About Willamette Sailing Club

Willamette Sailing Club is located on the banks of the Willamette River, approximately 5 minutes South of downtown Portland. It is the only small boat sailing club in Portland, and is dedicated to dinghy (non-keelboats under 20 feet) sailing and racing.

The club has over 300 members, and hosts numerous activities throughout the year. The WSC membership is comprised of a wide range of sailing enthusiasts. We have many members who primarily are interested in racing (from US Olympic team members to their first year racing a sailboat), members that just want a place to keep and launch their boat for day sailing, and some who just want a place to store their boat and enjoy the social aspects of the club. Whatever your sailing interest, WSC is a great club. The club hosts weekly races from February to November, holds racing clinics, organizes social events, sponsors several regattas each year, and provides a great opportunity to keep a boat on the river to enjoy evening and weekend sailing. The family environment at WSC creates a great atmosphere for family fun! Click here to view photos from our past.

WSC 2020 Board of Directors

Commodore: John Gridley

I grew up and have lived in the Portland area my entire life.  My wife and I are in the residential construction business. During my teens I had the opportunity to sail Lightenings on Vancouver Lake, it made a big impression on me.   Years later when returning from the Sea of Cortez and seeing all the sailboats, I decided to take a sailing class on the Columbia River and get involved in the sport again.  I purchased a small keel boat with a friend and spent many a wonderful evening on the river.  I’ve always enjoyed the water, and luckily my wife, Shelley has as well.  We spent our early years as a couple scuba diving, power boating, paddling and boat camping with our young family.

Our son Grant was very enthusiastic about all things water and adventure so we signed him up for a summer camp at WSC when he was 10 years old.  After a couple more camps he joined the youth race team and was hooked.  Grant had such a great time at WSC he coaxed me back into sailing and convinced me to purchased a Thistle sailboat.   It was with a lot of mentoring from club members we started racing weekly and eventually participating in traveling regattas as far away as SanDiego.  Sailing has taken us up and down the west coast participating with the Thistle fleet and following Grant to local, regional and national regattas.   It has been an action packed and rewarding past 9 years being involved at our club and supporting youth sailing along with Shelley.   Grant is now attending Roger Williams University in Rhode Island and a member of their varsity sailing team.  Shelley and I are processing being “empty nesters” and looking forward introducing my two young grandsons to sailing and the WSC community in the coming years.

Vice Commodore: Geoff Fanning

Geoff’s Dad taught him to sail in a Minto dinghy carried to Timothy Lake on the roof of the family station wagon. After terrorizing Lenore one high school summer day with his Dad’s Ranger 12 on Hagg Lake he pursued degrees in Math, Physics and Electrical Engineering, which he now uses to make ends meet building the kind of lasers that emit light. 10 years ago, he returned to sailing starting with an adult learn-to-sail class at Willamette Sailing Club. After five or six years alternately boring and terrorizing his family in a Catalina 14.2, and very occasionally achieving nirvana with all three members fully hiked out in a close haul usually achieved on a Yale Reservoir camping trip, and crewing mostly Thistles through Wednesday night racing and the occasional regatta (thanks Bill), he and Lenore find themselves with a Lido 14 in which they strive to at least stay with the fleet during races while not bumping into anyone. Geoff also fishes his Hobie Revo 13 kayak out of WSC, with which, if he could just catch a spring chinook under the Ross Island Bridge, he could say he’d got one under all three of the closest Willamette River Bridges! When not on the water or at work, he’s probably on a bike or reading a book.

Rear Commodore: Jim Harper

I started sailing keelboats in my twenties while attending the University of South Florida. This was mainly day sailing and overnight trips. I started racing keelboats in Seattle where I met my wife Tracey. After starting a family, we moved to Portland. When the kids were old enough, in 2009, and with some encouragement from others we joined WSC. At WSC, I started racing thistles which was my introduction to racing dingy sailboats. My kids (Ellie, Bethan and Beck), who are all off to college now, learned to sail at WSC and we have all enjoyed the community feeling at the club. You will find me out racing lasers and thistles on summer evenings and I look forward to helping the club get settled in our new clubhouse over the next year.

Treasurer: Christine Stamper

I got my introduction to sailing in 1980’s middle America – summer camp. They tried to teach us kids something we didn’t listen to and then sent us out 3 at a time on the iconic Sunfish. There, I learned first hand about small boat capsizes, cargo shipping lanes, gigantic ships with super load horns and frantic coaches with boat hooks and tow line. Some years later, I saw Willamette Sailing Club when we would walk on the greenway path. I thought: This place looks invitingly scruffy, I think I shall resume my nautical pursuits. So here I am, where I’ve upgraded to a Laser that I get all to myself and do a better job of staying out of the ships’ ways. One of my other hobbies is living well on a budget. I am arguably better at this than winning regattas. I hope to help WSC do the same.

Secretary: Arjan Duyvestein

Growing up in the Netherlands, I’ve always been fond of the water, and sailing was especially fascinating to me as a kid. After spending several weeks one summer on a boat with my cousins cruising through many canals, rivers and locks, I’ve always wanted to own a sailboat, but my parents were not sailors.  So it took about 35 years, but I finally bought our first sailboat (an old Daysailer) about a year ago and are having lots of fun learning more about it, fixing her up, and learning how to sail better. My wife Froukje is not into sailing much (yet) but is very supportive from the sidelines and can be seen on a boat in light wind. Our son Daniel is also very happy on the water and has been on the HS sailing team for a couple of seasons. We also have two daughters, one of which is more like my wife when it comes to sailing, and the other is eager to jump in an Opti and take a sailing class. We’ve been in Portland since 2005 and joined the club in 2015. WSC has been a great discovery for our family. We love the great people and I’m looking forward to building more friendships here while serving on the board.

Fleet Captain: Mike Rees

Michael Rees is a past commodore of Willamette Sailing Club and a founding board member and past president of Oregon Youth Sailing Foundation. He started sailing on a Flying Scot in Texas at age 9. From 1984 to 1989, he taught sailing at Camp Sealth on Vashon Island. He has campaigned a Thistle since 2002 and dabbles in Laser sailing. Nearly every year, he takes a sailing vacation in the San Juans and Canadian Gulf Islands. At various times, he has crewed on big boats, doing many of the Pacific Northwest distance races, including Swiftsure. He graduated from Seattle Pacific University, and then earned a Master’s Degree in English Lit from the University of Nebraska. He moved to Portland to get a law degree from Lewis and Clark College. When not sailing, he works as an attorney in Portland.

Port Captain: Thom Block