On a rainy afternoon in the Fall of 1989 several shore-bound sailors were trading sea stories in Rush Hilborn’s dockside garage and the possibility of forming a yacht club surfaced. The idea of having a club composed of those who all had their boats in the Balboa Yacht Basin wasn’t new to the marina, but having a group who were willing to put it together was the previously missing element. There were lots of reasons for giving up the idea: no available land on which to build, the city owned the marina, there were already a lot of yacht clubs, it would cost too much, who’d join …,and more. But the idea of a club where everybody would be in the same location, and where friendships could be maintained among people who were frequently together, was intriguing and seemed worth a try.
The first collective meeting was held in January, 1990 at the old Gladstone’s-4-Fish restaurant. Over 40 slip holders subscribed $20.00 each to underwrite the organization of the club and reimburse the five original members, Bill Burke, Paul Gerst, Bill Gorham, Rush Hilborn and Jerry Lester. The club was formed as a California not-for-profit corporation. Officers and Directors were elected and by-laws ratified. The Balboa Basin Yacht Club (BBYC) Burgee which flies from the marina’s fore peak combines St. George’s Cross with the family crest of Vasco Nunez de Balboa.