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2006 Spring Newsletter

Greetings! As I sit down to write this letter the weather forecast for the coming weekend is calling for temperatures near 60 so spring must be just around the corner. Lingering snow patches in the shade on the north side of our house remind us, however, that winter is still with us and that we’ll have to wait just a few more weeks before the start of the SBYC season.

The Board has been hard at work this winter preparing for the upcoming season. Social Chair Pam Prichard is kicking off the social calendar with the Spring Dinner at the Hawthorne Hotel in Salem on Saturday, April 8, as described in a recent mailing to the membership. From there, House Chair Frank Hassler has Work Day planned for May 13, and Race Committee Chair Jim Lidington’s racing season starts on Saturday, May 27. For the next four months the calendar is chock a block with racing and social events for all ages and interests. I hope to see you all at the club enjoying the friendly competition, camaraderie, and pleasant setting.

As has been customary in the past, a good part of the Board’s time over the winter was spent poring over the budget for the coming year, as we made every effort to keep the budget as lean as possible while still providing the services that we have in the past and setting aside funds for capital projects where we can. We believe that the resulting dues and fees that you will see in your bills in April continue to represent excellent value. However, due to negative trends in the club’s membership we were forced to increase dues and fees by a larger percentage than we would have liked. While certain expense items such as fuel, utilities, and insurance have all increased significantly, the biggest driving force behind dues and fees increases in recent years is the fact that the club’s membership is on a declining trend. The number of Senior A members peaked at 626 in 1999 but then declined to 524 last year.

While membership trends have tended to follow the economic cycle in the past, and a drop-off in membership from the levels of the late 1990s go-go years was not unexpected, the economy has long since recovered from the early 2000s economic hangover and membership should have recovered by now. However, it has not and this is a worrisome trend for the club looking into the future. The club depends on a large membership base over which to spread the significant fixed costs of maintaining a staff and running the club’s operations. Increasing membership, therefore, will be a key theme this year at the club. Dana Jorgensson and Ellen Lidington have graciously agreed to take on co-leadership of the Membership Committee, with Beth Leahy acting as Board liaison, and have already developed exciting ideas for attracting new members into the club. SBYC has always been an open and welcoming place for visitors, guests and new members — please help to continue this tradition by going out of your way to welcome new faces and offer help to those interested in getting involved at SBYC.

A second and related theme will be re-examining the dues and fees structure of the club. Past Commodore Ed Desmarais instituted a capital fee last year to raise money to fund certain identified capital projects. The Board decided this winter to extend the capital fee for a second year to fund several additional outstanding projects. However, the Board also decided, after much discussion, to undertake a comprehensive review of the entire dues and fees structure of the club. Vice Commodore Steve Fritch will be leading this effort and will be looking for your input.

We are grateful that Ron Petoff will once again be bringing his extensive skills and experience to bear on managing the club this year. One of Ron’s immediate priorities is to hire new launch operators to replace Dave O’Malley and Andrew Greely, who have moved on to new things. Thanks to Dave and Andrew for their years of cheerful and skillful service!

New Board member Story Reed has been working with Ron on the club’s website with the goal of increasing usage by members, particularly for communication purposes. We hope that Board Members, fleet captains, the Sailing Program and others will increase their use of the site’s “posting” features to get information out to the membership as a whole and to various groups within the club such as the fleets or sailing program parents and participants.

Our second new Board member, Jake Fiumara, has already hammered out a revised Hurricane/Storm Policy with the help of Jim Lidington. Boat owners should take a few minutes to review this prior to the start of the new season.

In the Development area Norma Brettell and I will be working on a combination of fundraising and long-term development initiatives that we hope will help raise money to fund specific needs in the short-term on the one hand, while also sowing the seeds for longer term fundraising on the other hand. Please feel free to contact one of us if you have ideas or suggestions in this area.

Beth Leahy and the Sailing Program Oversight Committee have been busy as they are faced with replacing several staff members in the Sailing Program, including Program Director Liz Fiumara, who resigned this winter in order to focus on her education career. Many thanks to Liz for her years of dedication to the program! Thanks also to Caitlin Delphin, Russ O’Reilly, Ashley Porter, and Madeline Rappoli, who are moving on, for all their hard work. Interviewing for a new Director and Staff members is well underway and we are optimistic that we will be able to hire a highly qualified staff. The Sailing Program took delivery of a new fleet of 420s this winter and we eagerly await the opportunity to get these rigged up and ready for the kids this June. Registration for this summer’s programs is scheduled for Sunday, April 30 from noon to 4:00 pm.

Ned Jeffries, Commodore

Finance. The club had a good 2005. However the club continues to be challenged with rising operating costs and needed capital improvements. In order to respond to these issues the board will be reviewing the dues and fee structure this spring and early summer to see if there are ways to continue to keep the dues and fees low, while meeting the needs of the club. There will be forums at the club during the summer allowing members to participate in the review process. Should you have any comments please contact me.

Stephen Fritch, Vice Commodore

Treasurer. Last year the club experienced a repeat of the year before, lower total members and increased cost for services and utilities. Last year’s budget included a capital recovery fee on Dues and Fees to replace funds expended two years ago for club improvements. Unfortunately two major issues cropped up this past year, repair of the sewer line under the club and the replacement of a float. With the added fee last year it was possible to recover, in part, the funds lost in the two years past. Our dues and fees for this year, barring unforeseen problems, will go a long way to increase funding of our reserve. John B. Harper

House Committee. Current activities: The facilities and equipment are in good shape for the coming season by virtue of the efforts of the club members and leadership over the last several years. We have compiled a list of capital projects that we hope to pursue over the next several years as funding becomes available. Again this year, budget constraints permit us to tackle only the highest priority projects.

The awning on the rear deck has had to be replaced at a cost of $2,200. We will be replacing one float at an estimated cost of $2,900 and the shower needs to be replaced and the sub-flooring repaired. We are still gathering estimates of the costs. The capital fee introduced last year should generate sufficient revenue to meet these needs. However, we will be forced to defer the planned rehabilitation of the Committee boat for another year.

In the longer term, in addition to the overhaul of the Committee boat engine ($3,000 to $5,000), we also need to consider replacement of the windows and doors that permit snow drifts inside the club, both upstairs and down from winter blizzards. It will be expensive, but the magnitude is currently unknown. Other future projects include a new furnace for the club, and refurbishment of the small hoist. If club members are inclined to make a contribution toward the purchase of these items we can accelerate our treatment of them.

Work Day. Please reserve Saturday, May 13 as the date for the Spring Work Day. We will begin at 8:30 and serve lunch to all of our volunteers. Saturday, May 20 will be the rain date, or May 21 if that doesn’t work out. The usual list of activities currently planned includes:

  • Sand and varnish rockers,
  • Painting (e.g. trim on the front of the club, the eaves under the lockers),
  • Staining shingles not treated last year,
  • Repairing club floats,
  • Minor woodworking projects,
  • Maintaining and cleaning the deck,
  • Updating plant and equipment inventory for capital budgeting process
  • Miscellaneous other start of the season activities.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any suggestions for additional House Committee projects. I look forward to seeing many of you on May 13.

Frank Hassler

Race Committee. Yes, racing season is almost here again. With Memorial Day just around the corner, it’s time to get your boat tuned up and ready for another fantastic racing season at SBYC! We’ve got a great season planned for 2006. Here are some of the highlights:

  • The Hilary Smart Regatta kicks off the season on Memorial Day Weekend. If the weather continues to be as mild as this winter has been, spring conditions should be great! Skipper’s meeting will be at noon on Saturday, May 27th.
  • Pat Stadel will be back to teach her new class on Rule 18, Rounding and Passing Marks and Obstructions—otherwise known as the “buoy-room” rule. Rule 18 is the longest (two pages in the RRS) and covers the situations that come up at the most critical part of any close race: the mark rounding. The class will be held in the club house on Sunday, July 2nd at 11:30 AM.
  • Late in May, the Annisquam Yacht Club is planning to host a US Sailing PRO course (the same course SBYC hosted last spring). Watch for an announcement in the coming weeks.
  • The second annual Cherry Clark Memorial Regatta will be held on the morning of Saturday, July 22nd. These races are run in a team racing format and if you haven’t tried it you’re missing out on a very special event!
  • Wednesday Nights will follow the same, twelve-race format as last year which was a great success. (Yes, I know—there were folks who still wanted to keep going after the series ended, but daylight is the issue. Of course, the perfect remedy for the short days of September is Sunday afternoons. Read on, racing fans…)
  • The September Series will be run on Sundays this year. In 2005, September easily provided the best sailing weather of the entire season (there was wind) so don’t put your boat away early and miss out!

I’d also like to take this opportunity to note our appreciation of Andrew Greely who performed admirably as our professional PRO the past several years. Andrew has moved on to a new career and so we all wish him well. This also means we are looking to hire a new PRO, so if you or someone you know is interested be sure to let me know. See you on the race course!

Race Schedule

Jim Lidington

Social Committee. What a great afternoon to sit and write about the social activities for the 2006 Summer Season. The blizzard is howling outside and the snow is flying, but I’m thinking summer and another full social calendar. The Hawthorne Hotel will host our Spring Dinner in April. Note the event will be held on a Saturday night this year. I am hoping the many members who “live up the line” will be able to meet the Rockporters in Salem for our spring get-together. Please remember that all new members are welcome as well.

Sunday Morning coffees have been a tradition with SBYC for many years. In talking with Betty Engel, she seems to remember the coffees as early at the mid fifties. These social times have become an integral part of the club. In the early years, coffee was served and people gathered to talk about what sailors talk about. Later, donuts began to appear, then some random baked goods. In recent years, the table has been full of a variety of home baked and store bought goodies, and occasionally a home cooked breakfast.

Many volunteers are needed to make these coffees successful. The various fleets of the club have done a wonderful job providing us with an abundance of food. If you are a member who is not affiliated with a fleet and would like to help provide some goodies for one of the coffees during the season, please feel free to sign up on the “Coffee Sheet” at the club. It only takes 4-5 people to bake or shop. Our membership has an easy-to-please-palate!

Mark your calendars with the social events. In order to provide enough food, an accurate number count of people is necessary a couple of days prior to the event. Please watch the social bulletin board at the club for the details and the deadlines of the various dinners. SBYC has entered the technical era, so if you are not a member of a racing fleet, but would like to receive email reminders of social events, please indicate on your membership form or, better yet, send me an email ( and I’ll add your name to my list.

And speaking of food, the SBYC Cookbook is nearing completion. It has been suggested that we incorporate the talents of our artistic club members and include sketches or drawings to fit in corners or as borders on the recipe pages. Your talents can help make our cookbook a true work of art.

If you would like to submit a small black and white sketch to be included along with the recipes, mail them to me by May 1st. I am certainly looking forward to a great season.

Social Calendar

Pam Prichard

Membership Committee. The Membership Committee plans a robust spring and summer member-recruiting season. New members keep our sailing exciting, foster new friendships, and are essential to the future of the club. Recruiting new members and maintaining existing members will be one of the critical activities for the upcoming year. Look for promotional materials and several events that will invite and encourage prospective members to join us. Your help is essential!

The Membership Committee this year is co-chaired by Ellen Lidington and Dana Jorgensson. Beth Leahy will be the Board’s liaison. We are implementing many new ideas to increase membership this season. Three Friday early evening open houses have been planned as well as the always popular Sunday morning coffees. A tri-fold brochure is in the works which will be available at the Harbor Department’s offices on T-wharf, at the club and at the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce. Also, take a look at all the Chamber web sites devoted to Cape Ann, type in sailing and up comes Sandy Bay Yacht Club. This is due to Dana’s hard work. All new members this year will be assigned a "buddy" to show them around and answer questions. With everyone’s continued hard work, many new members will be welcomed into Sandy Bay Yacht Club for 2006.

Beth Leahy

SBYC Fleet Captain. With considerable input from Race Committee Chairman Jim Lidington, we have finished a new Hurricane and Storm Policy for the Yacht Club. This new policy is aimed at preserving club property during a storm while ensuring safety and timely evacuation of necessary property at the Yacht Club.

This policy is viewable at and in print form at the Yacht Club. Knowing that space is always tight for dry sailing at the Yacht Club I urge all fleets needing dock space to contact me with their requests. If necessary the lottery will be held in May.

Jake Fiumara

Junior Yacht Club. This year’s Junior Commodore Heather LaCombe and Vice Commodore Hannah Hoerner are planning an exciting and very activity-filled summer. Junior members should watch for posters announcing various events this year. In addition to hosting the Linda Wieditz Memorial Regatta again this summer, the Junior YC will be busy attending the Mass Bay USA Junior Olympic Sailing Festival which is going to be held at the Eastern Point Yacht Club in Gloucester, and Marblehead Race Week in July. The annual cookouts on Cape Hedge Beach during the first and second sailing sessions as well as other activities should be anticipated by all. We hope that last year’s excellent turnout will be surpassed in 2006.

Beth Leahy

Sailing Program. The role of the SSP Oversight Committee is to work alongside the Sailing Director to establish goals and objectives for the sailing program. The committee is proud to have among its members Becky Hoerner, Anne Kubik, Charlie Clark, Ned Jeffries and Greg Wilkinson. This year the committee is hard at work finding sailing instructors, coaches and a new program director, as Liz Fiumara resigned her position at the end of February. Liz did an excellent job and we thank her for all the new sailors she has brought to Sandy Bay. We were saddened by Liz Fiumara’s choice not to return, but have high hopes for finding an excellent person to fill Liz’s position. We are now in the hiring process and look forward to a new and innovative program for the upcoming season with an energized and professional team of instructors. Race team communication is also a priority. Becky Hoerner has offered to be the head parent for the 420 race team, but we still need another parent to take on the Opti race team in helping to organize other parents for regattas. If this position interests anyone, please contact me or anyone on the SSP Committee. We hope to have the Opti and 420 teams at more regattas in 2006. We are looking forward to an exciting and fun-filled summer ahead!

Beth Leahy

Website. I am excited to be taking on this newly created Board of Governors task to oversee and identify ways to make the club’s website even more beneficial and informative to our membership. Through Ron’s expertise, the website is already utilized on a day-to-day basis by club members and the general public. The Webcam and Weather Center both draw many hits from all over.

The Board and Ron have been brainstorming throughout the winter for ways to further utilize the website to convey more current news and information about the club. You will notice some changes have already been made to the website since last summer. These recent changes include Weather Alerts and the updated Policy Book (including SBYC Hurricane/Storm Policy).

New and enhanced features coming for this season include more frequent news postings from Board members and Fleet Captains, a separate Sailing Program News section, the spring newsletter online, possible mid-season and year-end online newsletters and any club status information related to the new Hurricane/Storm Policy.

In case you haven’t been to the website yet, check it out at: If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

Story Reed


Rockport Harbor Department. The Rockport Harbor Department wants to continue our seasonable reminder to get your boats and moorings ready for the 2006 boating season. Check all your boat’s safety gear and work on your mooring before the boat goes in the water. A regulation white and blue mooring buoy is mandatory and must be marked with the length of the boat and boat owner’s name.

Hurricane/storm Preparedness: Make plans prior to the season to have the capability to take your boat out of the water (at short notice) if a storm or hurricane is predicted. Early preparation can save you and your boat problems when an actual event occurs. SBYC fleet captains should make plans with their fleet members to activate early boat removal.

This season the Rockport Harbor Department along with the Harbor Advisory Committee has instituted an annual fee ($10) to remain on the Mooring Waiting List. Those on the Mooring List will receive a notice of this fee in the near future.

Contact the Rockport Harbormasters at our T-Wharf Office (office hours Thursday nights 7-8:30 pm) or call 978-546-9589 email

Have a safe and active boating season.

Rosemary Lesch, Scott Story, Ron Petoff and Story Reed

Posted on March 13th, 2006 by Administrator in General News