Photo | Lagniappe
Buccaneer Yacht Club commodore Lewis Philips poses with the ship’s wheel from the Resolute and a painting by local artist Devlin Wilson.
The year was 1928. Four local sailors sought admission to the venerable Mobile Yacht Club. In a reason lost to the pages of time, they were denied.
The quartet — Leon Delaplaine, John Mandeville, Ben Mayfield and Foster Pfleger — did not despair over the decision. They just decided to form their own organization.
This weekend, members and guests of the Buccaneer Yacht Club will honor that bold move with a 90th anniversary celebration.
“We started working on this eight months ago,” said Lewis Philips, currently BYC’s commodore. “It has really been exciting to serve as commodore at this time.
“The original spirit holds true from our founding members. We are a less formal yacht club than many, and we are known to have a lot of fun here.”
The club’s name did not come from pirates. The Buccaneer was a 30-foot sloop built by the original founders, who are said to have spent nearly all of their free time sailing.
As BYC began to grow, the club purchased a four-masted cargo schooner called the Resolute. It was docked at the Arlington Pier to serve as a clubhouse.
When World War II rolled around, the Army Air Corps used the Resolute as a storage facility, and eventually purchased the vessel. However, several mementos of the ship can be found in the current clubhouse, located across from McNally Park on land acquired in 1947.
BYC member Chase Sumrall said the original clubhouse was a one-story building. Following damage from hurricanes, the facilities were rebuilt aboveground. In the meeting room stands the ship’s wheel from the Resolute, along with a painting of BYC by club member and renowned local artist Devlin Wilson.
“In my short time at Buccaneer, you quickly see the relaxed atmosphere,” Sumrall said. “We are way smaller than most clubs, so it is a very tightknit group. There is not much pomp and ceremony here.”
However, BYC is very serious about its sailing.
“We have always put a big emphasis on racing,” Philips said. “Some of our racers are internationally known.”
Among them is Amy Chapman Kleinschrodt, who recently became the first sailor inducted into the Mobile Sports Hall of Fame. She has captured five gold medals while competing in the United States Sailing Association Women’s National Championships.
Her husband, Ken, has a long association with Buccaneer. His parents were members, as are their two children, Karl and Paul, and their daughter-in-law Ashley.
“My parents joined three years before I was born, so Buccaneer has always been a part of my life,” said Ken Kleinschrodt, who serves on the BYC board with Russ Johnson, James Layton, John Marshall, Larry Mouton, Kevin Polk and Jimmy Wacker.
“When we marked the previous anniversaries, it was a party at the Country Club of Mobile,” he said. “We had the 80th back here on the water, and I don’t think we’ll ever leave again.”
Kim Wilson, the artist’s wife, is helping to plan the festivities. She said the BYC flag will be lowered at sunset on Saturday, July 21. A dance will take place that night. The former commodores will be recognized along with the present officers. In addition to Philips, this includes Paul Anderson, vice commodore; Chris Shine, rear commodore; Ben Hayes, fleet captain; and Danny Robertson, recording secretary.
Ken Kleinschrodt said a flag-raising ceremony is set for Sunday at 2 p.m. A sailboat race involving the past commodores on Flying Scot and Fish class boats will follow. A shrimp boil will conclude the celebration.
The next big event on the sailing schedule hosted by BYC is the Middle Bay Light Race on Sept. 15, which is considered the second largest regatta of the season behind the Dauphin Island Race. The starting point is equal distance between the Buccaneer, Mobile and Fairhope yacht clubs. The boats sail to the historic lighthouse and back.
For more information on the club and this weekend’s events, visit bucyc.com or call 251-479-8190.
Soaring in LoDa
One of Mobile’s most unique athletic events returns for the eighth time this Saturday. Pole-vaulting competitors of all ages and skill levels will be back once more for the Dauphin Street Vault.
For those who have never witnessed the event, it’s not your typical track meet. Thanks to sponsorship by Red Bull, there is vibrant dance music and pulsating lights to pump up the athletes while the crowd is lined on both sides of the runway to cheer them on. As the night grows later, some of the competitors can be seen flying above the wrought iron balconies.
Devin King holds the meet record with a leap of 18 feet. Collegiate, professional and even Olympic athletes have participated in the past.
The DSV runs from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., with the elite competitors taking part at the end. Restaurants and bars will be open for spectators and participants to buy food and drinks during the entire session.
Dauphin Street between Jackson and Joachim streets will be closed to vehicular traffic from 6 a.m. until 11 p.m. Two vaulting runways and pits will be constructed Saturday morning.
Visit dauphinstreetvault.com or call 251-295-8481 for more details on the event.
Ready for some football?
The University of South Alabama has announced tickets are now on sale for all six home football games. The opener is scheduled for Sept. 1 versus Louisiana Tech. The Jags will host Texas State on Sept. 15.
October home contests include matchups with Alabama State (Oct. 13) and Troy (Oct. 23). In November, the Jags will host Louisiana-Monroe (Nov. 10), which is also the school’s Homecoming and Hall of Fame Game, and Coastal Carolina for Senior Day on Friday, Nov. 23.
Tickets for all home contests are $25 for sideline seats and $20 for end zone seating, except for the finale versus Coastal Carolina, which are priced at $15 and $10, respectively.