2016 BYC Flag Officer Candidates


Neil Bennett

Neil Bennett

Neil has 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 his dad and him to patch it up and row it around the bay. Next was sailing lessons in the Port Madison Pram, then one thing lead to another, and pretty soon he was a Non Resident BYC member in the late 1990’s and now with sailboat, Garufa, a Freedom 32, shared with his wife Michele.

Over the years he has 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 he 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. He enjoys both the relaxation of cruising and the excitement of racing. He is not all about sailing, but rather about boating (or yachting). Neil has friends with powerboats with whom he has shared many a good adventure as well as a vibrant discussion about the hydrodynamics of wakes… and enjoys their creature comforts as well. To every purpose there is a season.

Neil has served on the BYC Board of Trustees, as Fleet Captain, Rear Commodore and Treasurer and Vice-Commodore. He chaired the PITCH Regatta for several years and was instrumental in creating the Pink Boat Regatta in Bellingham, a benefit regatta for Breast Cancer in 2014, 2015 and 2016.



Jim Gibson

Jim Gibson

Jim has been an active member since joining the club in 2002. Jim enjoys and promotes both sailboat racing and cruising.

He has served on the Policy & Planning Committee, co-authoring BYC’s Employee Manual and Code of Conduct Policy, and was engaged with last year’s extensive Financial Management Review (audit) Committee. He has assisted the Youth Fleet in employment and policy matters, and is heavily involved in the club’s charity regattas.

Jim has served on the BYC Board and most recently as Rear Commodore and has been active in long range planning activities and ongoing club events. Jim has also chaired the Leukemia Cup Regatta for the past two years.



Tim Thompson

Tim Thompson

Tim has been boating all of his life. It was predestined with his being born in Annapolis, MD. He grew up on the lakes in Minnesota, learned to SCUBA dive after moving to Santa Barbara, lived aboard a sport fisher in San Diego and landed here in Bellingham after having kids.

Tim joined the BYC in 2012 and has been active in volunteerism through bartending, Club Scrubs, mark boat, PITCH and other opportunities.

Tim served on the BYC Board and is finishing up his year as Fleet Captain. Chairing the membership committee, Tim and his team were able to bring in 51 new members this past year. He is also on the committee looking at a direction and best-use of our kitchen. His 2 children enjoy the many benefits of family membership in the BYC.



Scott McEniry

Scott McEniry

I have been a member since 2012. I’m just completing a term as First Year Trustee, following a term as Second Year Trustee (appointed by the Commodore to fill the vacancy left by Donna Olsen when she accepted the nomination for Fleet Captain). During the past two years, I’ve served on several committees (Policy & Planning, Opening Day, Leukemia Cup) and created and chaired the Bar and Lounge Advisory Committee. I am a volunteer bartender, as I feel this is the best way my 15+ years of experience as a professional bartender can be utilized. I am a life-long cruising sailor, having explored the Salish Sea from the South Sound to Nanaimo. I have owned several sailboats from 12’ to 40’ and currently sail a 1946 Owens 40 Cutter. Professionally I have held several jobs in the marine industry, including maintenance/installation, sailing instructor, yacht broker, and am currently employed as the Western Regional Sales Manager for Ancor, BEP, Blue Sea Systems, Marinco, Mastervolt, and ProMariner. I leveraged my professional knowledge and presented a seminar on Battery Management for the Education Committee. I am committed to giving back to the Club, as being a member has given me friendships and experiences that will last the rest of my life.

  1. Why do you want to be on the Board of the Bellingham Yacht Club? Having served on the Board for the last two years, I’ve experienced firsthand the challenges and rewards that this level of volunteerism brings. I feel that I have several skills I bring to the table that will be of significant value as I embark on the path of moving through the chairs. I am excited about next year’s board and feel this will be an excellent way to have a substantial and ongoing impact in the long term direction of the club. I can think of no better way to give back to this club.
  2. What will you bring to the Bellingham Yacht Club if you are elected to the Board for 2016-2017? Serving on the board the past 2 years has given me the experience and insight required to advance the longevity and legacy of the Club and its members. I owned and operated a successful fencing club in Bellingham for 15 years, where our success balanced precariously between attracting new members and retaining current members. This experience will be beneficial in helping the Club, which faces the same dilemma (albeit on a much larger scale). My professional experience as a bartender has already allowed me to serve the club well, both behind the bar and as chairman of the Bar and Lounge Advisory Committee. My management experience at Blue Sea Systems over the last 15 years has honed my skills in teamwork, delegation, and management. I feel these skills are immediately transferrable to the position for which I am running.
  3. What is your vision for the Bellingham Yacht Club for the future? I would like to see the Club continue to grow its membership while offering more benefits to its members. The first helps ensure the longevity of the Club over time, while the second will do much towards lowering the rate of membership attrition. The marine industry as whole is experiencing a similar phenomenon: 7 out of 10 new boat owners leave the sport after 3 years. Creating programs and benefits that increase the interest and excitement of being involved on the water will not only keep membership fresh and alive for existing members, but will do much towards retaining newer members as their initial interest wanes. I feel the greatest strength of the club is bringing people together from all walks of life who share a passion for the water, and giving them the opportunity of creating a sustaining community that is truly greater than the sum of its parts.