Hello, dear members of the AYCB,
Whether you have found this website accidentally or have been given a tip about this, I warmly welcome your visit !
If you were a member after 1977/78, we very probably have met, may even have sailed together, because that was the year I joined as a non-military member. Irrespective of whether we know each other personally or not, I hope very much that you will drop me a line after reading this, because, as you will see, I have written this principly to elicit some reaction from our ex-members.
As you must realize by now, AYCB continues to exist, albeit in another guise, after the US military left Berlin in 1994. We have gone through some trial and tribulation for the sake of carrying on as a sailing club using the same harbour that we knew and loved. The gory detail can wait for another time, perhaps in a future piece in the same series on this website.
However, I must describe a few high points concerning the present club, with the hope of piquing your interest enough to get you to get in touch with us.
Rewind the clock back to 1992 when we knew that the departure of the military was imminent. The pall inside the club was like that inside a funeral home. We all knew that the harbour and the villa were going to be closed to us the day the military turned over the key to the local authority on December 31, 1993. We as a club was more like a ragtag bunch of unwashed sailors than an organisation with any leverage.
I and some ex-pat and local German members decided to polish up our ragtag image by formally forming a German sailing club. In Germany, this is absolutely essential, because only then would we acquire a legal status and be a legally acceptable negotiating partner in anything with anybody. We clung to the hope that the esprit of AYCB would continue to live in the new club, i.e., self-help, self-service, and minimal amount of bureaucracy. The new name for the club should also differ as little as possible from the old name. Hence, you see now, we are the AIYCB.
After we have done our part in cloaking ourselves in respectability, we contacted the German federal authority and the Berlin city authority that whatever they might decide about the future of the villa and the harbour, AIYCB was prepared to take over the harbour facility as a renter. What happened between the time we placed ourselves on their radars and officially became the leaser of the harbour from the city, and a little bit later, our present landlord, The American Academy, is part of the gory detail I mentioned earlier, the telling which must be
saved for another occasion.
Since 1994 there had been two makeovers of the physical appearance of the club. During the winter of 1995, we refurbished the old rental shed to be our club house. For those who were members in the late 80’s, that was the shed that faced the water where you signed for sails and paddle boats. After it’s completion, we had a gala opening of AIYCB on May 1, 1996, to all sailors and public of Berlin. The occasion was a huge success with thousands of visitors, motivated partly, no doubt, by the curiosity about this previous military recreational facility.
It turned out that the club house was not big enough for our Annual Membership Meeting, Thanksgiving Dinner or Christmas Party. Yes, we still have Thanksgiving Dinner and Christmas Party of the famous ‚white elephant‘ gifts that you were once so lucky to take one home.
So, in the winter of 2001, we built an extension to the club house abutting the old one. We had it’s official opening in the spring of 2002 on the occasion of Robin’s (Commodore) retirement from the JFK School.
While the first club house was a self-help project, the second was more elaborate. Fortunately, we have among the members architects that provided us the design and oversaw the building contractors. There are more club lores about the building of these club houses. Again, these have to be saved for the future.
I must now describe two projects that I am hoping to have your active participation and help.
(1) A reunion of ex-AYCB members in Berlin in 2005.
(2) Reconstruction of the complete list of Commodores and Vices of AYCB and AIYCB.
We have heard occasionally from very old (before I joined, that is), old, and more recent AYCB members since we set up our website. Without exception all were happy to find out that we are still going on. We have always responded with an invitation to visit the club should they be in Berlin again. Out of the blue Barbara (wife of Robin, Commodore) had this idea that we could motivate a bunch of ex-members to have a reunion in Berlin. I heartily support the idea and volunteered to coordinate this.
We thought up a date of summer of 2005. This should give all who might be interested enough time to organize and plan the trip. As for the exact date, I think I should canvass the opinion of all those who would participate. Barbara has a good suggestion that the reunion should centre on a regatta for the old-timers on one particular weekend. Remember those trusted Randmeers. The club bought four (later added another one) of them from the Rec Center’s boat auction. I think you would be happy to step inside them again, not to mention the Schaerenkreuzer that we all drooled over.
So, please get in touch with me, email to Quincy Liu whether just to let me know that these few lines have brought back fond memories of your sailing days in Berlin, or you are thinking of joining in this reunion and make a suggestion of a date.
(2) List of Commodores and Vices
It’s disappointing that the club has never kept a list of it’s Commodores and Vices. As the years recede, the names get forgotten or when they have their tenures gets confused. Below is my best effort in reconstructing a tentative list. I definitely need your help, dear ex-members, to correct and fill in all the blanks.
Year Commodore Vice ----------------------------------------- AYCB 1962 Gerry Coles............Larry Franks 1963 1964 .......................Curtis Haley 1965 .......................Curtis Haley 1966 .......................Curtis Haley 1967 Robert Mand............Curtis Haley 1968 .......................Frank Amando 1969 .......................Frank Amando .. 1975 Tom Fuller............. 1976 1977 1978 Wayne Kleinfelter...... 1979 John Birkholz.......... 1980 Earl Westerling........Edwin Jones 1981 Deane Magalis..........Jo Gygax 1982 Jo Gygax...............Bill Brooks 1983 Todd Zoph.............. 1984 Bill Brooks............Dale Riegle 1985 Arthur Graham.......... 1986 Robert Ahrens..........Dale Riegle 1987 Robert Ahrens..........Todd Zoph 1988 James Schafer..........Todd Zoph 1989 James Schafer..........Robin Beus 1990 Steve Thuemel..........Robin Beus 1991 Jim Taylor.............Robin Beus AIYCB 1992 Jim Taylor.............Robin Beus Quincy Liu......Uwe Nieguth 1993 Paul Westling..........Robin Beus Quincy Liu......Uwe Nieguth AIYCB ........................................ 1994 Robin Beus.............Uwe Nieguth 1995 Robin Beus.............Uwe Nieguth 1996 Robin Beus.............Uwe Nieguth 1997 Robin Beus.............Uwe Nieguth 1998 Robin Beus.............Uwe Nieguth 1999 Robin Beus.............Uwe Nieguth 2000 Robin Beus.............Uwe Nieguth 2001 Robin Beus.............Uwe Nieguth 2002 Robin Beus.............Uwe Nieguth 2003 Patti Ohlund...........Frieder Brandmeyer 2004 Patti Ohlund...........Frieder Brandmeyer 2005 Quincy Liu.............Frieder Brandmeyer 2006 Quincy Liu.............Frieder Brandmeyer 2007 Quincy Liu.............Hans Hübner 2008 Quincy Liu.............Jan Groscurth 2009 Quincy Liu.............Jan Groscurth 2010 Quincy Liu.............Jan Groscurth 2011 Quincy Liu.............Jan Groscurth 2012 Quincy Liu.............Jan Groscurth 2013 Frieder Brandmeyer.....Jan Groscurth 2014 .......................Jan Groscurth 2015 Martina Trümner........Jan Groscurth 2016 Martina Trümner........Jan Groscurth 2017 Martina Trümner........Jan Groscurth 2018 Martina Trümner........Jan Groscurth 2019 Martina Trümner........Jan Groscurth
I hope very very much that I shall hear from you, whether on the topic of reunion or the Commodore / Vice list.
Best of all, I hope I shall see you in Berlin in the near future !
I wish you all a new year of good health!
I didn’t have to write very much this time, because I decided that I would let some old records that I came across to speak for themselves. Among these are images that I have scanned from a Guestbook of AYCB.
The first entry in the Guestbook was in 1962, and there was approximately one or two entries per year except for a very quiet period from 1970 to 1974. The last entry was in 1983.
I have picked out some relevant pages where some names appeared for the first time. These names are the ones I have in my exAYCBer mailing list. In the future I might scanned the entire Guestbook and put it in our website – depends on how much time I have. (and on the webmasters time 😉
I am very happy to include in this dispatch contributions from Gerry Coles and A. Nonymous from the era of 1961-62.
Gerry Coles was the first AYCB Commodore. It was through his effort that the previous group of unwashed sailors (already called themselves AYCB, it seemed) were properly organized into a formal club.
Gerry also sent us Stars and Stripes clippings in which the activities of AYCB were described and reported: page1.jpg, page2.jpg.
The clipping from July 15, 1962, mentioned a check of $5 written in 1961 from Cornelius Vanderbilt to AYCB. I am sure all of you have seen this behind the bar in the old days. We still have this check, in our display case nowadays. And don’t you get the feeling that in the times that you were in AYCB, the club activities were about the same?
One name jumped out of this Star and Stripes clipping, the Schaerenkreuzer. Who can forget the Schaerenkreutzer !? I have found from a quickie research that the Schaerenkreutzer class is of Swedish origin. It became very popular after WWI in northern Germany and the waterways of Berlin. It’s amazing that AIYCB still has this Schaerenkreutzer and it is till being sailed. It was part of the inventory we bought from the Rec Center in 1993, along with the Randmeers. However, it needs a lot of restoration work in the boathouse every winter, and a lot of pampering in the summer in the water.
A few of you should remember the model sailboat in this picture. I just want to record here that we have kept that model sailboat right up to the end and it was auctioned off, together with a lot of other paraphernalia of AYCB, to members and friends of AYCB in 1993, as we did not know whether or not we would continue to exist after the end of 1993.
The proceeds from the auction, circa DM 3000, were donated to the German volunteer rescue organization, Deutsche Lebens-Rettungs-Gesellschaft. One recognizes them as the fluorescent-orange-clad men and women on speed boats that buzz around the Wannsee on a stormy day to come to the help of all boats in distress. It is another fact of sailing life on the Wannsee that all the clubs inform them of their regattas and the DLRG unfailingly station their speed boats around the course.
1962 – Gerry Coles, Larry Franks
1974 – Horst & Marlis Grosskopf, Karen Rock; for those who remember: Arthur Graham & Elke Wittkowsky, Dagmar Golz, Hal Shanafield;
1976 – David & Bev Law;
1980a– Earl Westerling, Ed & Edie Jones, Dale Reigle; for those who remember them : Rick Hutchison, Deane Magalis, Melanie Leonard;
1980b– Jo Gygax (written upside down!);
1981a– Julian ‚Taff‘ Brown (BBYC);
1981c – These two are the densest pages written, a results of a pretty good Christmas Party in the club. There were contributions from, among others, Jo Gygax, Julian ‚Taff‘ Brown, Ogden Lazenby, and myself.
It could be a source of pride that decorum was kept in all the messages that were left behind.
Some of you may have old photos that could bring back pleasant memories for many of us. Please don’t hesitate to send me some of them. I’ll try my best to fit them into a big picture.
There are a few changes to the list of Commodores and Vices.
As always, I welcome your input wherever you think we have made a mistake in the list.
With best wishes
As the AYCB’s Founding Commodore, first leader club had, please advise email address of person I should send my rememberances to about when our club was founded in 1961.
I plan to be in Berlin next weekend, let me know if you are about available to meet.
Love the website. I was vice commodore in 1980. It brings back sweet memories. So thankful that you’ve attempted to remember those of us who were past members.
Really enjoyed reading all of this. I hope to return to Berlin next year and revisit the Club. If anyone is there that remembers me please feel free to get in touch.
Very best regards
Taff Brown (BBYC)
I see Jim Taylor is trying to contact me. My email I firstname.lastname@example.org. Greetings to everyone at the AIYCB. It has been a long time since I have left Berlin in 1999 but I check into the website from time to time and miss camaraderie we shared. Anyone interested send me an email.
Joseph „Paul“ Westling
I am looking to contact Paul Westling.
You most certainly do not remember me, but I became an AYCB member in 1978 and quit when I was transferred to Stuttgart in 1983. I was Arthur Graham’s bowman and Dean Megalis‘ purser. For some strange reason after I limited access to the safe combination we started making big bucks and buying (and selling) club t-shirts, caps and other knickknacks.
I have been back in Berlin since 1998, but have been very busy personally and professionally. I would now like to reacquaint myself with the AYCB, viz AIYCB and maybe become a member.
I still am in contact with Elke Graham, who contacted you last year.
Please invite me to an event you may have forthcoming and I would like to „snoop“ around, chat with you and others and let you snatch my cash for a membership.
Feel free to contact me anytime you like.
Thanks for your good help.
Mit Grüßen aus dem freundlichen Berlin,
Don;t know, if you remember me. I am Elke Graham (Wittkowsky).
I now live in Vilseck working on post.
Love to hear from you,
Here is Quincy Liu writing. Of couse I remember you. I might have to think harder if I had only Wittkowsky to work with, but with the name Graham (Arthur!) I know straight away. If you don’t see my e-mail address in this reply, do send a message to our webmaster, email@example.com, and he’ll pass it to me. After that I can tell you more about what has happened with the AYCB that you knew. I’d love to hear how you’ve made your way back to Germany and Vilseck!
With warm regards,
I emailed you. Hope you received it.
Really appreciate the club’s revised website’s history includes that it first was known as the AYCB in 1961. That was when its qualified members could rent sail boats at bargain rates per hour (Olympic Dinghy $0.25 or Dragon $1.00) from U.S. Berlin Command’s Wannsee Recreation Center.