contract conflicts and eventually were able to remove all but two of the “deal breaker” issues. A Letter of Intent was signed by both parties and the final stages of the facility construction were underway.
The two final issues to be resolved were: 1. Operational management of the bar and restaurant and, 2) Provision of a Bond guarantee for equipment and furnishings. A private meeting of Organizing Group members Dick Markie, Nick Rau and Dan Green with Graziano was arranged for a Sunday morning in an attempt to resolve these two remaining issues.
Although Bond Guarantees of this nature are available in Mexico, their premiums are extremely high and were just not affordable. However, each of the three members offered to sign a personal responsibility Note in an amount of $15,000.00 USD which was accepted in lieu of a Bond Guarantee.
The Organizing Group was surprised to see that Graziano brought the Hotel Operations Manager with him to this private meeting. But, soon found out why when Graziano proceeded to explain all of the reservations he had with the Organizing Group’s ability and qualifications to properly manage a bar and restaurant operation. And that, therefore, he had decided that the Hotel Operations management staff must manage the bar and restaurant business of the Club. At this point, Dan Green presented the developed Business Plan and managed to address and refute all of Graziano’s objections to the Organizing Group’s ability to self govern and manage the entire operation including the bar and restaurant business. In a surprise, but welcome, change of direction, Graziano listened intently and conceded to the Organizing Group’s argument and dropped his earlier requirement that the Hotel manage the Yacht Club’s business.
With the above two remaining issues satisfactorily resolved, a final lease was drawn and prepared for signature calling for monthly lease payments of $1.00 USD the first year and $1,000.00 USD per month for the second year. And, from then on, the terms of the lease to be renewed or renegotiated annually. When Nick Rau paid the $12.00 USD for the first year’s lease, the keys to the newly completed and furnished Yacht Club facility were received and work began in earnest to finalize the Constitution and Bylaws, adopt a Club Burgee design, establish the legal Mexican association of Vallarta Club de Yates A.C., raise the working capital from pledged Plank Owners, acquire business and liquor licenses and prepare for the first General Members Meeting for the election of the first group of Vallarta Yacht Club Officers.
In early November, 2002 the Organizing Committee invited Dave Wheeler to accept the position of Commodore Nominee of the Vallarta Yacht Club.


The first Annual General Membership Meeting was called to order by Commodore Nominee Dave Wheeler in the early afternoon of Saturday, the 23rd of November 2002.

There were a total of 45 active and potential members present including all nominated or appointed Fleet Officers and Board of Directors except Sra. Lupe Dipp.
A total of 23 qualified voter ballots were received and counted in accordance with the proposed Club Constitution. All of the Board nominated officers were elected as follows:
Commodore Dave Wheeler
Vice Commodore Nick Rau
Vice Commodore – Finance & Treasurer Tom Mortensen
Secretary Dan Green
Rear Commodore – Activities Doug Campbell
Rear Commodore – Marketing Jane Forster
Additional Board of Director that were elected:
David Hare
Mary Ladner
Jack Mathews
Per the proposed Club Constitution, Commodore Dave Wheeler then appointed the following to the Board:
Lupe Dipp Mexican Government Affairs
Dick Markie Paradise Village Liaison
The proposed written Constitution and Bylaws were distributed with the explanation of their necessity to provide the baseline to conduct the Club’s affairs in the future. After further discussion, a motion was made and carried by affirmative vote to ratify the Constitution and Bylaws.
Paid and active membership as of 1200 hours that date was: 17 Plank, 11 Flag, 6 Associate and 3 Honorary. Following the Meeting 4 additional Plank and 1 Flag member applications were approved bringing the total charter membership count to forty-two as of 23 November 2002.
This first year of the Club’s existence was, as might be expected, one of turmoil and plagued by resignations of four of its original officers. The resignations were led by Dan Green announcing in December 2002, that he was resigning from his elected office of Secretary in order to commence an indefinite extended leave of absence so that he and wife Linda could continue their cruising lifestyle aboard their boat, MV Passages. Then, in February 2003, Nick Rau offered his resignation as Vice Commodore due to pressing business needs of his yacht brokerage, Vallarta Yachts. In March 2003, a growing feud between two of the Board members resulted in Commodore Dave Wheeler resigning from his elected position.
Fortunately, by this time Jim Ketler was ready to take his rightful place as the Club’s Commodore, Doug Campbell stepped up as Vice Commodore, and Carol King temporarily assumed the position of Treasurer. Sally Wood became the second Club Secretary and managed to maintain order amongst all the turmoil. This new slate of officers also temporarily increased the size of the Board to thirteen in order to appoint Mike Danielson as a Board Director.
Mike Danielson was first appointed to the Board for his technical sailing knowledge and interest which was much needed. The ideas of creating a Vallarta Race Week and establishing a Junior Sailing program were the first of Mike’s many offerings. Committees were formed to focus on Ashore and Afloat Activities, Membership, Marketing, Reciprocity, and General House operations.
Because few of the Board members were actual full-time residents of the area, the Board elected an Executive Committee from amongst its Board members. This Executive Committee was given the authority of the full Board to 1.) Set interim policies subject to the subsequent approval at the next full Board meeting, 2) expend budgeted capital and expense funding of $2,500.00 USD (later increased to $5,000.00 ISD and unbudgeted expenditures of 10% of the current VYC net cash assets. 3) Negotiate Leases, Food & Beverage, Service and other major Contract Agreements. 4) Make changes to the approved annual Activity calendar and 5) make obligatory commitments to other Yacht Clubs and Boating organizations.


2003 -2005
With the top two Club Officer positions then filled, rebuilding of enthusiasm of the membership and Board was begun. But because there had not been any organized effort to focus on activities, the Board’s attention seemed to center on leasehold improvements and other House actions much under the direction of Diane Campbell. A display case for the newly received clothing merchandise was acquired, sound absorbent acoustic materials were installed, a stereo sound system was provided along with three televisions placed in three corners of the dining room, and a new refrigerator was purchased to replace the old power hungry unit. The Club also became the home of the first Puddle Jump gatherings and reciprocity agreements with other yacht clubs were well underway. The December Chili Cook-off was again a big success with an estimated 1000 attendees in the outside amphitheater of Paradise Village. But, the only water activity was the Sculling Race preceding the Banderas Bay Regatta.
As noted earlier, Carol King accepted the position of Treasurer and, together with the Vice Commodore of Finance, Tom Mortensen recommended reduced staffing of the bar and restaurant service as well as a more limited menu offering. And, continued efforts were made to find a Point-of-Sale system that accommodated both Mexican and American currencies. The now well known rendering of the front of the Vallarta Yacht Club facility was painted by Mary Ladner and a committee of three led by Sally Wood undertook the improved modifications to the Club’s Constitution and Bylaws. In April of 2003, the Club offered Internet Café services with three computer stations and an economical international telephone service. But yet, there were no volunteers to accept the position of Rear Commodore – Activities.
By the summer of 2003, there still had been no activities planned. But a 24 foot panga with a 55 HP outboard engine had been acquired but needed some restoration work which was thought to be minimal. Membership, at this time had climbed to 120 members.
In the fall of 2003, both the Vice Commodore – Finance Tom Mortensen and the Treasurer, Carol King submitted their resignations. And, in November, Mike Danielson, the Board’s Afloat activities Director also resigned not only from the Board but his Club membership as well. His reasons justifiably had merit as none of his suggestions for Mexican Yachting involvement or establishing a Junior Sailing program were enacted and seemed to lack the Board’s support.
Then, in late fall, the Commodore and Club visionary was diagnosed with cancer and needed to return to the United States for chemotherapy treatments. In May, Jim had completed four chemo treatments and was able to return to Mexico to resume his leadership of the Club. Jim remained healthy and active until April of 2005, when he was again diagnosed with returning cancer.  Doug Campbell again assumed the position of acting Commodore and Barry Grant was appointed to head the Afloat activities and Mary Ladner volunteered to head-up the Ashore activities.
The Annual General Membership meeting was compromised when there were not enough qualified voting members attending to attain a quorum as required by the Constitution. Consequently the planned election of a new slate of Officers and Directors needed to be postponed until either the Constitution or Bylaws could be amended or a quorum for the next meeting could be assured.
The Annual General Membership meeting was compromised when there were not enough qualified voting members attending to attain a quorum as required by the constitution. Consiquently the planned election of a new slate of Officers and Directors needed to be postponed until either the Constitution or Bylaws could be amended or a quorum for the next meeting could be assured.
In February, a second General Membership meeting was scheduled.  Preceeding this Meeting was an Extraordinary Meeting at which the applicable sections of the Constitution and Bylaws were amended by re-establishing the requirements for attaining a quorum at General Membership and Board meetings.  And, another motion was passed to eliminate the officer positions of Vice Commodore - Finance and Rear Commodore - Marketing.  And to place those responsibiities within the scope of the Treasurer and a Board Director respectively.
Having passed the above amendments to the Constitution and Bylaws, the Extraordinary Meeting was closed and the General Meeting was opened for elections for the coming year. With the Commodore, Vice Commodore, Secretary and four of the previous Board members being re-elected as well as Nick Rau as Treasurer and new Board members John Moore and John Bollinger easily elected. The VYC Board then numbered a total of 11 elected and 2 appointed members. Terry O’Rourke accepted the appointment of Director for Mexican affairs to replace Lupe Dipp, who had resigned to take a leave of absence while cruising outside the country.
At the new Board’s first meeting later in February of 2004, the Treasurer was happy to announce that the Club was operating in the black for the first time. John Moore made a motion to grant a lifetime membership to Doug and Diane Campbell which was seconded and carried by vote of the Board.
In a subsequent Board Meeting, John Moore announced that he would donate two Laser boats to help establish a Junior Sailing Program and that the Club should also consider creating a one-design class and a fishing club. The Board directed him to make a written proposal for the next Board meeting. His proposal for a one design class called for two members to purchase a boat each and for the Club to purchase another two boats was rejected as too costly. However, the Board did support his efforts to form a Fishing Club and to establish a fleet of boats for a Junior Sailing Program.
Although still not an Afloat activity, the Board did make plans for and promoted a “three days to Paradise Rally” for the 2004 Baja Ha Ha group after the new cruisers reach their destination at Cabo San Lucas. This effort paid off very smartly by giving the Club’s membership a definite splurge of activity as the boats filled the marina and got acquainted with the yacht club.
Getting closer to some Afloat activity, the Board did authorize VYC membership in .the Mexican Sailing Federation which, under ISAF, is Mexico’s sailing authority.
By January 2005, through individual members’ donations, the Club had acquired 5 Optimist boats that were made available for both training children to sail and for setting-up a weekly regatta for those over 55 years of age. The marina was asked, and did provide adequate storage for these boats along Dock C. Shortly thereafter, this fleet of Optimist boats was increased to a total of eight boats. One member offered to provide sailing instructions to children, but enlisting students’ enrollment proved to be difficult.
The Sunday night members’ dinner had become firmly established with popular attendance. Joining the Annual Chili Cook-off as a tradition of the Club was the Annual Art and Wine Festival organized by Mary and Rob Ladner. Other popular in-house activities included the beading classes, movie and bingo nights.
During the first quarter of 2005, the Club started offering WiFi services to the marina slips area which provided another nice stream of revenue as well as a benefit to those living aboard their boats.
But, other than participating in the Banderas Bay Regatta, the Club’s Afloat activities seemed to be non-existent.
The Club’s Annual General Membership Meeting in February of 2005 reported that the Club had “Put to Sleep” the for-profit Mexican Corporation as it was proven to be not needed since the private Yacht Club is not in any way a for-profit business. It was also reported that the Club was financially solid and operating in the black. But, the Membership was informed that the Initiation Fees for the various membership levels would be increased to help offset the $1,000.00 per month increase in rent to Paradise Village.
Officers and Directors elected for the 2005 term of office were:
Commodore Jim Ketler
Vice Commodore Doug Campbell
Rear Commodore – Activities Barrie Grant
Treasurer Nick Rau
Secretary Rich Harper
Directors at Large:
Gene Fletcher
John Bollinger
Mary Ladner
John Moore
Appointed Directors:
Terry O’Rourke
Dick Markie


2005 – 2007


Doug Campbell.jpgIn April 2005, Dan and Linda Green returned to Puerto Vallarta from their extended three years of cruising . Dan Green was asked to rejoin the Board to direct the Junior Sailing effort... and Mike Danielson, along with wife Leah, organized the first WesMex Optimist Regatta that served as the Mexican eliminations for the North American continental championships as well as the first of two eliminations for the Optimist Worlds championship.
In June, 2005, sadly the Club’s visionary and current Commodore Jim Ketler lost his battle against cancer. This was a terrible blow to the Club members, especially to those who helped him form the Yacht Club. His good friend, Vice Commodore Doug Campbell assumed the position of Commodore and remained as Vice Commodore as well. Subsequently, the Board adopted the Jim Ketler Award to be given each year to the Club member who best demonstrated the values of its founder, Jim Ketler.
In November of 2005, Barrie Grant resigned due to his acceptance of a new position requiring relocation to England. Fortunately Mike Danielson observed the Boards recent efforts to increase the Afloat activities in earnest and was convinced to rejoin the Club and accept a Board Director appointment in directing the Afloat activities.
By this time, the Optimist fleet had grown to include eight Optimist boats with a Junior Sailing student enrollment of eleven from whom four kids, accompanied by the newly hired coach, competed in a Mexico National regatta in Lake Chapala.
By the time of the 2006 General Membership Meeting in February, Commodore Campbell, in his State of the Club report referenced the Club’s financial strength and all of the ongoing programs; specifically the completion of the WiFi dock system, acquisition of a third television, the Chili Cook-off, the Junior Sailing Program and the Wine and Art Festival. He also announced that the Board of Directors approved the granting of the Club’s second Lifetime Membership to the former commodore’s widow, Jan Ketler.

The following Officers and Directors were initially elected or appointed for the 2006 term as follows:

Commodore Doug Campbell
Vice Commodore Ken Harper
Rear Commodore Jan Ketler
Treasurer Nick Rau
Secretary Rich Harper
Directors at Large:
John Bollinger
Eugene Fletcher
Mary Ladner
John Moore
Bob O’Hara
Dan Green
Appointed Directors:
Terry O’Rourke, Mexican Affairs
Dick Markie, Paradise Village
Dave Wheeler.jpgQuickly going into the 2007 High Season all members would see the Vallarta Yacht Club’s entering into the Internationally Recognized arena. This season would see the Club hosting the second WesMex Optimist Regatta, followed by the Club being selected to host the J24 one-design Worlds championship with boats from 20 countries competing for the cup. Later in the year, the Club also saw themselves being the host yacht club for the 2007 North American Optimist championship with 196 boats entered from 23 countries, Interspersed with these two major regattas, were other National championship regattas and the Banderas Bay International Cruisers’ Regatta. Hosting these events was a far cry from the past where such limited Afloat activity existed.
A report from the Treasurer was the First Warning indication that the Club’s Expenses outweighed the Income for the fiscal year 2006. The newly elected Board determined this first annual negative cash flow was due to the following reasons: 1) The reduction in available marina slips for the growth of new members, to replace those lost via attrition, 2) the Board’s decision to eliminate the cash box reserve fund and, 3) the imposition of federal tax being imposed upon non-profit organizations such as the Vallarta Yacht Club. Additionally, the Board was apprehensive of the magnitude of risk in hosting the major international regatta events for posing a financial liability potential loss which could devastate the Club’s existence. Nevertheless, the Board did decide to host the events and both major events (particularly the summertime North American Optimist championships) actually boosted the financial condition of the Club via increased bar and restaurant revenues.
The 2007 Annual General Meeting was held on the 7th of February and the 2007 Board of Directors was elected as follows:
Commodore – Dave Wheeler
Vice Commodore - John Bolinger
Rear Commodore – Nick Rau
Treasurer - Gary Magee
Secretary – Dan Green
Staff Commodore – Doug Campbell By Constitution declaration
Mike Gowen – House Committee
Mike Danielson – Afloat Activities
Mary Ladner – Shore Activities
John Moore – PR/Communications
Mic Endrody - Membership
Rich Harper – Host & Entertainment
Directors appointed by the Commodore and Board:
Terry O’Rourke – Government Affairs
Dick Markie – Paradise Village Liaison
The 2007 Board was quite active in setting revised policies and reversing the downward membership trend. Upon the resignation of Director Mic Endrody, Linda Green was appointed to the position of Membership Director and immediately gained approval of new ideas such as a Membership Blitz to recapture past members and new member promotions with time limited new member reduced initiation fees. Two more membership classes were approved for Youth Membership and Big Boat/Corporate Memberships.
At the beginning of the year, much debate and discussion was made regarding the cost of running a Junior Sailing program. But, when unexpected bar and restaurant revenues were realized due to the major regatta activity brought about by the success and recognition of the Club’s Junior Sailing program, this debate seemed to subside. In fact, the Board approved the purchase of two additional Optimist boats to be used exclusively for competitive racing. At this time, John and Nancy Moore purchased and donated yet another new Optimist boat for competition racing.
Also purchased during the year were a Defibrillator and an Oxygen Breathing Apparatus as well as the semi-custom Point of Sale (POS) system.
The later part of the year saw the Club members celebrating the Fifth Anniversary of the Vallarta Yacht Club with a special dinner party. And later, the establishment of the first Dine and Dash race series. It was also this year that saw the expansion and overhead covering of the outside deck which increased the Club’s maximum dining capacity from 100 to 200 diners.
Financially, the Club ended the year by reversing the budgeted negative cash flow into a positive 202,299 peso gain.
John Moore.jpgUpon his election at the 2008 Annual General Membership Meeting, Commodore elect John Moore told the Officers and members that he would be promoting the social, boating and community aspects of the Club. Specifically, he had pointed out that although the Yacht Club has been consistent in successfully sponsoring charitable events and has made excellent progress in promoting, sponsoring and managing regional, national and international aquatic events; the Yacht Club needed to revitalize its third objective to “provide an attractive, comfortable, and active private social environment…..and related social activities”.
The Commodore then gave the Board the following 2008 Specific Objectives:

Focus on the Social & Community Objectives

Bring back the Cheers ambiance

Engaging more YC members in committee participation

Developing volunteer reward & recognition

Forging closer alliances with our community

Additional Standing Committees for Public Relations and Club Development were established.
The 2008-2009 Board elected by the General Membership was as follows:
Commodore John Moore
Vice Commodore Gene Fletcher 
Rear Commodore Jim Nordstrom
Treasurer Bill Finkelstein
Secretary Dan Green
Staff Commodore Doug Campbell
Jeff Gayle At Large
Linda Green Membership
Mike Danielson Afloat Activities
Jerry Siggins House
Don Von Tress Ashore Activities
Terry O’Rourke* Government Affairs
Dick Markie* Paradise Village
* Appointed by Constitution declaration
The Third Annual Wesmex Regatta started the season’s active afloat activities and was expanded to include Laser and 420 class dinghies in addition to the Optimist class. Next came the first San Diego to Vallarta Race being officially co-hosted by the San Diego Yacht Club and our Club. Each boat entered in the race was assigned a VYC member as a sponsor responsible for, among other things, greeting each boat with a fleet total of 44 cases of canned beer and 22 bottles of Tequila. Soon after came the MEXORC, Vallarta Race Week and the Banderas Bay Regatta.
New window treatments were installed in the Club and a wireless sound system was procured. The new Club website went online and was well received by the membership.
In December, the Monday Yachtsman’s Luncheon and the Banderas Bay Blast were established by the Ashore Activities and Afloat Activities respectively. Administratively, the Board decided to eliminate the Director At Large positions in favor of elected Directors being assigned specific responsibilities of Chairing Standing and Commodore appointed committees.
And lastly, our long standing Club Manager announced his resignation due to an outstanding career opportunity with the Riviera Nayarit Marina organization.
Linda Green.jpgIn her acceptance speech at the 2009 General Membership meeting, Commodore Linda Green avowed to promote a proper balance between land based social and afloat activities as wall as continuing the efforts to grow the membership roles. And, that surely proved to be the case during her year in office..
Resolutions to the Constitution and Bylaws previously approved by the 2008-2009 Board were ratified at the 2009 Extraordinary Meeting of the General Membership were:

New Member Application Process Modifications (2008-1)

Initiation and Membership Renewal Fees Change Authority. (2008-2)

Monthly Dues Rate Change Authority (2008-3)

Officer and Director Nomination Criteria Requirements. (2008-4)

Membership Classification Additions (2008-5)

Establishment of Compensation Committee (2008-6)

The 2009-2010 Board elected by the General Membership was as follows:
Commodore Linda Green
Vice Commodore Nick Rau
Rear Commodore Jim Nordstrom
Treasurer Bill Finkelstein
Secretary Dan Green
Staff Commodore John Moore
Mary Mack Public Relations
Mary Ladner Membership
Mike Danielson Afloat Activities
Jerry Siggins House
Al Burrow Ashore Activities
Federico Ortiz Junior Sailing
Terry O’Rourke* Government Affairs
Dick Markie* Paradise Village
* Appointed by Constitution declaration
Once again, leasehold improvements were made with the purchase and installation of stage lighting, additional sound suppression materials, a Galley Oven and 6-Burner Stove and the creation of a Lounge Area within the main room.
Administratively, a new General Manager was hired and shortly thereafter, the Assistant Manager was replaced. As promised, the Membership rolls increased dramatically, and modifications were made to the Associate Membership classification to facilitate attracting membership among those who only spend two months or less per year in the area.
Prior to 2009, a new website was created and soon took the role of bringing news of the Club’s various activities to the General Membership in a timely fashion. A new Wi-Fi system was installed and operation of the system was turned over to an outside contractor with the Club receiving a portion of the sales revenue. Starting with the beginning of the 2009-2010 High Season, the Club offered Sunday Brunch service to its bar and restaurant hours.
Also in 2009, a new marina was opened in neighboring La Cruz. And, although the Marina Riviera Nayarit facilities did include space for a small yacht club facility, a true yacht club membership did not exist. The VYC Board offered to temporarily extend it’s assistance in creating such a bonafide yacht club, but the management (ownership) of the Marina were not interested in accepting the assistance.
For the first time since 2005, the rent of the Club’s facility was raised to $2,400.00 per month and, consequently, after sustaining three rent increases over the six years of the Club’s existence, it was necessary to increase the monthly dues.
Events ashore were headlined with a Tom Coster concert series on Monday evenings and various mariachi and guitar bands as well as local singing talents for Fish Fry Fridays and other special events. The Bingo, Beading classes and Game night continued to be well attended. New member receptions were held every other month and proved to be very well received by both old and new members.
The Junior Sailing program continued to develop its operations and the skills of the Junior sailing racing team. In the 2009 Mexican Junior Olympics, twelve of our kids qualified to participate and came home with two Gold, three silver and one bronze medals. Toyota of Puerto Vallarta continued its sponsorship of the Wesmex Regattas, and in 2009, the Club hosted an additional national regatta, the Regata de Revolucion. In March of 2010 the Wesmex2010 came under Mexico’s bi-centennial celebration Copa Mexico and again served as the major eliminations for the Optimist North American and Europe championships as well as the eliminations for the Laser Radial World championships.
Other major regattas taking place in the Winter and Spring season were the co-hosting with the San Diego Yacht Club of the San Diego to Vallarta race, the International Banderas Bay Regatta with smaller afloat activities of the Banderas Bay Blast, the Dine and Dash informal race series, Vallarta Cup and the weekly Beer Can Races.
Thanks to the generosity of the owner of the yacht Keilani the newly formed Fundacion de Bahia de Banderas was able to replace its loaned inflatable dinghy with a 14 foot Edgewater Coach’s boat for a reduced price of $2,500.00. However, the Club’s panga, always in need of repair, had finally reached the point of needing repairs above and beyond economic good sense.
Having been selected to host the sailing events for the 2011 Pan-American Games, the Yacht Club’s Officers, Directors and Members headed toward yet another major International series of sailing event prominence beginning with the 2010 Pre-Pan-American eliminations regatta to be held in October 2010.


Commodore Burrow opened the Annual General Meeting by thanking those members present for participating and supporting the Club. He cited several significant events that occurred during the year: Transfer of the Banderas Bay Regatta, our signature event, to the control of the Vallarta Yacht Club, the Pre-Panamerican sailing
events and the WesMex regatta. Al stated that he would continue to pursue a balance of social, cruising and racing activities during the year.

There being a quorum present, the minutes of the 2010 Annual general meeting were approved.
Constitution Amendment 2010-2, Addition to the ByLaws Chapter 11 and Annex 1 to the ByLaws, all dealing with the transfer of the Banderas Bay Regatta, were read and approved.
Commodore Burrow solicited nominations from the floor for Officer and Directors for 2011-2. There being none, a motion to approve the slate prepared by the Nominating Committee was approved.
The following Officers and Directors as proposed were elected:



Commodore Al Burrow
Vice Commodore Dan Green
Rear Commodore Bill Noonan
Treasurer Al Benaroya
Secretary Andy Barrow
Staff Commodore Linda Green

Membership Bonnie
Ashore Activities George Kraniak
Afloat Activities Mike Danielson
Junior Sailing Ken Gill
House Jerry Siggins
Public Relations Dick Williams

Directors Appointed by the Commodore and Board:
Paradise Village Liason Dick Markie
Government Relations Terry O’Rourke

Commodore-Elect Dan Green reported that restaurant and bar venues were reviewed and changes implemented in menus and bar stock and procedures. Thanks to members Dewey and Darlene Hines, new fine dishware with the Club logo has been purchased to enhance our dining experience.
Dan addressed the replacement of the former “Yacht Club” sign above the front entrance was replaced with “Vallarta Yacht Club”

Rear Commodore Bill Noonan, representing Ashore Activities Director, noted that the two Tom Coster concerts were widely enjoyed, and the
Yachtsmans Luncheon Seminars continued to be popular. The chili cook-off hosted by Doug Campbell was a big success, as well as the Friday Fish Fry nights. Music was provided regularly for week-end events. The very popular Stick-Horse Race is being revived.

Speaking for himself, Rear Commodore Noonan reported that the annual Pacific Puddle Jump Seminars, largely arranged by Bill and Dick Markie were highly successful. As a convenience to the many PPJérs berthed and anchored at Marina Riveria Nayarit at La Cruz, the seminars were divided between the Vallarta Yacht Club and the Marina Riveria Nayarit.

Staff Commodore Linda Green continued her outstanding contribution by arranging the hosting of the Pre- PanAm races and the WesMex Regatta and recruiting the many volunteers required to support these events. Linda has been the driving factor in obtaining VYC’s sanction to host the on-the-water portions of the International Pan-
Amerivan Games to be held in October 2011.

Afloat Activities Director Mike Danielson was extremely active in supporting the Pre-PanAm,
WesMex and Banderas Bay Regattas, as well as conducting the Vallarta Cup Series, Dine and Dash programs, and the Pirates for Pupils spinnaker race. The SSS committee will function as the VYC Race Committee for the upcoming events.

Junior Program Director Ken Gill reported that Junior sailing activities continued at a rapid pace. Eugenie Russell was hired as the new sailing coach.

Treasurer Al Benaroya developed a new format for our financial reports, making them much easier to read. He indicated that the Club’s finances were healthy, with adequate reserves in place. He indicated a $5K USD loss for the year, which he felt was not too significant due to the many activities of the Club this year.

Membership Director Bonnie
Fearis developed a new membership brochure, and conducted several successful campaigns, attracting a new high of new members and retaining old ones.

House Director Jerry Siggins completed upgrades to the sound and lighting systems and installed a new widescreen TV in the patio area for viewing special events.
Secretary Andy Barrow shepherded the installation of new cybercafé computers and the improvement of reliability of the overall system. He worked on a rebuild of the Club website, cleaning it up and providing Spanish language capability.

Banderas Bay Regatta Chair Jenny Durnan has been hard at work developing the myriad details involved in this Signature Event to be held March 8-12. Past Chair Laurie Ailworth stepped up to help guide Jenny in this huge venue.There will be an opening ceremony in Paradise Village, and a yacht parade to start the racing activities, which will continue through March 12. A big closing event will be held in the Paradise Village pool area.

Paradise Village Liason Dick Markie reported that he has been working with the Mexican Navy on improving security in the area, and they now have night patrols in the canals.

Long time member Bob O’Hara requested that he be relieved of handling the Jim Ketler service award in the future. The Board agreed to accept this responsibility.



One of the founding members of the VYC who provided leadership on the VYC Board of Directors for many years, Dan accepted the Commodore position for one of the most active and internationally visible seasons of the Vallarta Yacht Club.

Commodore Dan Green
Vice Commodore Andy Barrow
Rear Commodore Randy Hough
Treasurer Al Benaroya
Secretary Laurie Ailworth
Staff Commodore Al Burrow

Membership Bonnie
Ashore Activities George Kraniak
Afloat Activities Mike Danielson
Junior Sailing Ken Gill
House Jerry Siggins
Public Relations Dick Williams

Directors Appointed by the Commodore and Board:
Paradise Village Liason Dick Markie


The 2011-2012 season has been one of the most memorable, highlighted by involvement in and hosting of international regattas.  The season started out with the Jr. Sailing team attending the Mexican Jr. Olympics and returning triumphant - the Riviera Nayarit team earned 9 medals, an outstanding achievement for our young sailors.  In October, the VYC hosted the sailing portion of the 2011 Pan American Games.  This international event is a testimony to the volunteer dedication and regatta/tournament management expertise demonstrated by our relatively young yacht club.  When the VYC was first officially established in 2002, surely none of the founders visualized this level of stature in the international sailing community.

The excitement didn't end in October.  A large reunion of Pacific Puddle Jumpers in March is the perfect addition to a full schedule of informational seminars.  WesMex, a relatively new legacy of the VYC, has gained significant stature, with the 2012 event attracting more than 100 entrants and inclusion in the bi-annual Copa Mexico.  To top it off, the International Banderas Bay Regatta celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2012.  Let's not forget our frequent Jr. Sailing regattas, and of course our famous Great Chili Cook-off.  In December, 2011 the Cook-off broke the record for attendees and amount donated to charity. With special Jazz Dinner Concert Nights, sold out Patsy Kline, Sweetheart's Ball, Art & Wine Festival, Fashion Shows, cruise-outs and much more ... 2012 was a full schedule.  The new Member newsletter was a hit and continues to keep everyone posted of current and upcoming events, helping to fill the Club for special events. 

Dan was committed to enhancing the organizational structure and professional growth of the VYC.  A Community Action Program was initiated, providing a framework to 'give back' to the community. Key Milestone dates for critical Board actions were established for the 2011-2012 season and will serve as a guide for future Boards, allowing for faster transition.  A new Strategic Planning Working Group was established, and their work continues as new and returning Board members take the baton.




Now entering his third term as an Officer on the VYC Board of Directors, Andy accepted the Commodore position and will provide his expertise and leadership as the Club moves forward with strategic planning and member communication initiatives.

Commodore Andy Barrow
Vice Commodore Leslie Hough
Rear Commodore Randy Hough
Treasurer Al Benaroya
Secretary Dee Cockerham
Staff Commodore Dan Green

Junior Sailing Jess Coburn
Public Relations Dick Williams
Sponsorship and Volunteerism Janet Coburn

Directors Appointed by the Commodore and Board:
Paradise Village Liaison Dick Markie

This new season presents both opportunities and challenge.  The past season was an exceptionally active time of regattas and events. Andy now leads the Club forward, helping to re-energizing the Strategic Planning efforts and working hand-in-hand with Club members in a new process for communication, teamwork, and cooperation.  New "Town Hall" meetings have begun in an effort to enhance opportunities for open discussion between members and the leadership team of the VYC.  And as the new season Ashore and On the Water Calendar is developed over the summer, we looked forward to an active and full roster of activities. However, it was necessary to cancel the Club’s annual charity Chili Cook-off by the wishes of our landlord. But our members pitched in to raise a tremendous food drive for the families of PEASE, a grand toy collection for the 250 families enrolled in the Families of the Dump as well as a shoe and clothing drive in May.

Unfortunately for the Club and its officers and directors, there was an incident of the questionable employee summer layoff procedure that caused a movement to swell and threaten a severe loss of longtime memberships.  Extraordinary efforts of the officers and directors led by Commodore Andy Barrow throughout the summer and the fall to overcome this serious threat to the Club were successful in tempering the movement and the total lost membership was limited to only one.  

Because so much effort was expended in dealing with the past year’s membership crisis, Commodore Andy chose to serve a second term to provide the growth objectives he had envisioned accomplishing at the onset of his being elected as Commodore.

2013 Board candidates were elected unanimously with 27 present and 5 absentee ballots.

Commodore – Andy Barrow
Vice Commodore – Leslie Baldwin
Rear Commodore – Dick Williams
Treasurer – Dee Cockerham
Secretary – Susie Morrison
Staff Commodore – Dan Green

Ashore Activities – Ricki Williams
Membership – Sandy Parker
Sponsorship – Janet Coburn
Public Relations – Ibis de Teresa

Directors appointed by Commodore and Board:
Paradise Village Liaison - Dick Markie

During this term, the Club’s general challenges were being addressed and new opportunities were welcomed.  The newly established “Town Hall” meetings were continued, the Ashore events were all well attended and enjoyed, the third La Manzanilla Cruise Out was held and both the Banderas Bay Regatta and the WesMex Regatta were well attended with shore side evening entertainment added to each night of the Vallarta Cup races.  The Club’s Board made good on its promise to find an alternate location for the Chili Cook-off.  By including restaurants to bring sample food items the attendance at the Nuevo Vallarta malecon was much increased..  We finally addressed our long overdue need to generate sufficient revenue to cover all fixed overhead costs with dues income.  Figures provided by the Treasurer’s calculations indicated a required 53% increase in monthly dues.  The Board, sensing there would be a painful membership dropout, approved only a 26% increase and to meet the differential through cost savings, membership promotions and additional income sources. Our lease specifically restricts our Club’s ability to establish many potential new income sources.  However, our landlord did agree to the Club’s staff to operate a small tienda alongside the ramp area.

Because the WesMex was included in the Mexico Sailing Federation’s newly formed national racing circuit, the attendance grew 100% with 200 competitors in Optimists, Lasers and 420s.  The Club also was chosen to host the annual national youth Olympics with well over 200 competitors.

back to top



2014 – 2015

It was quite evident that the 2014-2015 term would be a very busy one for the Officers, Directors and Members.  The WesMex Regatta was now a permanent and important national circuit qualifier for the Optimist South American and the Worlds championship and VYC received confirmation to host the 2014 Optimist North American Championship along with a promising Banderas Bay Regatta scheduled for March.  All this afloat activity was further by an unusually high amount of ashore activities.  

The newly elected and reelected Board of Directors were as follows:

Commodore – Ricki Williams
Vice Commodore Dee Cockerham/Leslie Baldwin
Rear Commodore – Dick Williams
Treasurer – Mario Antoci
Secretary – Bobby Brown
Staff  Commodore – Andy Barrow

Ashore Activities – Diane Antoci
Afloat Activities – Andy Barrow
Membership – Charlotte Schull
Junior Sailing – Dan & Linda Green

Appointed Directors:
Paradise Liaison – Dick Markie

In addition to the ongoing effort to meet fixed expenses, two major misfortune and tragic situations.  Effective January 1, 2014 Mexico’s revised tax law effectively changed the Club’s non-profit status to that of a profit entity subject to both income and Value Added Taxes (IVA).  Later, in the Spring, our most beloved and valued Vice Commodore, Dee Cockerham, was diagnosed a victim of cancer. She continued to meet her Club responsibilities until her weakened body forced her to withdraw in the Autumn of this same year.  Before the year’s end she had passed away.

It was initially difficult to understand the best way to manage this change of status.  Legal and tax accounting advisors first recommended spinning-off the Bar and Restaurant cost center as a wholly owned individual business.  As the Board was in the process of doing just that, it became apparent that it was not possible to stay below the two million limitations which meant having at least two, if not three, individually owned businesses plus that of the basic Club activities.  Basically, an accounting nightmare! Various proposals and recommendations were considered throughout the year, until the Board realized that we had been ill-advised.  In fact; it was in deed, quite possible to stay as one company and pay whatever taxes in certain categories of income and expense that would be due. And, if Vallarta Club de Yates, A.C. were to be recognized as a “sports association” the Club would be exempt from income tax and possibly many areas where IVA might be exempted.  Thus, the Board changed course and went forward in this more conservative direction.  The first step was to reverse the Bar and Restaurant individual ownership back to a VYC cost center.  Secondly, the Board began its search for a more non-profit experienced accounting firm.  And, thirdly, to initiate the legal steps to apply to RENADE for “Sports Association” CONADE registration.

The Club’s very active social and on-the-water events were readily welcomed by the Club’s members.  Ashore Activities volunteers provided a record 21 events with other individual and group volunteers providing a Fashion Show and a great Kassiano Show. The Banderas Bay Regatta saw 33 competitor yachts.  And, the WesMex (again a major element of the Copa Mexico) expanded to a record 240 boats with 320 competitors and coaches.

In keeping with the Club’s unwritten practice of hosting a major World Sailing event at least every two years, the second Optimist 2014 North American Continental Championship was held in July.  Chairperson Linda Green and our Junior Sailing parents and VYC volunteers held a most successful ten day event.  And, fortunately for the Club, the event netted a positive gain of 335,000 pesos ($20,000 USD).  Thus allowing the Club to finish the financial year in the black.

back to top


Add comment

Upcoming Events Around the Bay

Tue Feb 27 @ 6:00PM -
Bingo in Paradise
Vallarta Yacht Club
Thu Mar 01 @12:00AM
WesMex International Small Boat Regatta
Vallarta Yacht Club
Fri Mar 02 @12:00AM
WesMex International Small Boat Regatta
Vallarta Yacht Club
Sat Mar 03 @12:00AM
WesMex International Small Boat Regatta
Vallarta Yacht Club
Sun Mar 04 @12:00AM
WesMex International Small Boat Regatta
Vallarta Yacht Club
Fri Mar 09 @ 8:00AM - 12:00AM
Marina Vallarta - Banderas Bay
Fri Mar 09 @ 6:00PM - 09:00PM
Kentucky Derby Celebration
Vallarta Yacht Club
Sat Mar 10 @ 8:00AM - 12:00AM
Marina Vallarta - Banderas Bay
Sun Mar 11 @ 8:00AM - 12:00AM
Marina Vallarta - Banderas Bay
Mon Mar 12 @ 8:00AM - 12:00AM
Marina Vallarta - Banderas Bay
Tue Mar 13 @ 8:00AM - 12:00AM
Marina Vallarta - Banderas Bay
Tue Mar 13 @ 6:00PM -
Bingo in Paradise
Vallarta Yacht Club
Wed Mar 14 @ 8:00AM - 12:00AM
Marina Vallarta - Banderas Bay
Sat Mar 17 @ 6:00PM - 08:00PM
St. Patrick's Day Dinner
Vallarta Yacht Club
Tue Mar 20 @12:00PM - 10:00PM
Banderas Bay Regatta XVI
Beautiful Banderas Bay

Vallarta Sailing Foundation
When you shop at
Amazon donates.