What a wonderful and busy two weeks we have had at Eugene Yacht Club. If you did not have the opportunity to attend Sail School this year, you should definitely put this on your calendar for next year. A big shout out and thank you to Katie Bloom O’Brien and Stephanie Lunceford for organizing and running a fun and educating Sail School. Enrollment for Sail School was up this year with 90 students. I would also like to thank Rich Johnson and the many volunteers for organizing the food for the week, Terri Ward and the rescue boat volunteers for keeping everyone safe, and the dozens of others who pitched in to help. There were so many memorable moments that happened during the week, but one special moment for me was the closing award banquet honoring Dick and Margaret Brust with an annual award to be given out each year in their name for volunteerism to Sail School.
Who ordered up summer in June? The weather lately has been wonderful for sailing, and events at EYC have really taken off. The Memorial Day Regatta took place with great wind and some rain on Saturday, but Sunday was sunny with less wind. We had around 53 boats out racing on both days. Many thanks to Regatta Chair Dean Mitchell, to Leta Sellers, Matt Fleischman and the kitchen crew for fabulous meals, to Richard Johnson for heading up the race committee, to Club Host Dan Merritt, and to all who worked behind the scenes.
Last weekend we hosted the “Live on the Edge” Regatta and we had the second largest participation since this regatta began 13 years ago with 30 multihulls registered. There was great wind all weekend. Saturday may have been a bit chilly, but Sunday was absolutely perfect. Thanks to Regatta Chair Roeland Kapsenberg for another great event, and again, to the crew in the kitchen and to Race Chair Richard Johnson.
In less than two weeks, we will host our annual Sail School, which is our largest event of the year! Katie Bloom O’Brien and Stephanie Lunceford have planned an exciting and fun week for all ages. This year we have over 90 people signed up to perfect their sailing skills. If you are not signed up or volunteering, I hope you will come out and share in the fun.
What an amazing three-week stretch of warm weather we had. In the middle of the great weather we had the Skippers and Mates Dinner, which started out with a University of Oregon Jazz combo out on the deck with about 100 people gathered listening to great music while dinner was being cooked. We then all leisurely moved inside for dinner and then an unbelievable presentation by Haley Lhamon, Navigator/Tactician and Skipper for Sail Like a Girl, 2018 R2AK winner. A huge thank you to Shelley Johnson and her crew who put together an affordable, entertaining evening. What a wonderful way to begin the year for EYC.
A shout out for their great job of getting the club ready for the season to Paul Stephens, Gordon Mattatall, Marji Clune, Bob Pritchard, Nick Tabet, Gary Powell, Matt Sprick and the many others who came out for all those work parties. The docks and grounds all look great.
The lake is more than full! On April 8th, the Army Corps of Engineers had all four gates open releasing water. Everyone downstream—especially in Corvallis area—probably was not happy, since it pushed the Willamette past flood stage and has closed highway 34 the last couple of days. But, we have lots of water in our lake and that is good.
The youth dock is coming along and will probably be placed in the water this weekend. All that will be left is the topside boards. I would like to thank Paul, Gordon, Jim, and Marty, for braving the rain last Saturday to get us in the position to finish this project. I would like to remind everyone that this weekend is a work party weekend and we need lots of people to come out and help. We have an Open House on Saturday, April 20 that we need to prepare for. We want our club to look great for that event!
We are less than a month away from the time when members start to seriously think about putting their boat into the water. April 1, which this year falls on Monday, is the day when the club traditionally begins its activities, with water and power being turned on to the trailers. Also the fleets gear up for the first race of the season.
This year April 4 signals the beginning of the spring racing series, so I would like to remind everyone not to overlook your safety equipment before you head out on your boat. Does your boat have life jackets for everyone? Do you have a throwable floating cushion handy? Do you have a signaling device? Have you and your crew practiced a man-overboard plan? Finally, make sure that you have a current Oregon Registration sticker on your boat.
The rainy weather the last couple of weeks has been a gift to EYC when we think ahead to summer and remind ourselves that all this rain ends up in the lake. At least from this standpoint, rain is a definite blessing.
Work party projects on Saturday, February 16 will be focusing on the construction of the youth dock, finishing up the swim area wave attenuator, and the beginning of cleaning up our grounds for the start of the season. As with any project, many hands make it easier for all. Please join the crew this Saturday starting about 9:00 am. If you have any questions about how you can help, feel free to contact Marji Clune, Bob Pritchard, Nick Tabet or Paul Stephens.
Happy New Year! This year I celebrated the new year on the East Coast, specifically Virginia Beach. It was 72 degrees and sunny, and I had the opportunity to spoil my grandson, which made the new year even better.
I am saddened to report that long-time member Fred Barker passed away over the holidays. There will be a Celebration of Life for Fred on February 2 at 1:00 pm at the club. Our hearts go out to the family.
The first—and perhaps only—free meal of the year is almost upon us. On Saturday, January 26 at 6:00 pm (note the time change!), the annual EYC Board of Trustees Chili Feed happens. Yes, everyone is invited, and yes the Board is preparing, serving, and cleaning up. Bring your appetite and your favorite beverage. Everything else will be provided. The Board does request your participation in voting for the best chili of the night, a highly coveted award by the Board members, which gives the winner bragging rights for the rest of the year.
When I look at the EYC Member Handbook and see the list of Past Commodores, I am awed by those who have served before me. It seems that it was just yesterday that Mark Schroeder asked if I would be willing to serve on the Board of Trustees and now here I am, Commodore of Eugene Yacht Club.
EYC exists because of the dedicated volunteers that provide countless hours to the Club. Starting with this year’s Board I ask everyone to join me and thanking each one for their dedicated service: Robert Moline, Vice Commodore; June Chamberlin, Secretary; Matt Sprick, Treasurer; Stephanie Lunceford, 1st Trustee; Al Avey, 2nd Trustee; and Gary Powell, Rear Commodore.
At this year’s Annual Meeting, I was supposed to present my annual budget to the membership as specified in the Bylaws of our Club. Well, I did not do this, and am taking the opportunity now to present the budget as detailed below.
With the September draw down of Fern Ridge Lake, our boating season came to an early close. Hats off to those hardy sailors who continued to join in Tuesday fun races up, to and including October 2. I was able to sail on September 25 (as a passenger) and it was a blast!
Looking back, the past year has gone by so quickly. In fact, at times it seems like watching a movie on “fast forward”—you can recognize the scenes but you can’t make out the details. It was a full year in so many ways including improvements to our facilities, exciting regattas, lively social gatherings, and lazy afternoon sails. With that said, let me see if I can “slow the movie” down and capture a few snapshots that stand out.
School has begun for millions of children across the country. As a child growing up, I always looked forward to the start of school. And even today, I can still recall many of teachers who made a lasting impact on my life. These were the people who not only taught me to read and write and do math, but also taught me how think and organize, explore and dream.
As the sailing year (and my year as Commodore) winds down at EYC, I have been thinking about some of the lessons that sailing has taught me. So with certain apologies to Robert Fulghum, here’s my version of “All I Needed to Know I Learned from Sailing.”
If you ask anyone who has ever been around me, they will tell you that I am person who likes to make lists. I start out each day with a list. I start out each week with a list. I start out each year with a list. And I enjoy the satisfaction of crossing things off as I go along. And yes, I have a checklist for launching my boat in the spring and retrieving my boat in the fall. My family calls it neurotic while I prefer the term organized!
Read on for my late boating season list. Let’s call it “Top Ten Reasons to visit EYC in the next 30 days.”
“Many hands make for light work”
–John Heywood, English Proverbs, (1546)
Like many of you, I enjoy learning about bits of “wisdom” that have been passed down over the time. It may just be the “preacher” in me, but then the world of boating also has more than it’s share of sayings. For example, “keeping things on an even keel” or “learning the ropes.”
These past few weeks I have been reflecting on the words at the top of my column. When I look back across the past two weeks at our club, I see am amazing amount of “work” being carried out by an amazing number of “hands.” What is even more amazing is that nearly everyone involved would also say that they were having fun!
Space (and memory) will not allow me to begin name everyone involved, but there are few folks that I want to recognize. First to Renée LaFrance Wingert and Heidi Leyba for a fantastic Sail School. From the Sunday night social—complete with a pirate takeover of the club—to the Friday banquet, it was a great experience. I believe that we had 74 students enrolled this year– an increase due, in part, to offering two free tuitions to new members. Many thanks to all the instructors, to Janet Mitchell and all the kitchen volunteers, to Glen Hughes and the rescue boat volunteers, and to the dozens of others who pitched in to help. As the old saying goes, “Many hands . . .”
One of the joys of belonging to a yacht club is the opportunity to visit other yacht clubs. Within the yachting community, this is known as “reciprocity.” What this means in practical terms is that you can show your EYC membership card at any one of 25 yacht clubs in the U.S. and Canada and they will welcome you warmly.
Jane and I recently traveled to San Francisco for a family wedding. And, to my delight, I learned that the reception was being held at the St. Francis Yacht Club. If the Eugene Yacht Club could be described as “casual” then the St. Francis Yacht club is definitely “formal.” From the moment you walk in the door of their $10 million clubhouse, to the staff dressed in uniforms, and list of “Olympians” who grew up in their club, there is the feeling that you have arrived on “hallowed ground.” It was fun to wander around and look at the trophies inscribed with names of sailors I had only read about, to gaze at intricate scale models of America’s Cup Boats, and to admire their gift shop (look, but don’t touch).
First let me say that it is wonderful to see the lake full! It feels like it was a long—and dry—winter, and your Commodore was growing concerned that he would fail his Number #1 job—to fill the lake. Fortunately, the Spring rains arrived and here we are. It is also wonderful to see boats out sailing again. Congratulations to those dedicated and hardy members who have launched their boats and are enjoying Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday racing. You are an inspiration to the rest of us!
I promised myself that I would have Mint Condition, my Capri 22, in the water by May 1 this year. But, as some of you know, my father passed away on April 25, and the weeks since then have been something of a blur. Lots of phone calls, emails, FAXes, and trips to Portland. My new goal is to get my boat launched by Memorial Day.
“There is nothing — absolutely nothing — half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats . . . or with boats . . . In or out of ‘em, it doesn’t matter.”
– Kenneth Grahame
The Wind in the Willows (1908)
It’s that time of year once again, when the tarps come off, the sails are unfolded, the batteries are charged, the gas tank is filled, and the lines are uncoiled. Time to break out the soap and wax, or maybe the sandpaper and varnish, and do those projects that you swore up and down you would do last winter! But it’s not really a chore if it involves messing around in boats, right?
Like many of us, our Yacht Club is also waking up from winter. And while I’m not sure that “messing about at Yacht Club” is as fun as “messing about in boats,” there has been an amazing amount of work done this past winter. Our Committee Boat underwent a major remodeling that included a new aluminum top, interior paint, and solar charging panels. Thanks to the Santana, Thistle, and Wavelength fleets, it will also soon have a new Automatic Start Box. Our dying Boston Whaler has been reborn as a new custom aluminum Rescue Boat that will serve us for many years to come. Thanks to Glen Hughes and Dave Brown for leadership on these projects. Thanks also to Marty Parisien and Wally Anderson for the work they are doing getting our Zuma and DaySailer boats ready for the season.
One of the things that I enjoy about sailing is the sense of ‘tradition.’ After all, boats and water have been around for a very long time. In fact, I often remind new sailors that they are doing something that people have done for thousands of years. As far as I know, ours is the only sport that can make that claim! Of course, with thousands of years of tradition comes thousands of years of customs and habits.
It stands to reason that most yacht clubs also have a strong sense of ‘tradition.’ That is, certain rules, customs, and habits (both written and unwritten) that govern day-to-day life around the club. Tradition says that we help each other launch our boats, that we pitch in at the Potluck, and that we keep an eye on each other’s children. These traditions are a good thing!
One of my mentors growing up was my High School track coach. He was a soft-spoken man who used very few words. However, when he did speak, his words were full of the kind of quiet wisdom that stays with you. To this day, Coach Cotton is still one of people I look up to and try to model in my own life. Ironically, I learned years later, that Coach Cotton’s father was a Methodist Minister. In fact, his father once served the Coburg Methodist Church where I would later serve. Small world!
One of Coach Cotton’s favorite expressions was, “The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary!” He even had this phrase printed on a poster that hung in the track locker room. And he would remind us of this truth before each and every practice.
The month of January takes its name from the Roman god “Janus” who is pictured with two faces. One face looks backward to the year just past while the other face looks forward to the year ahead. According to tradition, many ancient Romans made promises to “Janus” as a part of their “self-improvement rituals” for the new year. Whether true or not, it is true that New Year’s Resolutions have become an annual ritual for people around the world—including yours truly. Read on to see some of my “Nautical New Year’s Resolutions”.
Gary Powell, 2018 EYC Commodore
I am both excited and humbled to serve as your Commodore for the coming year. Others have said that the Commodore has just one job—to make sure the lake is filled! At times, the Commodore seems more like the ringmaster in a circus trying to keep the action going in the all various venues—from racing and Sail School, from buildings to budgets, and from parties to potlucks. Fortunately, this is not a solo job and I ask you to join me in thanking the members of the Board of Trustees for their dedicated service to the club: Mike Merrifield (Vice Commodore), Bill Boyce (Secretary), Janet Mitchell (Treasurer), Bob Pritchard (1st Trustee), and Robert Moline (2nd Trustee). In particular, I want to thank Rear Commodore Ted Walkup for his steady, thoughtful, and generous leadership this past year. And I, for one, am grateful that he is still on board to help steer the ship!
If you have been out to the Club in the last couple of weeks you will have noticed the sailing season is quickly winding down, but not totally wound down yet, as last night was the end of the Tuesday night races. I believe only two boats were out sailing—one boat from TYC and one from EYC. Tina and Ken Hoffman get the Hardy Sailors Award (that is, they would get it if we actually had that award). Not only were they out sailing after dark on a cold fall night, they came in and started up the BBQ to cook their dinner. They know how to get full enjoyment out of the club right up to the end of the season.