The Del Rey Youth Foundation (DRYF) was established to provide youths of all backgrounds with access to quality boating activities by several members of the FUBAR (Fleet Underway Baja Rally) Odyssey Committee of the Del Rey Yacht Club (DRYC), a powerboat rally that began in San Diego with a destination of La Paz, Baja California in November 2007.
This first rally involved a fleet of 53 powerboats, escorted by vessels manned by experienced skippers and with the key support people such as mechanics, doctors, paramedics, boat manufacturers, and the makers of major marine engines, electronics and equipment.
Bruce Kessler, president of the foundation and a yacht club member, said that the FUBAR Odyssey became one of the most successful and profitable events in the history of the Del Rey Yacht Club, with profits from the inaugural event exceeding $50,000 and specifically earmarked for the DRYC Junior Sailing Program. He noted that the interest from over $80,000 in endowments goes directly to the youth fund.
Kessler, the chair of the 2007 FUBAR event, and the club’s staff commodore, Peter Patman, worked on the rally with the Mexican Board of Tourism, a full partner in the event and co-sponsor.
The foundation supports providing quality experiences for eligible youths, and the First Time Sailors program is open to all kids from ages 8 through 13, Kessler said. The program also offers advanced sailing and racing, and runs a year-round high school sailing program.
The funds were ultimately used to purchase 20 Optimist sailboats because a new fleet was highly needed by the juniors, he said. The Del Rey Youth Foundation is the only charitable foundation exclusively dedicated to the Del Rey Yacht Club Junior Program, said Kessler.
Since its founding, DRYF has produced two profitable fundraising events for the juniors program. The 2009 grant, awarded in the name of Mort and Francis Bloom, provided the junior program five sets of sails to allow their intermediate sailors to be more competitive.
The 2010 grant provided two additional Optimist boats to the new fleet. One of the boats, named Andrew’s Place, was given in the name of Andrew Feldman, a beloved member of DRYC who passed away suddenly in 2009. The second boat, named Winship, was given in the name of William Winship Tarr, a past board member who also passed away in 2009, said Kessler.
This year’s grant, awarded in February and donated by Joel Young, resulted in a 2005 G3500 Chevy Express Cutaway for towing boats and equipment to regattas where the kids compete, noted Kessler.
In April, a free Junior Sailing Clinic was held to raise funds for teens and pre-teens by Gary Jobson, America’s Cup Champion strategist and president of U.S. Sailing. Proceeds from the silent auction and dinner benefited the Junior Sailing program, said Kessler.
Junior sailors who participated in JOBSON Day (Juniors Outreach for Boating Sailing Opportunities Now) on April 16 won 20 gift certificates of $50 each, to be redeemed at Action Water Sports for safety equipment.
This grant was made possible by a grant from the Bonnell Cove Foundation, part of the Cruising Club of America. Kessler said that two local sponsors for the program are Tony P’s Dockside Grill and Shanghai Red’s Restaurant, both in Marina del Rey.
“We are fundraising to establish a significant pool of funds for the DRYF, and we would like to hear from people to discuss our mission or support us in any way, such as establishing a restricted account, donating items to sell, and inclusion in estate planning,” he said.
The DRYF board of directors includes vice president Jo Swerling, Jr.; secretary/treasurer Donna Palmer Wilson; legal advisor Toni Kern; financial advisor Kraus/Kraus; and members Stacy Sinclair and Jerry Brown.