2012 BYC Board of Trustees Candidates

Click here to learn more about the candidates for the Flag Officer positions.


I have been ‘boating’ since growing up on Eagle Harbor, Bainbridge Island, WA, when, at the age of 8, an old, half sunk rowboat floated up on the beach prompting my dad and I to patch it up and row it around the bay. Next was sailing lessons in the Port Madison Pram, then building a ‘Namu’, named after the famous Orca and designed by the High School Shop teacher, also a Olympic 420 sailor. It was made out of plywood, fiberglass and JC Penny bedsheets. We had a fleet, races and many afternoons drifting out of the bay in the tide. One thing lead to another, and pretty soon I was a Non Resident BYC member in the late 1990’s while participating in a Seattle Yacht Lease program, then progressing to my own boat, Garufa, a Freedom 32, in 2001, now shared with wife Michele.

Over the years I have sailed in Prince William Sound in Alaska, Tonga, from St. Maarten to the Mississippi River, Vic-Maui in 2004, 20 years of racing in Puget Sound doing just about every regatta possible, more Swiftsure’s than I can remember, 2 Oregon Offshores, on J 30’s, J 35’s and J109’s, as well as cruising Puget Sound, the San Juans and Gulf Islands on Garufa. I enjoy both the relaxation of cruising and the excitement of racing. I am not all about sailing, I am about boating (or yachting); I have friends with powerboats with whom I have shared many a good adventure as well as a vibrant discussion about the hydrodynamics of wakes… and I enjoy their creature comforts. To every purpose there is a season.

I have served the BYC since 2005 in club scrubs, various ad-hoc committees, 1 year of ‘Commodude’ while Michele was Commodore, making Board meeting dinners, 4 years of PITCH Regatta Chair and as a Bartender. I am a Past Commodore of the Sloop Tavern Yacht Club and have been honored to be invited into the local BYC Blue Gavel and have enjoyed participating in their activities. Michele and I have also taken over the position honorary bartenders for the Annual Tom and Jerry party.

It is my belief that every member who joins a club or Association has an interest in its success, and in each member’s own way, a desire to participate and contribute to that success. A successful club will develop the means for each member to discover the avenue of their participation and contribution.

I have a professional work background as a Manager of a National company, responsible for management of a 1.5 million dollar per year budget; I have also been President of a National Association. I am familiar with financial management issues and processes, including financial, growth not just containment, management, and believe I can contribute in this area. I also have experience in marketing and business development and would be interested and willing to contribute in this area.

I have enjoyed the variety of programs the club’s volunteers have organized over the years and believe that these can be continued and expanded. I believe that communicating with our members on a regular schedule and experimenting is a very successful means to learn what our member’s interests are, aren’t, or may be.
I would like to see the BYC expand and build upon its relationships and involvement with the Greater Bellingham Community. Our membership is a tremendous resource to the community and I believe it is important to be inclusive with our citizenship to share our resources, commitment to boating enjoyment and safety. We have successfully participated in the Sister Cities organization, the Whatcom Youth Sailing Foundation and the Sink the Dingy program. I believe that greater involvement with the community will lead to greater recognition of our programs and activities, increased membership to the club, and even more importantly, introducing more ‘Hamsters’ to the enjoyment of the water.

Neil Bennett


I have been a member of BYC for 22 years. During that time I have been a Trustee (twice), Treasurer, Fleet Captain, Rear Commodore, Vice Commodore, and Commodore. In 2002 I started the Sink the Dinghy fund. I have also served on the Race Committee running the Mark Boat, and helping with PITCH and Women on the Water. I was an Ambassador for the BYC in the Pacific Rim Regatta in Japan in 2008 as well as Port Stephens, Australia in 2012. In both of those PACRIM events I wrote the Blog and was the Photographer for the BYC and Sister Cities. I have conducted Predicted Log Races and Patti and I have been running the Poets Cove Cruise for the last 8 years. Other BYC activities have included the Club Scrub, Commodores Picnic, Crab Fest, Buccaneers’ Cruise, Opening Day, Fridays at Five and other raft up weekends at Inati and Sucia. I am a Volunteer Bartender, and volunteer for other events when ever possible. I am also a member of the Bellingham Sail & Power Squadron, Wheel & Keel, and the Dead Pirates Society. As an avid power, sail boater, and kayaker I know that any day we are on the water is a good day. Being a member of BYC has opened not only opportunities to enhance my boating skills but has opened the door to many new friendships. After all, “It’s The Water, It’s The Boat’s, It’s The Friends.”

The two committees where I believe I can add the most value is the Public Relations Committee and the Policy and Planning Committee. Both of these Committees are ones I have previously served on, have expertise in, and both are critical to the growth and running of the Bellingham Yacht Club.

In terms of activities and events in the lounge and the club, there is already a good base of events that take place, and first I would want to explore how these could be expanded or strengthened. Additionally, I believe that educational sessions (informal or formal) could be more regularly scheduled, perhaps classes on Marine Amateur Radio, First Aid on the Water, and other sessions where our members can expand their existing boating knowledge.

In two years, the Bellingham Yacht Club, in partnership with the Bellingham Sister Cities Organization, has the honor to host the 2014 Pacific Rim Regatta where competitors from around the Pacific Rim will come to Bellingham for a week of racing and getting to know our community. I see this event as an opportunity not only for our club, but also for Whatcom County, to truly learn from, entertain and build relationships from our sister Yacht Clubs and countries in the Pacific Rim, including New Zealand, Australia, Russia, Canada and Japan. As Chair for the Shore Side Events, along with Chair Past Commodore Terry Tavelli for Water Side Events I believe that PACRIM 2014 will provide our BYC with major and significant public outreach and recognition locally and around the Pacific Rim for the great boating club we have been since 1925.

John Gargett


I was raised in a boating family in Kitsap County. As a little kid, I would accompany my father on weekend cruises with his friends, and Port Madison Yacht club races, where I would help pack spinnakers and pass up beverages. As I grew up, I spent summers sailing with the junior program ran by the parks and recreation department and cruising on my family’s 27 foot sailboat in the San Juan and gulf Islands.

I moved to Bellingham and was introduced to the Bellingham Yacht club in 1995 crewing on Lee Dallas’s J-36 “Orca”. I moved back to the Seattle area and ran the Bainbridge Island Parks Department’s summer sailing program while working a somewhat real job at Recreational Equipment Inc. in Seattle and sailing out of Shilshole on a variety of boats. In 1999, I quit my job and took the opportunity to help a friend deliver his boat from Port Townsend to Fiji. The monotony of lazy days sailing and the exhaustion of sailing double handed for 4 months motivated me on my return to civilization to pursue a real career as a State Trooper.

Since 2000, I have owned and crewed on variety of sailboats racing and cruising around the Puget Sound, British Columbia, San Francisco Bay, and Pacific Coast.

I have been a member of the Bellingham Yacht Club since last year when I was appointed Sailing Fleet Captain. While the majority of my boating experience is sailing and racing, I enjoy the social aspects of the yacht club and especially the cruising scene. I can appreciate power boaters who enjoy reaching their destinations while the sail boaters are still enjoying the journey.

Aside from Sailing, I have Mountain climbed, I enjoy Kayaking, Windsurfing, SCUBA diving, I have a USCG 6 pack license, and jumped out of an airplane once.

Bart Maupin


I have been a member of BYC since 2005. My company, NW Explorations has provided a lead boat for many of the Lighted Boat Parades and Opening Day Ceremonies. I am a previous member of the Capital Yacht Club in Washington, DC. I have owned many boats for over 30 years. I was originally a sailor with three Swiftsure races and two trips from San Diego to Seattle in sailboats. I currently lead flotilla trips to Alaska via the outside of Vancouver, Prince of Whales, Baranof and Chichagof Islands every year. Since 2004, I have owned NW Explorations. Prior to that, my career included 22 years as a CEO of various communications and manufacturing companies and 17 years with IBM. Education: BA in Finance, University of Puget Sound and Masters in Business, Columbia University.

My committee preferences are Finance and the Dock committees. I think the lounge is the heart of the social activities for the club. Great job by the committed members! I think it would be interesting to evaluate the possibility of a full time bartender and expand the hours of operation, especially in the summer.

Over the next few years, I would like to see the continuation of the Junior Sailing program. This is a great way to get youth and parents active with the club. I would like to see the lounge with expanded hours.

I am looking forward to meet the candidates night on September 12th.

Please note that I am gone to Alaska for about two months every year during the summer.

Brian Pemberton



Originally a rag sailor, I learned to sail 8’ El Toro’s at Lake Merritt in Oakland California in 1960 through the Oakland Parks and Recreation Department. My brother and I sailed throughout the summers in our own El Toro’s and a Melody, (a 10” El Toro). I went on to sail and race in the SBRA, (Small Boat Racing Assoc.) in a Snipe, Finn, and finally a 505 in San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz, and surrounding lakes.

After high school I attended the California Maritime Academy in Vallejo and graduated as a Coast Guard licensed deck officer as Third Mate Unlimited, Oceans. Then I moved on to piloting serious power driven vessels. My wife Susan and I chartered powerboats for 7 years in the Northwest until we purchased our Grand Banks 46 in 2002. Upon retirement in 2009, we moved to Bellingham and from August 2009 to September 2011 we have spent over 260 days cruising the waters of the Northwest. Bodies willing, we will be departing Bellingham each June and returning in late September each year so will not be available for meetings during those months.

At present I am the President, (and Treasurer), of the Puget Sound Grand Banks Owners Association while Susan is the group’s Secretary. We were the 2012 Grand Banks Rendezvous Chairs (Sue did 99% of the work).

I must confess, I have attended only one event in the lounge at the club. Before joining the BYC, I attended a talk by an engineer from Blue Seas Systems which was very informative and would support more events like this one. I would like to see more informational and educational events at the club.

I would prefer to serve on the finance and dock committee’s if elected.

Unfortunately, I am not available on September 12th for meet the candidate’s night. We depart this Sunday for an extended train trip and we will be out of the area until October 15th.

Byron Richards


I began boating with my husband Jim 5 years ago on our 34 ft Bayliner, the Straight Jacket. We enjoy crabbing and cruising in the San Juan Islands and joined BYC in November 2010 in order to meet other boaters. I am a very social person who loves people and loves to throw parties and prepare and serve food, and the club provides many opportunities to do all of these things! I’ve even had a chance to taste the sailing side of boating through helping on the PITCH race committee and crewing for the Women on the Water Regatta. My leadership and organization skills have been demonstrated repeatedly, with the 2011 Spring Dance, Sucia Island Luau Cruise, Commodore’s Picnic, and the Oktoberfest, Halloween, Tom and Jerry, Lighted Boat Soup Supper and Holiday parties. Highlights for 2012 include chairing the Spring Dance committee and, along with Jim, hosting the recent highly successful Buccaneer’s Cruise. Through all of these events I have recognized the importance of setting and keeping to a budget and of building and acting as part of a team. I could not have accomplished all I have without many other hands, most notably of course, Jim’s.

I have been a member of the Marketing and Steering and the Programs Committees for which I am well-qualified. I would like to see many of the past activities repeated and have visions of many more including a bigger and better Super Bowl party for 2013, a quarterly “Bring a New Friend Night” on an Off Friday at 6 or some other membership drives, more cruises, and perhaps some non-boating excursions to a concert, a show, or a sporting event. I want to see more members involved with more activities; no one should be left out. It is important to reach out with personal invitations, perhaps a phone call, to members when events are happening, either to attend or help with the planning.

Respectfully submitted,

Angie Santosuosso


I joined the Club when I moved to Bellingham approximately two years ago, and I am currently a member of the finance committee.

As a youth I raced scow type boats throughout the Midwest. My summer job in high school and college was as a sailing / racing instructor for the Lake Calhoun Yacht Club in Minneapolis, MN. For the past ten years I have been cruising British Columbia and Alaska on my boat The BunkHouse.

Prior to moving here, I lived in Minneapolis, and was President of G&K Services, Inc. (an international, industrial laundry and garment manufacturing company). I worked there for 28 years, and participated in the growth of the company from $6M to $1 B in revenues.

Upon retiring I moved to Sequim, and was the volunteer President of the Sunland Golf and Country Club for four years. I helped the golf club re-examine their focus to better deal with today’s changing times. By sitting on the BYC finance committee (as odd as it may seem) I realized that we face many of the same challenges that the golf club experienced.

I would like to help BYC continue its traditions, along with moving forward in these challenging economic times.

Mark Schmerler


I am interested in running for the office of Board of Trustee position for the Bellingham Yacht Club.

I would enjoy volunteering my time and energy with the BYC. My boating experience have included the following over the past three summers:

  • I race my Etchells USA-190 “Beauzeaux” actively on Wednesday nights
  • I am crewing for Mike Kleps’ on his San Juan 24 “Bruce” on Thursday nights
  • I have also crewed for Ross Bernards’ on his Kire-Elite “Zen-No-Zen” for the past three winters in Blaine, Washington.

I also volunteered this last spring as the 2012 Etchells Regatta Chairman and am currently the co-captain for the Etchells Fleet#16.

Fleet#16 Co-Captain
John Stocklass
USA-190 “Beauzeaux”