The following excerpt is from an article on the club, written by J.C. Stevens – for the Canadian Yachting Association’s “Sailing Forum”, December 1975.
“From time to time Sailing Forum has contained some absorbing articles on various of Canada’s historic and prestigious yacht clubs. Tiddly Cove Yacht Club qualifies on neither account being only a couple of seasons old and having accomplished nothing of note. However, its concept, formation and growing pains have some unique aspects which may be of interest to those who are contemplating a similar exercise or who are searching for new directions for an existing club.
“Some two years ago, a group of a half dozen or so skippers of cruising class boats in the Vancouver area conjectured that there might be others like them who had little or no racing experience; wished to engage in some sort of competition; but could not, or did not want to, afford the substantial sums required to gain entrance to an established club. They decided to form their own group.
“Over the winter months ‘73/’74, flyers were distributed to boats in various marinas and by spring the group was sufficiently large, about a dozen boats, to schedule and conduct a program of six races in 1974.
“Initially, the group operated as the Sailing Division of the Thunderbird Yacht Club which was, otherwise, strictly an “outstation co-op” comprised predominantly of powerboaters. Perhaps inevitably, the interests of the two factions became so divergent that the sailors “seceded” in 1975 and formed their own club, Tiddly Cove. The name, incidentally, is plagiarized from the gentle cartoons done by Len Norris in the Vancouver Sun and is entirely, fictional.
“The taste of racing in 1974 naturally whetted the appetite for tougher and more serious competition, of which there is plenty in Vancouver. To be eligible for this, the other clubs required that we obtain affiliation with both the CYA and the PIYA. This was done and, through the courtesy of Eagle Harbour YC, Kitsilano YC, Royal Vancouver YC and West Vancouver YC, our boats have been able to compete throughout 1975 in the 50-80 boat fleets that are common to local events and in the process to win a share of the tin! Concurrently, we have continued our own more casual competition within the club”
The Thunderbird Yacht Club had been formed in 1972 with the objectives of providing cruising destinations for members. By 1974/75 they had met their initial goals with a membership of 100 boaters, a lease for foreshore property at Ekins Point in Howe Sound, installation of 280 feet of floats on that lease, and provision of moorage at Secret Cove.
Within the Thunderbird Yacht Club, there was a sailing division. Early in 1975, it was becoming clear that the objectives of the Thunderbird Yacht Club were not in concert with the objectives of the sailing division which were: 1) to provide informal, low pressure club racing and 2) to provide an opportunity to race in YARC. The sailing division was growing and memberships were being solicited on the basis that new members would not be entitled to outstation moorage privileges, but would have a lower fee structure. Existing sailboat members retained their mooring privileges. The sailing division was to be self-supporting. The problem~ however, was that the Sailing Division was limited by the club to 25 members, ie. a ratio of 1:4. Jim Stevens, Fleet Captain of TYC, made a formal motion that “the sailing fleet be encouraged to increase its members to a level not exceeding a ratio of 1:2 with respect to power boats.’ When this motion was rejected by the executive of the Thunderbird Yacht Club, a core of individuals meeting in the West Van Rec. Centre decided to survey the Sailing Division to determine interest in starting a totally new club. Of 21 sailing members, 18 voted yes to forming a new club.
At a meeting in the Bayshore Inn on April 29, 1975, Tiddly Cove Yacht Club was born. A constitution, on which six members had worked and which later was used by C.Y.A. as a model across the country, was submitted, read, discussed and altered by the meeting. All current sailing members of Thunderbird Yacht Club who applied to join or transfer to the new yacht club were accepted without payment of initiation fee and with no further payment of dues until the commencement of the new club’s next fiscal year at November 1, 1975. At this meeting the first executive of the yacht club was elected with Jim Stevens as Commodore, Gerry Porter as Vice Commodore, Bruce Carter as Rear Commodore, Bob Piggott as Fleet Captain, Ed Estlin as Secretary/Treasurer, and John Hall as Director, with $1100 in the Kitty. Membership in CYA, PIYA and the Council of B.C. Yacht Clubs followed and, with Al Ludbrook working on PHRF ratings, the club was in business.
THE NAME / TIDDLY COVE YACHT CLUB
Suggestions were submitted at the first meeting of the club and displayed on a blackboard for perusal. They were: Howe Sound Yacht Club, Lions Gate Yacht Club, English Bay Yacht Club, Tiddly Cove Yacht Club, and Tyee Yacht Club. The first round ballot for the name of the yacht club was overwhelmingly in favour of TIDDLY COVE YACHT CLUB after the fictional north shore location from the Norris cartoons in the “Vancouver Sun newspaper (along with other notable venues for his humour such as Amblesnide, the Acme Pewter Tuning Fork Co., and Snaflouver).
The name was chosen partly because of an impassioned address by Ed Estlin describing that a) it is unique – which it is, not being on the map; b) it is nautical – there are few coves on the prairies; and c) that “Tiddly” means shipshape or intoxicated, and both are appropriate. These were all good reasons, however in addition, the club has a tendency to be ineverent and the name serves as a good reminder that we should never take ourselves or our sport too seriously. After the meeting, Ed Estlin, the inventor, was instructed to contact Len Norris of the Vancouver Sun for permission to use the name.
“…Then we raise the Separatist Status Standard…sing our militant song North is North and West Best…pop bombs into their mail boxes…”
After Len Norris graciously consented to the use of Tiddly Cove in our name, the first commodore, Jim Stevens, sent him a letter offering the cartoonist the commission of Honourary Commodore. The letter outlined the following duties for Mr. Norris:
1) That you pay no fees; neither do you receive any!
2) That you have no duties or responsibilities; neither do you have any authority!
3) That you be invited to attend all our meetings and functions; and you have the right to decline without explanation or notice!
4) That you are entitled to say anything you like; and that anyone else is entitled to disagree with it!
Mr. Norris’ reply is reproduced here in total. He served as honourary commodore for 2 years, then retired to return to his favourite sport, golf.
The Vancouver Sun
May 15, 1975.
Mr. 3. C. Stevens, Commodore,
Tiddly Cove Yacht Club,
4190 Sunset Boulevard,
North Vancouver, B. C.
Dear Commodore Stevens:
Having read the list of Duties and Responsibilities
involved in holding the rank of Honorary Commodore, Tiddly Cove Yacht Club, I accept the honor with gratitude and profound thanks.
The sheer lack of effort and exertion demanded of me in granting use of the name I don’t own, and in accepting this reward I don’t deserve is a fine example to all in this age of energy conservation.
I find, too, that the copy boys, while loath to salute,
do address me as ‘Commodore, sir”, when I wear my peaked cap to the office.
Our distinctive burgee was chosen through a competition amongst members, prospective members, and their kids, at a TCYC dinner in the fall of 1975, at the (now defunct) Canyon Gardens on the North Shore. Everyone was asked to design and colour their suggestions, which were pinned up on curtains around the room. From 48 designs of set dimensions, all submitted anonymously, three emerged as finalists, revealed as Valerie Caner’s, Paul Estlin’s and Jim Stevens’, Since the vote on the three burgees was very close (76, 74, 65), the finalists were then evaluated for ease and economy of manufacture The winner was the burgee as we know it today, designed by one of the founders of the club, Jim Stevens.
Though the colours are the same as the code flag “0’, he chose scarlet and gold as being highly visible and indeed they are very distinctive in a crowded anchorage or in the distance. One adorns John Zavaglia’s store at Thunderbird and many have been exchanged over the years with other Yacht clubs while including as far afield as the Rio de Janiero Yacht Club and the Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club! In exchange, TCYC has collected about 40 burgees over the years.
The Jacket Gerry Maguire, Commodore in 1981, felt that his appeal and authority would be augmented by suitably formal apparel. He purchased a smart blue blazer, one size fits all, embellished it and took the salute. Each year thereafter it has be worn, and added to, by the commodore at sail past and is much admired. It now weighs 5 kg.
The Hat Something was missing, so the next year Al McTavish topped of the uniform with a spectacular navy blue (naturally) cap with abundant scrambled eggs on the peak and a pair of golden wings like Hermes’ protruding from the sides.