March 1, 2016: YAY! My favorite day of the year is upon us! The Burning of the Socks! Whoo-hoooo! The blessed day is Sunday, March 20, at 4:30 p.m. Bring your hosiery to EYC to roast and toast the first day of spring with your fellow club members over a beer and some oysters. Also feel free to bring a couple new pairs of socks for the Lighthouse Shelter.
This rite of spring, which was birthed in an Eastport boatyard and is now celebrated around the world, is not to be missed! I am hoping for an appearance of the heralders of spring—the osprey—so that we have the sights and sounds of spring in Eastport, which means boating season is right around the corner!
Speaking of boating, at the beginning of February, I had the amazing opportunity to sail in the Conch Republic Cup/Key West to Cuba Race Week, along with fellow EYCers. What a thrill! We all agree it was incredibly special to participate in the first sanctioned sailboat race to Cuba. However, in a country surrounded by beautiful, clear blue water and wonderful warm weather, as a boat lover the most heart-wrenching and sobering moment was when I realized there were NO OTHER BOATS on the water with us. Let that sink in....
However, we did have the great pleasure of meeting Cuban sailors, who take tourists out in huge catamarans to snorkeling and dive spots. Several of them were ambassadors on the dock in Varadero and were there to help with communications between us and the Cuban officials. These guys were wonderful and the bond between fellow sailors was instantaneous. Jokes, teasing, and nicknames were quickly bestowed, as well as offers of help.
One of my biggest thrills — which interestingly was an immediate counterpoint to the moment I realized the absence of boats — was the three catamarans with Cuban crew joining the parade of race boats headed out the narrow channel to the race course. The three Cuban boats, in familiar waters, confidently motored past the US boats with the Cuban crew cheering, dancing, and blasting air horns. The sight — undoubtedly a first for them — of 40 sailboats of all shapes and sizes heading out of their harbor must have been an off-the-chart experience for them!
I am happy to report the EYC burgee is securely posted in Cuba in two venues awaiting your visit: Marina Gaviota and Marina Hemingway at the Club Nautico International.
Back to reality....
Last month my VFB article was about the research and planning going at EYC with the committee chairs. Now it is your turn to participate! Come to one of several short Strategy Sessions at the club, where you can work alongside Board members and Committee leaders to provide your two-cents on goals and initiatives the club should pursue. Everyone is invited to participate and the information and ideas generated by these sessions will provide crucial guidance to club leadership about what members want for EYC.
Very exciting news! We have just received word that the New York Yacht Club Team Racing Committee has invited Team Eastport Yacht Club to participate again in the George R. Hinman Masters Team Racing Championship! The 3-day regatta will be held in Newport, Rhode Island, August 19-21, 2016.
The event is 3-on-3 team racing with up to 4 sailors per boat and a maximum weight of 2200 pounds per team. The helmsperson must be at least 45 years of age and the crew must be a minimum of 40 years of age. Last year was the first year a team from EYC participated and it appears the crew impressed them — congratulations to Team Captain Gavin O’Hare and the rest of the EYC team! We look forward to cheering you on this August!
For those looking to learn to sail or get their US Power Boating certification, please be sure to check out the 2016 Junior Fleet Programs and sign up. Classes are filling up — with some already sold out! All classes and descriptions are located at http://www.eastportyc.org/junior-fleet.
Want to get on the water, but don’t have a boat or want to try something new? Starting in the spring, EYC Junior Fleet will offer EYC members watercraft access for a nominal fee. The Watercraft Access Program entitles use of the fleet of 4 adult and 4 child kayaks, 6 paddleboards, and 4 Sunfish during the boating season from April 15-October 31 as weather permits. Use of the Sunfish sailboats is subject to pre-approval. Visit the Members Only page of the Juniors section for more details.
Let’s get ready to go boating!
The start of a new calendar year always brings new year resolutions, goals for the coming year, and planning. We have been doing just that at EYC.
We held an All-Chairs workshop the morning of Saturday, January 9. Every committee shared three issues they are concerned about related to EYC and three goals their committee is working on in 2016. It was a very useful morning and a great beginning to improving communication between committees and working together better and smarter.
Many of the issues raised are ones we have been facing for a long time — the lawn getting too much use for the grass to establish, lack of a long-term parking solution, Rainy Day fund very low, and no capital reserves.
Other issues we need to be concerned about and need some further thinking and discussion include decline in race registrations for regattas, better events for new members, and keeping up with the preventive maintenance at the club.
We also heard the need for more volunteers. Lack of volunteers responding to requests and some committees needing volunteers with very specialized skills and the need for better methods of letting members know who needs what skills. Several issues were related to a need to improve communication with the general public during our special events, with the members, and with each other.
The good news is that the issues raised are not horrible or unfixable — most just need to be identified and worked on.
The committee goals are exciting, many will help correct the identified issues, and all will make EYC an even more impressive club.
Many of the goals are related to improving operations transparency and communication: Board minutes posted within a week of each meeting, distribution of monthly Finance Report, definition of roles and responsibilities of committee chairs, checklist for events that is shared/discussed at all-chairs meeting, moving EYC website to a new vendor, and increasing readership of existing communications.
Several goals will bring more money to the club: filling all Junior Sailing classes, filling the marina, and increasing Outfitters net profit to $15,000.
To hear and learn more about the finances of EYC and see the 2016 budget, please attend the Financial Town Hall on Sunday, February 21, at 4:30.
A bunch of the goals will help new members get involved and meet people, as well as work to solve the volunteer issues: creating a volunteer database, identifying specific projects seeking volunteers, enabling volunteer sign-up at the club on the 2nd floor, encouraging new member/waitlist members and their sponsors to work two events per year together.
Others will help with our long-range planning and are improvements to the club: conducting a capital reserve study to define the capital needs and a replacement schedule for the clubhouse and marina, revising our hurricane plan, adding parking lot lights, purchasing a watering system for the grounds, completing installation of new wifi for the club and marina.
A couple of the goals are working to get members on the water: more member access to club-owned boats, and doing one EYC Boondoggle (a day out on the water traveling as a club to party at a fun location).
A few continue our conservation greening efforts: completing our solar power project, revisiting our marina oyster reef, and achieving Sailors for the Sea certification for the club and marina.
And a bunch are for us to have a good time together: presentation to the membership of the EYC History project, more family events, having great public events, having members in Bermuda for the finish of the Annapolis to Bermuda Race, hosting new members at existing EYC events.
Hands down, my favorite stated goal that we can all do is: introducing myself and get to know a member I don’t know!
For the full list of issues and goals we gathered at the All-Chairs work session, please see the member side of the website.
My vision for EYC for 2016 is for the club to work towards the goal of being financially sound, which means operating in the black, putting money into our savings funds, and establishing a business model for the club; to be well-operated; environmentally conscious honoring the water we all love; getting people on the water; and having fun together. I think we are well on our way to achieving many of our goals and we are going to have a very successful year.
Speaking of having fun together, I hope everyone will attend the Commodore’s Ball on Saturday, February 20. This year we are celebrating the waters of the Chesapeake, Cuba, and Bermuda. The dress is EYC Formal. There will be fantastic food, an open bar, and dancing. Plan on a fabulously fun night!
Fair winds and following seas.
December 1, 2015: Happy Holidays! They are upon us, whether we are ready or not. However, fear not!—many elves have already been working away to ensure we have a wonderful holiday season at Eastport Yacht Club.
Speaking of elves, the first thing you have to do this holiday season is to find out your elf name. This important—and will get you drinks from the bar! The chart to assist you to discover you elf name is around in a variety of places at EYC and on our website.
January 1, 2016: Wow! What a month it has been.
To begin, I want to say how proud I am of Eastport Yacht Club and the overwhelming call to immediately throw open our doors to our neighbors at Annapolis Yacht Club after fire destroyed their clubhouse. We did just that and hosted the Frostbite race the next day. Getting on the water and gathering together afterwards—events that are the crux of a yacht club—was what many people needed to begin the healing process.
And while Annapolis Yacht Club rebuilds its clubhouse, AYC members will be welcome at EYC as our guests. I hope everyone will welcome them with open arms and hugs. However, please be assured that EYC members are the #1 priority of the Board.
Be there or be square!
First and foremost on everyone's calendar for November should be the EYC Annual Meeting on Saturday, November 14th at 1100 at the Annapolis Waterfront (formerly Marriott) Hotel. It is imperative that Voting Members attend this meeting so that we can have a quorum and conduct the business of Eastport Yacht Club.
The Annual Meeting Packet with the meeting agenda, minutes from last year's meeting, committee reports, and proposed bylaws amendments will be mailed to the address the office has on file for you in the next week. (We’ll also post them on the Members’ side of the website.) Please read the materials before the meeting.