Volunteers! To Arms!
June 17, 2014: If there is one thing that has defined Eastport Yacht Club over the years it would be... what?
A good party?
Well sure, but think again.
A love of the water and all things boating?
Certainly, yes but I was thinking of something else. I was thinking of volunteerism – not to be confused with malady of being from Tennessee (the “Volunteer State”, get it?).
As a relatively “new” club (we’re only 35 years old), we had to do many things by ourselves, as we could not afford staff to do all the stuff we wanted. We were started by folks in the marine industry so the “do it yourself” attitude was in our early DNA. We have kept that up over the years but I am afraid we are beginning to lose this positive element of our club.
What makes me say that? Well, the Leukemia Cup had to absolutely beg folks to help out – both on land for the “after” party and on the water to staff the race. Begging finally yielded barely enough boats for us to meet our obligations, which was kind of embarrassing since we share this worthy race with our AYC neighbors.
I recognize that we are all busy but these recent events should make us pause and consider that our Club needs members to volunteer not only for our committees but also events and regattas. Not only does this help our Club events function the way they should it is also a great way to get to know more people.
Speaking of Regattas… As most of you should know, EYC will be hosting the J/80 World Championships at the end of September and the beginning of October. This regatta is a really big deal. It was last held in southern France on the Mediterranean and while most of the sailors will be North Americans, there will be sailors from Europe and possibly elsewhere. Sharon and Jeff Borland have been leading a group that has been preparing for this for over a year. Hosting a regatta of this sort is a real honor.
It is also a real responsibility, one that EYC does not take lightly. There will be inconveniences for some members as we will have to empty the marina for the duration of the event. Parking may be affected from time to time. These are slight inconveniences that come with a yacht club of our heritage. We’ve made similar efforts with the Santa Maria Cup, the Melges 24 World Championship, the Lightning North Americans, the Women's World Match Racing Championship, even the J/24 World Championship going all the way back to 1992, but in the end, the slight inconveniences do not outweigh the benefits to our Club and our sailing mission.
Keep an eye out for future notices on the J/80 Worlds as well as other events at which you can lend a hand. The Club and your experience with it will be all the richer for your efforts.