Although the snow may be still on the ground, spring is just around the comer, and that means another season is beginning at SBYC. I can report that your
Board of Governors, however, took no winter vacation and has worked diligently planning for the coming season. With Ron's capable assistance, the Board has approved the 2000 budget and has plans well underway for all aspects of club activities.
Many of you who live in and about Rockport have heard about the controversy over the deauthorization of a small section of Rockport Harbor adjacent to the Yacht Club and adjacent to the Town float. The issue was a subject at the last Rockport Town Meeting, and was tabled for further discussion and investigation. The issue involves changes in the Army Corps of Engineers regulations which have placed some of our floats in jeopardy. In a response to questions posed by the Rockport Harbor Masters, the Army Corps of Engineers answered many of the concerns raised in a letter and at an open meeting earlier in February. The letter was printed in the local newspaper and is included in this newsletter. I think you will find the information helpful to understanding the issues. Please take time to read the Army Corps response and participate in the upcoming Spring town meeting on Saturday, March 18 where the issue will be brought forward again. The Yacht Club's concerns are further detailed in the House Committee report.
SBYC enters the year 2000 in a strong financial position, having paid off the debt of the new crane. This season the club will undertake two major improvement projects. First, as you may remember from last year's meetings, the upper deck is in need of repair. Although we had hoped to complete the repairs in 1999, the winter weather got ahead of us and forced us to postpone repairs until this year. This spring the upper deck will receive the repairs it sorely needs to ensure the safety of club members and guests. Second, we have funded the completion of the refurbishing and repairs to the dockside face of the lockers. With the completion of the locker project, the inside of our club will finally look as good as the street side. Both of these projects are being funded while increases to dues and fees were held to 2%, or increased only by approximately the cost of living. The Board accomplished this due to strong membership and the strong financial position accomplished during Commodore Clark's leadership.
By comparison to last year, this year at SBYC may seem quiet, but the season will have its fair share of regattas and social activities. There will be some new approaches to race committee and another look at ways to expand the space for boat storage. These plans are described further in the committee reports. As always there is a need for volunteers; so if you have an interest in helping out, please let me or any of the committee chairs know. One particular area that needs help is our Sunday morning Ship Store. If anyone is interested in taking a turn at manning the store for a few Sundays during the summer, please give me a call.
As a final note I urge you to take a look at the social schedule and note your calendars. The events are sure to be fun and I hope you take advantage of this aspect of the club. The first event is the spring dinner, which always makes me realize that summer is on its way. Get your reservations in early and come join us in the opening of another great season. See you soon!
Polly Brown, Commodore
Treasurer - Last year our income was $5008.75 over the projected budget and our expenses were under by $3460.70. A transfer was made to the Capital Account to provide a zero balance in the Operating Account at year end. Thanks to many contributions and many years of reserve funding, the new crane loan from the Rockport National Bank was retired last summer. Scheduled in this year's budget is the completion of the locker project and repair of the upper porch.
John Harper, Treasurer
House Committee - The House Committee is preparing to oversee a few major projects, as well as needed cosmetic work on the club. The upper railing on the porch is the highest priority as well as the dockside of the lockers. House committee members will be working on the cupola and weathervane, and conducting a survey of the club to determine where repairs will be needed next. Anyone with areas of concern should contact me so that we can add items to our list. We hope to establish a
long term maintenance program.
We will again enlist members to join in a spring work weekend in early May. A listing will be posted at the club and on the website. A lot was accomplished last year and people had a good time doing it. We will also be forming a safety subcommittee whose responsibilities will include keeping walkways, deck areas and access to lockers clear. We will also look at the issue of crane operation and establishment of safety zones, etc. Please contact me if you have any concerns or suggestions.
Floats - Yacht Club members who are voters in the Town of Rockport should attend the spring town meeting and support the petition for deauthorization of a small section of Rockport Harbor adjacent to the Yacht Club and adjacent to the Town float. This issue was tabled at the last Rockport Town Meeting, and might have been lost. As many of you are aware, changes in the Army Corps of Engineers' regulations has placed some of our floats in jeopardy. These include the outermost floats attached to the Club and the sailing program floats adjacent to Star Island. This issue has been going on for a few years and will be resolved at the spring town meeting. The Army Corps and the Town of Rockport have been following a course of partial deauthorization of the small portion of the federal anchorage that these floats encroach into. Others, particularly Pigeon Cove Boat owners had raised concern that this action could affect the federal anchorage in Pigeon Cove. The Army Corps has recently issued a letter assuring everyone that the placement of the original line was an error, that deauthorization of this area is the best course of action and that it will not set a precedent for Pigeon Cove. The matter is more fully set out on the club's
website (float discussion).
The action is necessary to allow us to keep the floats in their present location configuration, where they have been at least since the early 1970s. Deauthorization will affect only a small area of harbor, approximately 17 by 100 feet (less than 1/2 of 1 % of the harbor as a whole). The action will extend slightly the buffer zone around the Yacht Club delineated by the Corps in 1986 to the actual location of the existing floats. This will not change the existing float configuration. The Yacht Club will, as a part of its lease from the Town, assume the costs of dredging these areas. A capital account has been set up for this with monies to be set aside annually.
While the issue seems simple, it has been extremely contentious. The Board of Selectmen has appointed an ad hoc committee to review the issue of deauthorization that includes representatives of many concerned groups. Stephen Ouellette is representing the Yacht Club. It appears that positive progress has been made, although the issue remains controversial. A number of individuals have responded negatively to the proposal, usually based on rumors and false information that have been circulating around Town. We need to make sure everyone fully understand the issues. Anyone who wants to help out with this effort or who has any questions should contact Stephen Ouellette or Ron Petoff. The Club cannot afford to lose these floats, nor can the Sailing Program operate without storage for its boats. Member support for this action at Town Meeting is crucial.
Stephen M. Ouellette, House Committee
The Rockport Harbor Department hopes you have all had a good winter and are ready for the upcoming season. As spring approaches and you're getting your boats ready, make sure you include your mooring and its buoy. The chain, shackles, pennants, chafing gear, etc. all should be checked each season. The buoy, a white with blue strip around it, (regulation buoy) should have your name and length of the boat clearly marked on it.
The harbor has had some disruption during the past season and we hope all will be completed so activity can get back to normal. We thank all the boat owners for being cooperative with the construction of our own "Big Dig", and hopefully we can start this season with the work all completed ? STAY
The Rockport Harbor Department continues to hold office hours on Thursday nights at Town Hall from 7 pm ?8:30 pm in the DPW office. Please feel free to come in and visit us with any questions or concerns.
Harbormasters Rosemary Lesch / Scott Story
Rockport Harbormaster Web Site
SBYC Fleet Captain - During the fall and winter the fleet captains and Board of Governors focused on additional dry sailing space and volunteers for the race committee. Based on the fleets' responses to alternatives for staffing the race committee, the Board initiated a search process for a primary race officer. We have had great support from the fleets and we still need additional volunteers for running the weekend, holiday and Wednesday evening races. This is a great way to improve your understanding of how to run a race, and it will help you with your racing. Please consider volunteering as a member of the race committee.
Due to increasing fleet membership and mooring and dock space limitations, the Board established a committee to explore the possibility of additional dry sailing space at Granite Pier. This effort will continue through the year and we will report progress at the annual meeting.
This year we hope to resume the pre-race videos on racing. The videotapes provide useful tips and insights. If you have any suggestions on topics that you would like to see covered, please forward them to your fleet captain.
Ed Desmarais, SBYC Fleet Captain
Race Committee - During the last four years the Club races have been run by volunteers. While the quality of our races has steadily improved, it has become increasingly difficult to find qualified volunteers to manage the races. This year we will try something different. We intend to hire a Primary Race Officer (PRO) who will run the races and the committee boat. We are actively looking for candidates to fill this paid position. If you know of anyone who might be interested in this job, please let us know. The rest of the staff will consist of volunteers as before. If anyone would like to join our team, please contact us. We will try to conduct a race management training session early in the season.
Another new development this year is co-chairs of the Race Committee. Ted Lavery will share the Chairman responsibilities with me.
Last season we used the Club committee boat in each of the Club sponsored regattas and found surrogate committee boats for the regular races. This approach turned out to be successful. Consequently, we will take this tack again. Although there are not as many regattas at SBYC this year, we will still need substitute committee boats. Anyone who would like to volunteer their power boat or cruising boat for a weekend, please contact Ted or me.
As you can see by the enclosed Race Schedule this season will be another busy one. Let's hope for good weather and smooth sailing. The Race Committee is looking forward to seeing you at the skippers' and crews' meeting on May 27 at the Club.
Steve Engel and Ted Lavery, Race Committee
Membership Booklet - We are in the process of updating our membership booklet, to be reprinted this spring, and we would like to know if you have a new address or telephone number. Is the mailing label on this newsletter's envelope correct? If not, please call Ron Petoff at
978-546-7006, or send a note to SBYC, P.O. Box 37, Rockport, MA 01966, or send an email.
At the suggestion of several members we would also like to
include email addresses in the Membership Booklet. Send us an email and in the message be sure to let us know who you are! Please submit your information by April 15.
Membership - "Open House" coffees in June will again be advertised to give potential new members an opportunity to visit with us. On the Membership Committee this year are Chairman Dick Aprans, Margo Block, Scott Folger, Stephen Fritch, Louise Lavigne, Joanne Levin and Kirk Williamson.
Sailing Program - The major theme of this year's Sailing Program is inclusion. I'm confident that you will support this ideal. You'll hear later how you can support it.
One aspect of the theme is number of participants. We had 187 junior sailors in 1999, an increase of 4 over the previous year. Opti classes were full both sessions, with 420s operating at about 85% of capacity. Adult signups were 36, vs. 29 last year. We were happy with the older kids' reactions to the 420 Cruising Class, a
lower-pressure, fun and social companion to the Racing Class. We hope that this year we will fill many of the 420 vacancies through this improvement. This will be a major goal for Jake Fiumara, our new Junior Program Sailing Director. Jan Walker and I will concentrate on developing parallel alternatives in the Adult Program, such as ones planned for last year but not implemented because of the Junior Olympic Regatta crush. When you receive the Program's brochure, I urge you to pass it on (or request copies from Ron) to adults or older kids who might be interested in sailing.
The second aspect of the inclusion theme is to make it financially possible for all area kids to sail. For the last two years, at least, our scholarship funds have allowed us to follow a "need blind" admissions policy. That is, we admit kids to the Program whether or not they can pay full tuition. We should be proud of this contribution that SBYC makes to the community. However, we don't highly publicize scholarship availability. I personally have heard some Rockport school kids say things like, "Oh, I'd like to sail, but my family just can't handle it."
Before we can responsibly encourage such students to apply, we must have not only expanded scholarship resources for this year on hand, but we must also assure ourselves that we will be able to fill future years' needs, as "you can't turn publicity off". Therefore, three advisors
- Jan Walker, Stan Patey and Ken Novack - and I have developed a plan to build a $60,000 scholarship endowment, allowing for a 75% increase in annual scholarship awards vs. the last two years' average. We'll announce details of the plan shortly. As I'm positive that most of you believe strongly in the lifelong benefits that sailing brings, I hope that you'll do your part when we call on you.
The move to endowment-financed scholarships is likely also to allow the Program to finance its own replacement of worn out boats and other equipment, achieving a major goal we've had for the past two years. However, the 420 fleet is nearing the end of its practical life, and we will probably have to replace it prior to next season and before our General Fund grows enough to pay for it. As the Scholarship Endowment Drive progresses, we may call on your generosity for this need as well.
When you encounter our happy sailors (or, unfortunately, they run into you), you surely share my conviction that the Sailing Program is making a major contribution to our community. Our Program will continue to be healthy and to grow with your support.
Cameron Smith, Sailing Program
Social Committee - Here it is another year gone by and we are into the new millenium. Plans are in the works for another summer of activities. I wish to thank all those wonderful people who donated their time and delicious food to the various
social events at the club this year, thus making my first year a little easier. My special thanks to Molly Clark and Jennifer Ober. We hope that this summer the weather will be as wonderful as it was last year. Many of you have been asking when another dinner dance will be planned. We are hoping to do this at the beginning of August. I will need plenty of help in the planning and executing stages of this event.
Looking forward to seeing you all at the annual spring dinner to be held at the Rockport Country Club on Friday, April 14. A menu and registration form is enclosed. Make your plans now. We are not planning Pot Luck Suppers for January and February 2001 due to the lack of attendance this year. If you all have any suggestions, please do not hesitate to give me a call or stop me at the club.
Debbie Hale, Social Committee