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Benicia Yacht Club Launches Community Outreach Group

The early part of 2023 has seen a group of dedicated mariners plot a new course for their club and their community. Randy Norman and Stephen Dale reached out to Latitude to share their vision, and also to seek information that could help their cause. Together with the Benicia Yacht Club (BenYC) and a solid group of supporters, the pair are heading the Nautica Group, which aims to expand its outreach to the community, with a special focus on families and children.

“We already have an annual sailing school that currently runs for 3-5 weeks, and we hope to expand it,” Stephen wrote. “We are also working with the local schools and resurrecting a sailing club at one of the high schools. We have about a dozen 12-15-foot boats in pretty good shape, and about a dozen Optis.”

These are just a couple of the boats uncovered during the team’s recent “Archaeological Expedition” at the Benicia Marina. Each of the boats is in good shape, but will need a lot of TLC.
© 2023 Stephen Dale

“BenYC apparently had a pretty robust program until a decade ago and all the equipment remains in pretty decent shape,” Stephen added.

Tim and Derith Rose had been keeping the program running for many years, and now the Nautica Group is looking to build on their efforts. “The force of this all is going to be small town expands sailing opportunities for its community.”

The first Benicia Yacht Club Nautica Group meeting on January 14 was a success, with 26 members and guests braving the rain and wind and a flooded E. 2nd Street to show their support and add their voice.

Stephen told us the “conceptual idea behind the Nautica Group was to provide a forum for discussion on how, in our current day environments, to fulfill the intents of the BenYC charter.” The meeting identified that purpose as fostering and encouraging yachting and boating activities; promoting and increasing the knowledge and efficiency of its members and others in the science of navigation and the art of handling, operating, and maintaining powerboats, sailboats, and other watercraft; and promoting the social interest and pleasures of its membership.

Community Outreach group at Benicia YC
It sounds like a big charter to carry, but the group has already rallied significant interest with its second meeting growing to 36 attendees.
© 2023 Stephen Dale

“We have been gratified by the interest we are getting. This is why we are looking for ideas from other programs,” Stephen wrote. “Hey, we all know it is going to be more work than just cleaning up a few boats.”

By the end of the second meeting on February 11, along with building its youth sailing program, the group had identified several ideas including the BenYC Cruise-Outs and the growing RV land cruisers group, which could be expanded to include kayakers and paddle boarders; keeping members updated about wind and tide conditions; safety while navigating the Carquinez Straits; and much more. Basically it amounts to, “How does the Nautica Group support local water activities and events, within the Benicia Yacht Club and outside the club, to enhance interest in BenYC, encourage family participation, and promote water-related interests in the Benicia community?”

The underlying question, Randy wrote, is “Can this group be a source of information and support for the individual interests of those in the group and the community?”

The Nautica Group hopes to build a platform that will engage Benicians of all ages to not just look at the water, but to get out and become part of the landscape.

The invitation to join the group is open to anyone interested in developing, enhancing, or otherwise supporting water-related activities at the Benicia shoreline. “We want to encourage family participation and introduce the younger generation to the available opportunities,” Randy concluded.

If you would like to join this fabulous community and add your support and ideas to the great work taking place in the Nautica Group, you can email Randy Norman at [email protected].

The next Nautica Group meeting will be on March 18th at 9:30 a.m. to coincide with the re-scheduled Benicia Yacht Club Frostbite race at 11:30 on the same day. Membership is not required.

The group is very interested in having parents joining the group, and is looking for more instructors and volunteers.

For more information head over to the Benicia Yacht Club’s website, where you can learn more about the club and its 2022 youth and other programs.


  1. Stephen Walter Dale 1 year ago

    Putting the Fleet in Order

    Randy Norman and I spent a couple of hours at the Benicia Yacht Club fleet in the Benicia Marina boat yard yesterday. We finished draining the boats and propped each up. We also put working wheels on each boat cart so we can begin to rearrange each vessel and begin to get some order from the chaos. Despite the disorder, these boats are a treasure with the potential of inspiring a new crop of mariners. I can’t wait to see youth and their families, and the occasional senior like myself, taking these babies out in the Strait for hours of fun and adventure.

    We are hoping to have at least one of these boats at the Nautica Meeting at the Benicia Yacht Club March 18th at 9:30.

  2. Stephen Walter Dale 12 months ago

    I will be reporting more but on Tuesday Randy Norman, Captain Daniel Carnahan, Joan Westerman and I met with Dr. Wright, Superintendent of Benicia School District. We learned a lot about how to reach out to families and students and are working on next steps, so stay tuned.

    Randy Norman will soon be posting about our next Nautica meeting and will begin assigning tasks to prepare for our annual youth sailing classes. Key is going to be getting sailing instructors and assistants trained. We also need to engage more families and students, so if you know a family where boating activities on the Strait would be would be of interest – please pass this along.

    Stay tuned – much more to come.

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