A Great Deal on the Horizon...
April 1, 2015: April is kind of a month of anticipation around EYC. Some folks are still getting boats ready for the season. Regattas are about to start and Race Committee is busy giving refresher courses on managing a race and other helpful courses. There is Easter with its wonderful Brunch and Easter Egg hunt for the kids, but April is kind of a quiet month.
This relative quiet affords me the opportunity to discuss longer-range stuff. In fact, let's start with the results of the Long-Range Planning Committee survey. Ed Michels will have a report in this issue of the VFB that I encourage you to read. Remember, this was the result of extensive interviews done back in 2012 while we were in the trailers. Some of the goals or aspirations expressed in it raise questions in my mind as to how we achieve them in our current composition as a Club.
If I think of Eastport Yacht Club as having a business model I would compare it with two other Clubs and what their "model" represents.
- On one end of the spectrum would be our neighbors at Severn Sailing Association (SSA). This is a facility with minimal overhead but excellent sailing facilities. Their membership is composed mostly of dedicated sailors with racing being their main focus. They have limited amenities, no bar and a limited snack bar. But it works for them. Their limited scope and mission makes them attractive to the dedicated small sailboat racer.
- On the other end of the spectrum is the Annapolis Yacht Club (AYC). They have over two thousand voting members and offer everything from racing facilities, a competitive Junior Sailing program, large marina facilities, and extensive amenities in a well-appointed Clubhouse with a large management staff. They cover nearly all aspects of what can be expected from an established Yacht Club. Their initiation fees are higher than ours but their annual dues cost to members is nearly the same as ours. They are able to do this because costs are spread across many more members.
- EYC occupies what I would characterize as the "middle ground" as a Yacht Club business model. We offer racing facilities and opportunities, but our Yacht Yard is not as well equipped for racers as SSA or AYC. We have very nice Club amenities in terms of bar, restaurant and management capabilities but we are about at our limit as to what amenities we can offer. At a cap of 600 members, the balance sheet really can't pay for anything else.
It's kind of a nice place to be. It's what I used to refer to as the "Goldilocks Club". Not too hard (SSA), not too soft (AYC), "just right". True, we're bigger than the 200-person Club that moved into the first Clubhouse back in 1990 and we have allowed our membership to creep up to a Voting Member cap of 600, but in the scheme of things we are a relatively small Club. Judging by the results of the Long-Term Plan, this is the way most members like it. It is nice but... is it sustainable?
The reason I ask is that we are trying to recruit younger families with children or about to have children to re-invigorate our Club. If this were 1980, we would not need to do anything to make ourselves attractive to this demographic. But it is 2015 and what this group expects has changed with the times.
Spring is coming...
March 1, 2015: Meterologists will tell you that we have had a relatively mild winter, when taken from the broad perspective of December 21 to March 21. True temperatures were reasonable for much of the season but... Damn! These last few weeks have made up for it. It's been a while since the Severn froze over. A trip across the Bay Bridge would see ice all the way across on the south side of the span.
But wait! There is light at the end of the tunnel and it is not the oncoming headlights of a salt truck!
March 8 means the beginning of Day Light Savings Time. Who wouldn't give up an hour of sleep on a Sunday to get that extra hour of daylight every day for the next several months?
Following is a transcript of the video recorded message from Commodore Scott Miller circulated as a link in the EYC Newsblast for February 4 - 15, 2015.
I am using this method of communication because what I have to say concerns every member of Eastport Yacht Club and I have found that traditional methods of communication are often overlooked.
As most of you know, a few Senior Members are threatening legal action against the Club. They claim that the Club, by the vote of the Membership taken on September 7, 2014, committed a "breach of contract" in its changing of the discount they receive from 25% of voting member dues to 60% of voting member dues. These Senior Members are acting on advice from a local law firm: Krause and Ferris. As I mentioned in my previous communication on this matter, we have communicated back to them that we do not agree with their view of the Membership action. We believe we have acted properly and in accordance with our by-laws in making changes to the Senior Membership Category (formerly known as "Emeritus").
A few members have approached me to suggest that if the Senior Members who were in place prior to the vote were "grandfathered" – effectively allowing them to retain their previous dues discount level – the threatened lawsuit would not be filed in Anne Arundel Circuit Court. This would mean that the 55 Senior Members in place as of last year would pay 25% of voting member dues while any new Senior Members would pay the member approved 60% of voting member dues.
Reply to Ferris Letter of February 12: This is the transcript of the video linked in the Newsblast of February 18, 2015.
It is with great regret that I deliver the latest news on the now likely lawsuit initiated by certain Senior Members against our Club. In my last message, I urged those disgruntled Senior Members to avail themselves of rights under the by-laws to draft a motion and get the required signatures to be considered by the Members in a Special Meeting. I, and the rest of the Board were hopeful that this group would drop the threat of the lawsuit against the Club and dedicate the considerable efforts they have made on the initiation of this action towards more constructive means of engaging their fellow members.
February 1, 2015:
Turn, turn, turn…
Okay, you have to be of a certain age to remember this song by the Byrds which was a musical rendition of a quote from the Bible (Ecclesiastes 3:1, “For everything there is a season”). But it is appropriate for this discussion.