Its members have sailed all over the world.
But, for these folks who love sailing and boating, home will always be the Laguna Madre Yacht Club.
So, you didn’t know there was a yacht club located in Port Isabel?
Rather, did you think we were talking about the old Yacht Club Restaurant and Hotel on Yturria Street?
Well, there is a yacht club in PI and members are hoping to make a bigger name for themselves.
John Pinkerman is the commodore of the club and he knows the benefits and enjoyment members have. The group wants to share their knowledge and enjoyment of boating and sailing.
That is why they will hold an open house this Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m. at the club, which is located in South Pointe Marina.
The light brown building erected in the 1970s has a style similar to the Air Marine Homeland Security Building facing the Intercoastal Waterway.
But, it’s home to the Laguna Madre Yacht Club.
With about 75 members, the group is passionate about water activities in the Gulf of Mexico and Lower Laguna Madre.
Members have vast amounts of experience and different types of boats.
“We have people who have sailed all over the world,” Pinkerman said. “Others have sailed up the east coast of the U.S. and others do what is called the Great Loop.”
That 6,000 mile great loop is a water course going around through the northeast, down through the great lakes and eventually into the Gulf of Mexico.
Boat sizes run from 19 feet all the way to 45 feet.
“Many people think you can’t have a sailboat here because it is to shallow,” Pinkerman said. “But, we have much knowledge of the water and there are a lot of places where you don’t have to worry about running the boat into the ground.”
Pinkerman cited the West Bay in front of Point Isabel High School.
“That area is really fine and deep for sailing,” he said.
But, don’t let the name trick you. It’s not just Bay sailing for these folks, including racing.
“Some contests are in the Laguna and some are as far as 150 miles off of shore,” Pinkerman said. “We have sailed races to Port Aransas.”
Pinkerman himself is a master mariner and is certified as a sailing instructor through the American Sailing Association.
He sailed as a youth and then got back into it more than 15 years ago. Pinkerman admitted he started out at ground zero, taking lessons and working on his boat.
“It is the most fun you can have without harming the environment you can have,” he said about sailing. “You are using the wind. Every day is new day. You can think you know a lot, but there’s the water current, the tide, the wind, the boat. There are a multitude of factors that go into sailing on a particular day.”
Pinkerman said he wishes more people would enjoy the sport, which he said many people think is for folks with money.
“We have people from all walks of life,” he said. “We have high school graduates to medical doctors.”
Members are from the Valley the Midwest and pretty much anywhere around the country and beyond.
Pinkerman said he hopes to grow the yacht club and the open house is the first step to make people more aware of the organization.
So, when you head over to the open house this weekend, don’t get confused.
This isn’t the place rumored to have been a stopping spot for Al Capone or a great place to have dinner back in the day.
Head over to South Pointe Marina. That’s where you’ll find the sailors you are looking for at the Laguna Madre Yacht Club.
What you need to know about the Laguna Madre Yacht Club?
* The Laguna Madre Yacht Club is a voluntary club focused on local boating activities, including sailboat racing and cruising.
* This year’s scheduled events include fall racing series and educational workshops on a variety of boating topics.
* The club emphasizes safe boating activities for the entire family.
* A monthly highlight is the social dinner held typically on the second Saturday of the month. Eight of these are held per year and are free to members.
* At least once a year, the club hosts sailing or boating groups from the area. For the last several years, the club has hosted the Race to the Border, which starts in Galveston and ends at the jetties of SPI.
How To Join
The club entertains membership applications from the public upon recommendation by two LMYC members.
The initiation fee is $100. Yearly dues are $300.
Commodore – John Pinkerman
Rear Commodore – Lillian Renner
Treasurer – Cindy Ebess
Fleet Surgeon – Raul Rivet
Vice Commodore – Rick Eckstrom
Fleet Captain – Chris Hughston
Secretary – Caren Craig
Barrister – Steve Gano
By LISA SEISER, Editor