November 2018 Commodore's Corner

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.

October 2018 Commodore's Corner

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.

September 2018 Commodore's Corner

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.”

August 2018 Commodore's Corner

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.”

July 2018 Commodore's Corner

“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 . . .”

June 2018 Commodore's Corner

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).

May 2018 Commodore's Corner

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.

April 2018 Commodore's Corner

“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.

March 2018 Commodore's Corner

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!

February 2018 Commodore's Corner

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.

January 2018 Commodore's Corner

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”.

November 2017 Commodore's Corner

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!

October 2017 Commodore's Corner

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.

September 2017 Commodore's Corner

I want to start this month’s Commodore's column out with a shout-out to Marty Parisien and all of the EYC volunteers that came out for the Family Sail Day to Benefit the Relief Nursery. Before you move on to the rest of the newsletter, please turn on your speakers and listen to this interview on local radio station KPNW with Marty and Jennifer Solomon from the Relief Nursery. They did a great job of introducing the public to EYC, the Relief Nursery, and the event.


August 2017 Commodore's Corner

If you missed the last General membership meeting, Second Trustee Bob Pritchard invited members to come out to the club for the first ever “Potluck Breakfast & Solar Eclipse Viewing Raft-up” on August 21st. If you don’t already have plans for viewing the Eclipse please join us at 8:00 am and bring your solar glasses and a breakfast dish to share. We will plan to leave the dock a little before 9:00 am for a raft-up off shore.

July 2017 Commodore's Corner

When I wrote my first column for the newsletter this year, I remember it was a January morning and I was looking out the window at a slight dusting of snow. The temperature was just above freezing and the world of boating was far from my mind. Today, I am fortunate to be sitting on the back of my boat in the EYC marina enjoying a beautiful sunny July morning. The lake is flat and peaceful and only about five cars in the parking lot. It still amazes me how under-utilized the club can be a times, or maybe it is just the rest period we all need after a very active month of June.

June 2017 Commodore's Corner

What a great season we have had so far! And there is still plenty more going on at EYC. 

The Memorial Day Regatta was fantastic. We had sun and wind at the same time which, if memory serves me, is a rare occurrence for the MDR. Rich Johnson and his committee pulled off two excellent days of racing. Both Saturday and Sunday he tortured some of us old people with trips to the dash mark.

April 2017 Commodore's Corner

Mother Nature has been both generous and harsh so far this year. We have been blessed with plenty of rain to fill our wonderful lake and not so blessed with some heavy winds this past week.

Early last Friday, a wind storm (clocked at 60 mph on the club weather station) broke off the last four sections of D Dock and damaged the remaining sections of it in several places. The four sections that broke loose must have taken quite the joyride because 24 hours later they were found washed up on the north shore at Richardson Park. Club manager Rich Aaring is still scratching his head in bewilderment over how the broken sections traveled so far. 

March 2017 Commodore's Corner

Tick, Tick, Tick …

Just the sound of the clock reminding us how quickly the boating season is heading toward us. By the time you read this newsletter, the Club opening will be just two weeks away and the first Thursday night race of the season (April 6) is shortly thereafter. I better start getting my Santana 20 ready to go racing.