We are, again, saddened to announce that another long time VYC member, Tom Mortensen, VYC’s first Treasurer, crossed the bar Wednesday, July 6. He died peacefully after three months of medical treatment, which included transfers between a number of hospitals and specialists care. He was born on November 14, 1945, in Ridgefield, Washington, to Jack Mortensen and Jean (Thomas) Mortensen.
Tom is survived by his wife, Victoria (Vicki), son, Chad Thomas Mortensen and daughter, Kimberlee M. Leber. He graduated from Ridgefield High School and joined the U S Navy during the Vietnam War. He captained two PT “swift boats” through a number of intense battles during which he was awarded the Silver Star (the nation’s third-highest combat medal) as well as the Navy Commendation Medal and a Purple Heart.
Returning from Vietnam, he pursued a career in the financial market in San Francisco, California, where he climbed the ranks and eventually worked for Rosenberg Capital Management as an Investment Counselor. Promoted to a Senior Partner in 1981, he contributed greatly to the heightened success of the firm until retiring in 1995, after 20 years of service.
Upon retirement, he passionately enjoyed the ocean, and he and Vicki chartered sailboats in Tonga, Fiji, and Australia. Together, they sailed their own 42' Valiant from the San Francisco Bay Area to Zihuatanejo, Mexico before settling in Paradise Village for nearly ten years. While in Paradise Marina, Tom joined with Jim Ketler, and four others in establishing the reality of the Vallarta Yacht Club.
Returning to the states and moving with his wife and son to Cedar Park, Texas, Tom became extremely active in his community for almost nine years.
The family would like to express their appreciation for all the tender loving concern and support he received from friends and neighbors when his health started to diminish.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in memory of Tom Mortensen to Mental Illness Organizations, the American Heart Association, or plant a tree in his memory.
“Copa Yucatan”, one of the five events in the National Sailing Circuit (Circuito Mexicana de Vela) and is the second phase of qualifiers to choose the National Youth Team for Wind Surfing in the categories of Bic Techno and RSX, for both boys and girls. This event was a great success for the competitors from Vallarta Yacht Club, Emiliano Stachowiak, Santiago Stachowiak and Liam Santa Cruz. Emiliano finished in 3rd place in the RSX class. Santiago finished first in Bic Techno Sub 15 and Liam Santa Cruz finished 3rd in Bic Techno Sub 17 Category. Santiago’s performance qualifies him to represent Mexico in the Bic Techno World Championship in Italy this October, 2016. Emiliano missed being able to compete in the ISAF Youth World competition this year by just 2 points.
The competition was held in Puerto Progresso, Yucatan with 8 of the 9 scheduled races being completed. “The winds blew up to 35 knots per hour favoring us with the best conditions for the athletes from Vallarta”, says Oscar Sanchez, Coach for the Windsurfing competitors from Vallarta. “As their trainer, I am very satisfied with what they accomplished”.
Congratulations to these three great athletes and to their coach and trainer, Oscar Sanchez!
We are sad to announce that former VYC Commodore Al Burrow crossed the bar Friday, June 8. He died peacefully after a three-week battle with pneumonia.
Al was born in Long Beach, CA, July 3,1924. During WWII, he worked for 2 years as a Navy electronic technician.
From 1947 to 1949, he worked for Philco-Ford as a Tech Rep to the U. S. Air Force in Europe, mostly in Germany and Greece. He continued working for Philco on various Navy contracts until Philco was acquired by Ford Motor Co in 1961, when he moved to supporting satellite ground station facilities for the Air Force worldwide. Al developed a number of concepts such as encapsulating a trailer-based station in Thule, Greenland and providing uninterruptible power systems for these satellite tracking stations.
Al established the Facilities Engineering Department for Ford in Sunnyvale and recruited engineers in various specialties to serve for the Air Force contract.
While living in Sunnyvale in the 1970’s, Al served on the Sunnyvale Planning Commission during a period of growth in that area. Al retired from Ford Aerospace Corp in 1989, after 42 years with the company. He had met Karen in 1984, and together they traveled the world again.
In the early 80's Al entered the yachting world, acquiring a new 36-foot sailboat which he berthed in Alameda. He joined Encinal Yacht Club in Alameda in 1982, serving in various capacities until becoming Commodore in 1992 and President in 1993.
Al switched to power boating in 1987, acquiring a 42 ft. twin diesel trawler, aptly named the Lady K. Al and Karen enjoyed many cruises on San Francisco Bay with the Yacht Club fleet, and on individual cruises. Achieving a yearning desire, Al cast off from Alameda in 1991 on the Lady K for a great adventure cruise to British Columbia, Canada. Karen joined Al in Seattle and they cruised the northwest waters for the summer.
After traveling around Mexico, and liking the country and the people, Karen and Al purchased a condo in Nuevo Vallarta in 2000 at the Playa del Sol, and began spending the winter months in Mexico. He served as president of the Owners Association for several years.
Continuing his yachting interests, Al joined the Vallarta Yacht Club, implementing several new programs and becoming Commodore in 2010. He made many friends in his time at VYC and enjoyed the club, especially the domino games! His last trip to the club and to the condo was in 2015 season, after which time illness prevented continuing the long stays. His last trip was for brief visit in November 2016.
Al is survived by his wife Karen Guthrie, and Al’s adopted family of Karen's two adult children, Jill Jacoby and Kyle Guthrie, and the twin adult grandchildren Lauren and Jake Howry, and Karen's brothers Ron and John Karlson and families from Washington State.
Fair winds and following seas, Al. You will be missed.
A memorial service will be held for Al at Encinal Yacht Club. Karen has asked that memorial gifts be given to the Encinal Junior Sailing Program, and to the Vallarta Yacht Club Junior Sailing Program.
As many of you know, the 2015/2016 High Season got off to a slow start with the Opening Day occurring with only one-third of the membership actually being present in the Banderas Bay area. Maybe most members arrived later because their Farmers’ Almanac predicted a hot November-December 2015. And it was definitely correct! With the announcement in September, we did see a surge of interest in the Gold Flag membership and its benefits to our existing regular Flag members. This Gold Flag category may not be for everyone; but for many, it is a really good deal. If you are not familiar with this category, you owe it to yourself to contact Rudy or myself for details.
In January we experienced some cooler weather, but it was accompanied with some very unusual rainy days. Nevertheless, the Club went into full swing activity mode with a spectacular shore side entertainment schedule (even the Stick Horse Races returned ) combined with our annual Saturday Vallarta Cup races. February through March continued heavy activity at the Club and the Annual General Membership Meeting. If you did not attend the AGM meeting, I strongly suggest you read the Minutes to learn of the Club’s financial status and the actions taken by your Board and Staff to return the Club back to financial stability. Elections were held with the following 2016/2017 elected Officers and Board Directors:
Mostly because the Vallarta Yacht Club was honored to host the 2016 Men’s’, Women’s’ and Masters’ World Championships, the Mexican Sailing Federation (FMV) was inspired to form the 2016 FMV Cup. This umbrella organization brought together the bi-annual San Diego – Vallarta Race with the accompanying MEXORC Regatta and VYC’s signature Banderas Bay and WesMex Regattas culminating with the 2-month long Laser World Championship finishing on the 28th of May. A truly beautiful picture of hundreds of boats filling the Banderas Bay for five (5) consecutive months!!! Many thanks to all of you that served as volunteers, our “Little Club that Does” has earned its reputation as being among the world’s best favored Yacht Clubs.
Lastly, I want to advise you of the construction projects taking place during the summer months that will affect available parking. These projects are the 1) Renovation of the bottom floors of the Tonino building, 2) Reconstruction of the boat ramp and 3) Addition of downspouts to eliminate water ponding on the Club’s roof.
Look for more on this in upcoming Commodore’s Corner reports.
The Laser World Championships are over and I am continually getting emails from competitors and officials commenting on what a great event this was. After a week of recovery that included a massage, I want to take a few minutes to thank the many volunteers who made this event so successful. This series of Championships represents the first time that four Laser World Championships were conducted sequentially at one venue. There was plenty of concern by all parties that this could be done successfully. Thanks to all of you, you showed the world that yes, it can be done and done well.
At the top of the compliments was how friendly and welcoming everyone was during the event. You all made Vallarta Yacht Club a fun place to be and a fun place to compete. Thanks to each and every one of you for contributing your time, effort and energy to the success of the Laser World Championships, 2016.
Also on top was the great food and staff. We all enjoy dining at the club, but Israel became very creative in providing a nourishing, wide variety of delicious buffet menus, day-after-day for 2 months. And the staff, under the direction of Rudy and Danny, put their best foot forward and ensured that the needs of the athletes and competitors were met. They worked tirelessly for two solid months, responding to every need and every request put to them. They even managed to provide some impromptu entertainment with their dancing moves that went viral on Facebook!
These athletes were top level competitors from around the world and they expect the best at the World Championships. The On-the-Water support team that the Mexican Sailing Federation (FMV) provided gave them the best race management they could ever have asked for. This is the same team that we see at WesMex every year. Their performance was so impressive that they were asked to manage the Youth Championship in Ireland later this summer! While I am not sure that will happen, it is certainly an indicator that their skills and abilities were impressive and appreciated.
A big thank you goes out to those of you who changed your plans and stayed here in Vallarta to help support the event. And to those of you who specifically came to Vallarta because we needed you: Al, Jeanie, Paul, David, Carol, Richard; thank you. The volunteers at Vallarta Yacht Club are truly the best. Thank you all so very much.
Beginning this month, Banderas Bay will be host to the largest sailing event ever held in Mexico, the Laser World Championships 2016. The culmination of Banderas Bay’s FMV Cup, the Championships will comprise 4 individual events, hosting over 400 athletes from 52 countries:
April 12-12 Laser Women’s Radial World Championship
The Laser Women’s Radial World Championship will host 73 competitors from 33 countries. These incredible athletes represent the best women Laser sailors their countries have to offer, and many will be representing those countries in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.