[Commodore Scott Miller was out of the country on a family vacation at the end of June; Vice Commodore Heather Ersts stepped up to write his column for him this month.]
While the Commodore is away, the members will play! And play we did! What an awesome party we had with the French crew of L’Hermione while Commodore Miller was in, of all places, France on a family vacation. Oh la la! Thank you to everyone that jumped in to help plan and execute an evening that was quintessential EYC.
There are few activities that are more Annapolis-in-the-summer than Wednesday Night Races. EYC was able to get 30 L’Hermione crew members on boats in the thick of it--the great majority on race boats--including the Captain of L’Hermione. Language barriers made for interesting communications, but from all reports everyone had a great time.
Friendships were cemented and tall tales exchanged after the race at a BBQ and the EYC bar. A very special thank you to a group of EYCers that made sure our French friends were not in want of a beverage that night and covered the crew’s bar tab, over the one drink the club purchased for each crew member.
I loved that we were able to share with our French friends the activities that are the backbone of our club-- getting out on the water and the camaraderie of good friends. Merci!
Thanks and congratulations are also in order to EYC for the fantastic work with the Leukemia Cup. This is a very special fundraiser for us—for reasons that I am not sure everyone is aware.
The idea of Leukemia Cup regattas started at EYC and are now across the country. This year EYC was in the forefront of fundraising and the J/80 fun day and sail for those affected by the disease was a wonderful afternoon. The money raised by this regatta provides funds for important research and treatment solutions.
This disease has touched every one of us in recent days as the Governor of Maryland announced he has just been diagnosed with this aggressive cancer. Let’s make it a goal for this coming year to be the top fundraising club in the country.
As I write this, Beth Berry, the chair of the Annapolis to Bermuda Ocean Race committee, and I are in Bermuda meeting about the 2016 race. We are plotting and planning a pile of new activities and adventures. Keep an eye out for special announcements and new opportunities associated with the race. If I were you, I’d consider planning a trip to Bermuda next June!
As we head into the height of summer, let’s all enjoy the pleasures of the season and each other’s company. There are lots of wonderful events and activities coming up at the club including 4th of July, Bastille Day, Music on the Deck, and many others. Be sure to check the calendar and come on down or swing by while you are out on the water.
Things You Should Know...
May 1, 2015: If you read my column last month, you know I shared the thought that we would have to think about what we wanted to be as a Club going forward. We are no longer the "little club that could" but we aren't a big club either.
We have goals and objectives for attracting young families to the Club but we don't know if we have "the balance sheet" as a Club of 600 voting members to meet what this demographic will want. We need to think about that as we go forward. I encourage you to read that column to generate some thoughts about the future of the Club.
More Stuff You Should Know
(June 1, 2015) Before I get into anything too serious, let me just say what a great Commodore's Reception we had on Preakness Day. Hats off (and there were many that day) to Carole Vilardo, the rest of her Special Events Committee as well as Bill Kocan and the EYC staff. Great party! Thank you so much for making my last Commodore's Reception such a hit!
Now for some news: 1) Solar Power coming to EYC; 2) By-Laws Committee being formed; 3) Nominating Committee about to get going. Everyone else in the Club has been getting ready for the heavy part of boating season but your Executive Board has been busy at work.
Solar Power: I informed the members several months ago that we were looking into taking advantage of the tremendous offers of solar options to power the Club. While we are very happy to help the environment and reduce our carbon footprint, the Board was adamant that we would not do anything that was not in the financial interest of the Club... in other words, we would not pay extra for the benefit of utilizing solar power.
While my career is focused around energy policy, I knew that we needed someone who would organize and execute on a thorough review of our energy options. For this reason, I asked our Rear Commodore, Ed Wells (aka, "Vinny") to select at team to review the options. The team (Virginia Tippie, Steve Schaub, Kurt Karsten, Bill Kocan) looked at a variety of offers ranging from solar panels on the roof, purchasing solar power directly, to leasing solar panels from a third party. Ed and his team finally focused on an offer from a company called RER which specializes in Solar Power options for "not for profit" entities like schools.
The initial offer was to have RER and investors lease land for a solar field which would accommodate enough panels to power all of EYC's current needs as well as the needs of another buyer. The lease structure was for 20 years at rates that would be below our current BGE rate but which would go up slightly over time. Given that power prices escalate on an average of 3.5% a year, the prices we would be paying throughout the life of the contract would be lower than rates we could expect to pay from BGE.
Sound too good to be true? Well, some Board members thought so as well and we did some more digging. The basis of the costs and the reasons they are so attractive have to do with some of the government subsidies offered as well as the expectation the investors in the project hope to attain over time. Among other things, there is a growing market for a thing called "Solar Energy Renewable Certificate" which will provide the investors additional revenue. It is their expectation of SREC revenue and subsidies from the State and Federal Government that allows RER and the investors to offer us the terms we have.
Still, some Board members were concerned with making such a long-term commitment on behalf of the Club. Was it not possible that, instead of energy prices going up over time, that they could go down and the contract could be "out of the money"... paying more than the market down the road? The majority of the Board recognized such a future was a possibility but not one that had been experienced in the last one hundred years of electricity prices. As a consequence, a divided Board agreed (4-2) to enter into a "Power Purchase Agreement" with RER. Once we have final details, we will let you know. From my perspective, this is a good deal. We have predictable power prices for 20 years that are below current market and the market expected in the future. The "icing" on this budgetary picture: EYC will probably be the first Yacht Club on the Bay who can say that we provide for all of our power through Solar.
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.