Waikiki Yacht Club members have historically supported national sailing champions from Hawaii who vie to represent the U.S. in the Olympics and in international competitions. The WYC has also supported Hawaii's only America's Cup entry. Club members, including famed Duke Kahanamoku, Hokule`a captain David (Kawika) Lyman, Olympic sailing medalists Dave McFaull and Mike Rothwell, and other contributors, have played major leadership roles in Hawaii's sailing history.
The club’s 501 (c)(3) educational foundation has supported one of the best junior sailing programs in the country, producing several national champions. The foundation, sustained by members’ donations, helps fund the participation of sailors in principal competitions in the U.S. through the purchase of sailboats and equipment. Working in tandem with the Youth Sailing Program, the WYC Educational Foundation also provides scholarships to students who are interested in learning to sail, but who might not otherwise be able to take classes.
Club members extend their love of sailing to adults who have lost part or all of their eyesight. Aboard the Windy Wendy, a 30-foot sloop, individuals can read nautical terms on large-print or Braille-imprinted instruction sheets and can steer the boat using a blind man’s compass. The opportunity for the visually impaired to enjoy being out on the water and to contribute to a relaxing sail is coordinated through Ho‘opono, a program under the State of Hawaii’s Vocational Services for the Blind. Interested individuals can call Ho‘opono staff member Gavan Abe at 586-5271 or WYC club member Bill Kimple at 422-0078.
All yacht clubs in Hawaii participate in SEAFEST, the annual fundraiser for the Hawaii Sailing Foundation, which is sponsored by the Hawaii Commodores Association. The Waikiki Yacht Club hosts the event every third year. Donations to the Hawaii Sailing Foundation support Hawaii’s young sailors as they learn the sport of sailing, master the principals of sportsmanship, and gain greater experience and exposure by traveling to clinics and competitions on the mainland.
WYC volunteers regularly remove marine debris from the Ala Wai Harbor following major rainstorms. Club members also join forces with the state’s “Get the Drift and Bag It” campaign, which cleans litter from Hawaii’s coastline. Projects such as these contribute to cleaner, safer, and healthier waterways.
Plywood, nails, and caulking are the materials needed to participate in The Plywood Cup Challenge, the annual fundraiser for the association that began in the mid 1980s. And what a better group than some fun-loving WYC sailors, who boast their boat-building skills, garner support for the event, and host the post-event party.
Additionally, since the inception of the association’s Rubber Duckie Race in 1988, WYC members have donated their time to manage the logistics of 20,000 toy ducks that make their way down the Ala Wai Canal for this colorful event. WYC members have raised nearly $1 million for the United Cerebral Palsy Association by contributing to these two events.
And so far, thanks to sharp eyes and incredible net handling talent, no duckies have made it past the club's C dock without being retrieved.