From Jerry Gould
A SHORT EARLY HISTORY OF THE PALM BEACH GARDENS MODEL YACHT SQUADRON.
In the Fall of ‘99 I placed an announcement in the Oaks East monthly newsletter saying that I was interested in forming a radio controlled model yacht racing club and to contact me (Jerry Gould) if they were interested. It was stated that a one design boat would be chosen and that each member would build his own boat to the strict rules of the class chosen by the group. About a dozen residents expressed an interest and eight agreed to purchase a kit and build the boat.
A delegation consisting of Jerry Gould, John Biles, Kieth Duke and Adrien Salee made a trip up to Port St. Lucie to meet with Jim Robinson, Commodore of the St. Lucie River Model Boat Club and several of his members. They could not have been more helpful. Jim and his group introduced us to their two most popular classes of boats, the Victoria and the Soling 1 Meter. In as much as no one in our club had ever built a model yacht, they suggested we start with the easiest built and the least expensive class. The Victoria! Thus,. was the start of our great adventure.
By this time we had eight members. A meeting was called and the name Palm Beach Gardens Model Yacht Squadron was chosen and that we would build Victorias. Jerry Gould was elected Commodore and John Biles Vice Commodore/Treasurer.
Eight Victoria kits and eight HiTec Ranger II Z radios were purchased for $150. each set and numbers were drawn from a hat for frequencies and sail numbers (1-8). The original 8 founding members (by sail numbers) were :1. Ernie Volonte, 2. Jerry Gould, 3. Kieth Duke, 4. Adrien Salee, 5. Joe Russo, 6. Tom Reed, 7. John Biles, 8. Dr. Andy Levy. Application was made to the AMYA for Fleet status and we were accepted as Fleet # 94. ( We are the only yacht SQUADRON in the AMYA!!!)
Finding a suitable pond was the next problem. After several scouting drives thru the area, we settled on Lake Catherine. It had plenty of room and water, plenty of parking space and was part of the Palm Beach Gardens park system.We approached the City for permission to use Lake Catherine as our home base. Permission was soon granted and it was the start of an excellent relationship between the Squadron and the City. The Parks Dept. even built us a concrete dock and landing so we sail with dry feet.
Our Sunday racing activities on the lake generated a lot of interest and within a year we had a fleet of 34 Victoria’s. We also had invited a group sailing Soling 1 M’s on Pelican Lake to become part of the Squadron as we had much better physical facilities and were an active club in the AMYA. Soon we had a fleet of ten Solings in the Squadron with Ken Harmon as Fleet Captain. This grew to the powerhouse Soling 1 M fleet we have today.
Also joining us was a group of five EC 12’s which we set up as a separate fleet with Ed Gelina as Fleet Captain. This now has grown into one of the largest and most active EC 12 fleets in Florida.
The first regatta we hosted was for the Hav-A-Chaw Cup, an old spittoon, ( a home and away series between our mentors at SLRMBC and ourselves ) which although we were a new club, we won! The regatta was a great success and helped build our reputation as the club who really knew how to run a great regatta.
And so, into the future.
It has been suggested that we recognize past Commodores by their first full year in lieu of the preceeding November 1st. Therefore, with that said, following is what I believe to be the accurate history.....
(click on name to email)
2000 & 2001 Jerry Gould
2002 John Biles
2003 & 2004 Ed Gelina
2005 & 2006 Harry Strunk
2007 & 2008 Doug Bowe
2009 & 2010 Dick Reinke
2011 & 2012 Dr Bob Greer
2013 & 2014 Jon Luscomb
2015 & 2016 Chris Wright
2017 & 2018 George Balaschak
The Squadron was founded by Jerry Gould and John Biles as part of the initial Victoria Sailing program...The club grew to about 30 Victorias as I recall while simultaneously the Solings and EC 12's became involved.
Many skippers participated in multiple classes, some had two while others sailed all three classes.....with exception to Jerry, each Commodore sailed either a Victoria or Soling or Micro Magic and an EC12.....the Micro Magic was introduced in recent years as the interest in the Victorias wained (not sure why) and eventually the Victorias sailed no longer.....The Squadron is always open to a new class sailing however it takes four boats of that class to be recognized and it would have to be coordinated with the existing fleet captains to determine just where they would fit in the weekly sailing schedule....
For your history.
In Feb 1997 I built a Soling and sailed it on Pelican lake in Juno with a few other boats including Carl Ring and Tony Basso who both had Solings. One Sunday Doug Bowe was over there and he mentioned Lake Catherine where they were sailing Victoria boats. I took my Soling over and sailed with them one Sunday and was soon followed by Carl and Tony and then others. After picking Dan Richardi as our Captain,Commadore, or what ever we called him, we rapidly grew and the Soling group was added into the PBGMYS.
ps That original Soling is kept in N.C. and is sailed with 4 other Solings during the summer months on a mountain lake.