Club History

PCYC club drawing

By 1830, New Orleans had discovered the Gulf Coast. With the construction of the Pass Christian and Cat Island lighthouses, the Pass Christian Hotel was built followed by small family-owned hotels and boarding houses that sprang up. Dual resident summer homes were built in Pass Christian, Bay St. Louis and Ocean Springs. Steamboats plied the coast from Mobile to New Orleans, making scheduled stop at the small towns and tourism was born.

When Pass Christian was incorporated in 1848, it was already famous for its gallant and gracious charm and the courteous service given to its summer guests and residents. That was the era when the Pass had nearly a hundred private piers jutting out into the Mississippi Sound. The Pass Christian Hotel started in 1831 and when taken over by the affable hotelier R. H. Montgomery in 1847, it was further expanded and renovated.

Yachting in the south was born in Pass Christian. The first regatta was promoted at the Pass Christian Hotel and held on July 21, 1849. Citing a New Orleans newspaper The Crescent, “It was a gala day at the Pass. The quiet harbor was thronged with boats, gay with streamers and manned by athletic crews…” Twelve sailboats lined up at the start of the triangular course, and the Flirt of Biloxi won the Silver pitcher with the Anna of the Pass in second. By the end of the evening the Southern Regatta Club was organized with Pass Christian as its headquarters.

James W. Behan was elected as the club’s first president (the title “commodore” was not used until 1854). Activities continued in The Pass until 1857 when the club relocated to New Orleans and held its regattas on Lake Pontchartrain.  Since the records of the Southern Yacht Club trace its history back to the club’s founding in the Pass in the 1849, SYC is the second oldest yacht club in the United States, next to the venerable New York Yacht Club can document an earlier founding date.

Past Commodore of the Southern Yacht Club Sam Heaslip helped organize the current Pass Christian Yacht Club in 1893. Joining with four other regional clubs, the Southern Gulf Coast Yachting Association was formed in 1901 and reorganized in 1920 as the Gulf Yachting Association (GYA), which today has more than 30 clubs.


Among other things, Pass Christian Yacht Club is noted for having the longest running regatta for female skippers. Under the sponsorship of then commodore Bernard Knost, the Knost Regatta was established in 1938 and continues as an annual event at PCYC

PC Harbor after hurricane Camille

 Over the next century and one-half after its establishment, PCYC weathered two world wars, a recession, a succession of changes in location, and numerous hurricanes including direct hits by the infamous Hurricanes Camille and Katrina. The Pass Christian Yacht Club survived to rank among the premier yacht clubs of the Gulf Yachting Association, the only GYA club to have held and won in a single year; the women’s championship (the Knost Trophy), the senior championship (the Lipton Trophy) and the junior championship ( the Junior Liptons).

The clubhouse is today located in the picturesque harbor at the foot of Pass Christian’s Market Street, providing services and other amenities for more than 700 members.

Pass Christian Harbor Sunset

 Written by Dan Ellis

  • Past Commodores

    1893, Com Sam F. Heaslip
              Com John T. McDonald
              Com Bernard Chotard
    1928, Com Luther H. Barksdale
    1929, Com J.M. Terrell
    1932, Com Henry Roux
    1933, Com Leo McDermott
    1934, Com Henry Roux
    1935, Com Henry Roux
    1937, Com Bernard L. Knost
    1938, Com Bernard L. Knost
    1939, Com Fred A. Sutter
    1940, Com Fred A. Sutter
    1941, Com Cary E. Spence
    1942, Com Jack E. Kerrigan
    1943, Com Jack E. Kerrigan
    1944, Com J.W. Terrell
    1945, Com J.W. Terrell
    1947, Com Charles B. Merrick
    1948, Com Charles B. Merrick
    1949, Com Joby Dennis
    1950, Com J.W. Terrell
    1951, Com Arthur B. Tipping
    1952, Com Arthur B. Tipping
    1953, Com Jack E. Kerrigan
    1954, Com Jack E. Kerrigan
    1955, Com J. Barkley Witherspoon
    1956, Com J. Barkley Witherspoon
    1957, Com J.W. Terrell
    1958, Com J.W. Terrell
    1959, Com Burris Wood
    1960, Com Burris Wood
    1961, Com Gordon Bishop
    1962, Com Gordon Bishop
    1963, Com Wm. Perry Brown
    1964, Com Wm. Perry Brown
    1965, Com E.L. Jahncke
    1966, Com H.H. Hillyer
    1967, Com George W. Byrne, M.D.
    1968, Com George E. Morse
    1969, Com Charles Pearson
    1970, Com Fernand J. Milhas
    1971, Com John V. Dugan III
    1972, Com Sydney Ellis, Jr.
    1973, Com Michael S. Rafferty
    1974, Com Elmer H. Scott
    1975, Com Michael S. Rafferty
    1976, Com Byron W. Stinson
    1977, Com Abner Northrop, Jr.
    1978, Com C.D. Taylor, Jr.
    1978, Com Byron W. Stinson
    1979, Com Steve McNair, Jr
    1980, Com Steve McNair, Jr
    1981, Com Donald M. Rogers
    1982, Com William O. Rainnie
    1983, Com Thomas C. Shellnut
    1984, Com C. Randall Jones
    1985, Com Donald D. Doyle
    1986, Com Denby Garrison
    1987, Com A.K. Northrop, Jr.
    1988, Com James A. Williams
    1989, Com Oliver S. Montagnet, Jr.
    1990, Com Oliver S. Montagnet, Jr.
    1991, Com William A Peneguy
    1992, Com Jerry Pilcher
    1993, Com Frank Allen
    1994, Com Frank Allen
    1995, Com Shelly Killeen
    1996, Com Harry Hammett
    1997, Com Harry Hammett
    1998, Com John Dane
    1999, Com John Dane
    2000, Com Charles Wood
    2001, Com Sandy Dugan
    2002, Com Eugene Walet
    2003, Com Eugene Walet
    2004, Com Ben Puckett
    2005, Com Mimi Parker Thomas
    2006, Com Mimi Parker Thomas
    2007, Com Danny Killeen Jr.
    2008, Com Danny Killeen Jr.
    2009, Com James "Buddy" Clarke
    2010, Com James "Buddy" Clarke
    2011, Com David Taylor
    2012, Com David Taylor
    2013, Com Kenneth Yeomans
    2014, Com Kenneth Yeomans
    2015, Com Patrick Burns
    2016, Com Patrick Burns
    2017, Com Hutson Lambert
    2018, Com Hutson Lambert
    2019, Com Frank C. Allen III
    2020, Com Frank C. Allen III
    2021, Com Jane E. Parrish