The Gulfport Yacht Cub this year celebrated completion of a $2.5 million renovation that included an enlarged clubhouse, new kitchen and swimming pool, new furniture - basically the works.
   "The Sunday before Hurricane Katrina, staff and volunteers took everything away that could not be replaced," said Commodore Bob Walker, a federal judge. "Years of historical records, artifacts, trophies, the photographs of past commodores, all that was saved."
   The club, its piers and some of its boats were not.
   In 2004, the yacht club celebrated its 75th year, but the seeds for the social and sailing organization were planted in 1902, when Gulfport was a young city and a yacht club was part of the Great Southern Hotel.
   The organization was charted in 1934 as the Gulfport Yacht Racing Organization, and its first commodore was Dr. Arvah S. Hopkins, whose fight to have a sheltered municipal harbor helped pave the way for Joseph P. Jones Memorial Park.
   Katrina is not the first time that the yacht club, nestled amid the port, harbor and park, was whacked by a hurricane.
   "We don't have full insurance, but we have adequate insurance and we are going to rebuild," said Walker. "For now, a double-wide trailer will be delivered in a few weeks and we hope to be in operation again as a club by mid-December.
   The sailing and swimming programs will restart in 2006, likely before the clubhouse is rebuilt.
- KAT BERGERON