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Trophy Season: PICYA Yachtsman of the Year

Who doesn’t appreciate recognition with a pat on the back or a beautiful silver trophy? As we wrote in the December issue, Latitude 38 publisher John Arndt got more than a pat on the back when Pacific Interclub Yachting Association (PICYA) board member Jim Haussener shared that John was being awarded the 2023 PICYA Yachtsman of the Year trophy for his efforts to promote sailing.

PICYA represents 100+ Northern California yacht clubs, and describes the award in their Yachting Yearbook: “… the Douglas Boswell Perpetual Yachtsman trophy recognizes a person for outstanding, distinguished service to yachting.”

What the heck? Me? I wondered why and was fortunate to find out during the PICYA awards banquet at Oakland Yacht Club in Alameda.

Larry Mayne, John Arndt and Bill Gargan
L-R: PICYA Commodore Larry Mayne, John Arndt, and Bill Gargan.
© 2023 Morris Lum

Bill Gargan, VP for RBOC (Recreational Boaters of California), explained that the honor was for efforts to promote sailing, with the annual, global Summer Sailstice. Of course, we also do this with Latitude 38 and remind you that with the approach of the winter solstice on December 21, the days will start getting longer as we begin the six-month countdown to the 24th annual Summer Sailstice, to be held the weekend of June 22.

When picking up the beautiful trophy, now sitting at the Corinthian Yacht Club, it was a shock to see my name added alongside some well-recognized Bay Area sailors including Larry Ellison, Tom Blackaller, Pam Healy, Linda Newland, Dick Loomis, Robert F. Keefe and many others awarded since 1977. How cool is that?

Summer Sailstice was created to celebrate sailing annually on the weekend closest to the summer solstice. It’s one day a year for all boats to hoist sails “together,” wherever they are, to connect us all in a collective tribute to sailing, while bringing positive publicity to the sailing lifestyle. How to celebrate? Race, cruise, teach your kids, go for a daysail, it all works. My out-of-balance enthusiasm for sailing continues to be a motivation in many ways as I try to share sailing with others. Though I’m far from the only one.

Many people were recognized and honored at the PICYA awards luncheon. Molly O’Bryan Vandemoer is an enthusiastic booster of sailing who has been on the front lines teaching sailing at the very successful Peninsula Youth Sailing Foundation in Redwood City. For her accomplishments in growing youth sailing she was awarded the Admiral Chester W. Nimitz Perpetual Trophy for the exceptional work done in promoting youth sailing. Over the past 20 years, PYSF has grown from a small base in Redwood City to an outsanding youth training center with over 300 kids going through the program in 2023. An Olympic veteran, Vandemoer has been a steadfast leader at PYSF for decades.

Bill Gargan, Molly O'Bryan, John Arndt
Sausalito Yacht Club’s Bill Gargan with Nimitz winner Molly O’Bryan Vandemoer and her well-deserved big, silver trophy and myself with a trophy photo.
© 2023 Morris Lum

As they say, sailing isn’t life or death; it’s much more important than that. Genuinely, it seems the world would be a better place if more people sailed. It’s an amazing community of people, provides an unrivaled connection to Mother Nature, and is endlessly intriguing, challenging, and intellectually and spiritually rewarding. And it’s a ton of fun. Surely similar feelings motivate so many others who work hard daily to share sailing with others.

Debrenia Madison-Smith TIYC Bill Gargan SYC
Debrenia Madison-Smith of the the Treasure Island Yacht Club and Bill Gargan of the Sausalito Yacht Club held up a copy of their favorite magazine.
© 2023 Morris Lum

This enthusiam to share is obvious when you spend time with an organization like PICYA. There are over 100 Bay Area sailing clubs, each with a board of directors and a dedicated group of volunteers who want to help more people enjoy the magic of time on the water. Since 1896, when the PICYA was founded to help organize racing rules among an initial five yacht clubs, to today where they support boating with legislative action through the RBOC, to organizing the annual Lipton Cup, to supporting youth sailing, the PICYA has its own group of dedicated members who are trying to preserve and grow participation in and access to sailing.

If it’s Summer Sailstice, a weekend regatta, teaching youth sailing, or advocating to keep our waterways accessible and sailing affordable, it’s a good reminder to not take our sailing privilege for granted. Individuals, groups and organizations all make it possible. Summer Sailstice is here to help support them all by connecting the fun and making sailing visible to all those who live near the Bay, but have no idea what we’re all doing out there.

PIYCA Trophies
If you want your name on one of these trophies join a yacht club and help out. You’ll make more friends and do more for sailing.
© 2023 Morris Lum

We hope to see members of all 100+ yacht clubs signed up and sailing “together” on June 22, 2024. You can sign up now even if you have no idea exactly how you’ll be sailing that weekend. One option is to sign up for the June 22 Westpoint Regatta to be sailed from the Bay to Redwood City, the home of Westpoint Marina and Peninsula Youth Sailing.

Most importantly, thank you to the PICYA for the award and for all you do for sailing in Northern California.

Congratulations, John, on your well-deserved recognition.


  1. William Crowley 3 months ago

    Congratulations John on the well-deserved honor of being chosen 2023 Yachtsman of the Year!

  2. Christine Weaver 3 months ago

    Congratulations John and Molly!

  3. Mitch Perkins 3 months ago

    Congratulations 🍾

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A Question for the Nation
The boat is a unique ketch that my dad — Jean Filloux — designed himself with a naval architect friend at Sparkman & Stephens to be built with a first-of-its-kind manufacturing method that Jean came up with.
Silver Mines
Just like in the Comstock Lode in Nevada, there's still a lot of silver to be won from the 2023 racing season. It's available by reporting the races you've already sailed in 2023.
Oops …
This month's photo was sent in by Candy from the Swan 44 'Infidel.' And while it's not her original photo, it makes a great item for the CC(!).