2014 BYC Flag Officer Candidates

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Jonathan Knowles


Jonathan has been a member of BYC since 2007, and was elected as Trustee in 2009 and then Fleet Captain in 2011 and Rear Commodore in 2012. He is a very active racer, regionally and locally in the Bellingham Etchells Fleet. Jonathan has been involved with the club’s major regattas, including Etchells, Youth, PITCH and Dale Jepson One-Design, and is a founding member of the Oak Harbor, Bellingham, Anacortes Racing Federation (OhBARF) which promotes regional cross-club racing. As Fleet Captain, his achievements included filling the vacant Youth Fleet Captain Position – Arne Ahlen, hiring BYC’s first Youth Program Director – Megan Link and starting up a new fun sailing race event, the BYC Summer Solstice Series. He was extensively involved in the Club’s remodel in 2010 and served as bar manager for more than a year creating many events at the Club revolving around use of our lounge, including Monday Night Football in the fall and Wednesday night “burger & brew” during racing season. Professionally he is the Information Technology executive at the Silver Reef Casino & Hotel. He ownsShameless, a 30’ Etchells, Rosinante a Crown 34 Sailboat/Cruiser and continues the traditions of a family of serious Northern California boaters.

Jonathan Knowles


Mick Corcoran

I have been involved with the club since 1987 and a member since 2000. I have been an active sailing racer in various events throughout Puget Sound with my first boat Shillalagh, and my current boat Blackfoot. I have done the Vic-Maui race on Kismet in 1996, Charlemagne in 2000, and GIA in 2004.

I have served as Sailing Fleet Captain three times and was elected Fleet Captain in 2012. I have assisted with the PITCH committee for a number of years. I was certified as a race management PRO in 2005 and have assisted with the Dale Jepson One Design Regatta, W.O.W. Regatta, Etchells Regatta, and the Jr. Regatta.

My other volunteer efforts have included Club Scrub, Tending Bar, The Policy and Planning Committee, Nominating Committee, and Trophy Chairman for the sailing fleets.

As sailing fleet captain I was required to meet with the board to keep them apprised of what was happening with the sailing fleet, propose budgets, and establish the schedule. I was also elected as a trustee in 2009.

  1. Which 2 board committees do you think your skills and interests would best serve? The first would be the Policy and Planning Committee because I have served on it before and believe my familiarity with the bylaws and the interests of the club would be well served. The second would be Building and House Committee. I have a keen interest in keeping the club in good order as well as our outstation.
  2. What activities and events you would like to see in the lounge and at the club? I always thought the wine tasting events were a great plus for our club and would like to see more of this kind of thing. Fridays at 5 is great too and could also be a venue to hopefully attract more new members. Perhaps also we could bring about more boating/cruising types of events. We are, after all, a yacht club.
  3. Where would you like to see the club going over the next 2-3 years? Continued growth of the membership would be great. Also growing our sailing fleet would be beneficial, not only for the bar revenue, but to get more people in the club more often. It isn’t just about sailing, but a friendly atmosphere with like-minded folks who enjoy each other’s company.

Mick Corcoran


Neil Bennett


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 an 8 foot sailing pram ‘Namu’, 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 now my wife Michele and I have Garufa, a Freedom 32.

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; this last year was as Fleet Captain. Michele and I have also taken over the position honorary bartenders for the Annual Tom and Jerry party. This last year has been a year of accomplishment for the club: improved financial position; bar manager; increased Youth Sailing participation including a successful fund raising dinner and silent auction; the hosting of Pac Rim; and the hosting of the 3rd annual (first in Bellingham) Pink Boat Regatta to raise money for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

  1. Which 2 board committees do you think your skills and interests would best serve? 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.
  2. What activities and events you would like to see in the lounge and at the club? 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.
  3. Where would you like to see the club going over the next 2-3 years? I would like to see the BYC continue to 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 and 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


Donna Olsen


My sea stories starts with growing up in Alaska. I was born on an island in Akutan, Alaska, a village of under a hundred people where we flew in by sea plane or came in by boat. Our family then moved to the City of King Cove, Alaska of 1000 people. I have many great memories of taking the Alaska State Ferry to Seattle, WA after fishing season. Moved to Bellingham, WA in 1992 and started buying Real Estate. I lived in Alaska ten months out of the year and lived in Bellingham two months out of the year. Decided to move to Bellingham in 1995 and found out how great it is here and bought a 28’ Erwin sailboat and have been cruising the San Juan Islands since. My husband Keith Olsen and I bought B&J Fiberglass, LLC in 2006 where we build, fabricate, and repair boats. I joined the Bellingham Yacht Club in 2011 first as a volunteer for Wednesday night Race Committee then we joined the Club on Opening Day. I soon found out we should have joined the Club many years ago.

Since 2011, I volunteer on Tuesday night Race Committee, Wednesday night Race Committee, Mark Boat driver, Score Tuesday and Wednesday Racing, Sailing Fleet Secretary for marine permits, and actively crew on Hravn a J33 on Wednesday and Thursday nights. Crewing in the Spring and Summer wasn’t enough for me and so I joined the crew on Zen No Zen an Elite 32 during the Fall and Winter season. I am also a volunteer Bartender, volunteer in many Social Programs and Boating Programs, co-chaired Programs, and currently co-chair the Membership Committee. I have also donated time and materials to the BYC Youth Sailing program repairing J24s and FJs.

  1. Which 2 board committees do you think your skills and interests would best serve? My committee preference is Membership and Public Relations if elected. I would also like to be a part of the Executive Committee, Bar & Lounge Committee, and Outstation. My professional work experience includes being on a Board of Directors for a Non-Profit Company as the Vice President and Secretary Treasurer, Notary Public, a Mill Representative as a Compliance Specialist for three business groups, Office Manager, Project Manager Asst. and currently own and manage a fiberglass business. Being in the boating industry I have met past members, members that would like to rejoin, and talk to people about BYC. Surprises me when someone asks me when I show pictures of sailboat racing they wonder if we should be listing that far over.
  2. Where would you like to see the club going over the next 2-3 years? My interest for the Bellingham Yacht Club is to see our membership grow and our boating programs grow over the next few years. We have many great social programs and events and feel it is a great combination. I would also like to see more members volunteer in our programs and have structure and systems in place for new trustees and the elective officers for when arriving into their term.

BYC has made a difference for me and I have enjoyed being a part of the social programs and boating programs. I also play volleyball at the City League in the fall and winter season, enjoy reading, taking pictures, and playing cribbage.

Donna Olsen