Members and friends of the club,
The weather is warming up and a new season is here on the lake. As most of you know we had a terrible loss last year with the passing of our good friend and eternal club promoter Bob Donaldson. When he agreed to be commodore for what would be his last year with us he had certain ideas and plans for the future of the club and what we as a group needed to do to help sailing as a pastime, lifestyle and sport, thrive in our area. I would dare to say that most people reading this email love in some fashion this thing we call sailing. That’s why with the help of former commodore John Webb, several of us have decided to continue Bob’s plan for the revitalization of not only the club but this Life Pastime that holds such a special place in our hearts.
So with that being said below is a quick summary of the club bridge, format, goals, and schedule for this year. Lastly, I will list several questions that we need help with.
Commodore- Kevin Vandiver
Treasurer- John Webb
S/V Carpe Diem
Secretary- Betty Eldridge
Goals for this year
· Create opportunities for children and young people to learn sailing and be exposed to the pastime
· Promote sailing and the club throughout the larger lake community by offering a low key/low stress introduction to sailing
· Continue our legacy regattas and improve attendance/fun factor (Redeye, Bikini cup, etc)
· Continue and improve the social aspect of our club to encourage whole family participation
Youth sailing/ introduction to the sport
Starting with the first weekend in June, we will be hosting a youth sailing program from 9am-12pm. This will be the first Saturday of June, July, August, and September. Betty Eldridge has offered to help and I have ordered 2 beginner Optimist type sailboats. I will be picking them up mid May. We will have very basic sail instruction along with fun games/activities. This has the potential to be very popular and help break down some of the perceived barriers to sailing with not only kids but also, parents. After lunch on those days, we will offer an adult sailing class for anyone that would like to attend. This would be geared towards either people who own a boat but want to improve their sailing skill or people who have never sailed. Depending on the group, we would have a general dock talk then either a laid back race/ sailing activity on the lake with a social event after. This is a rough outline and more information will be coming out with details.
I hope we can recruit our previous race organizers to help in this. The Redeye and Bikini Cup are our oldest and most popular races. They give everyone an opportunity for that little bit of competition along with socializing with great friends. I am in the process of begging my uncle Dwight and James to once again set these up…just one more time I promise!! I would like to cap the year off with some type of October Fest race/event. I will take that on as our year end celebration. David Eldridge has volunteered to organize a Frostbite series. It may only be 2 races but will be in the beginning of 2018. For some of us crazy folks, that’s the most fun sailing we have!
Family and social activities
This really ties into first item. For some of us, it’s the racing. For others, it’s the peace and quiet of being alone on the lake with the sails up. And yet for others it’s the friends and group activities we enjoy. I think for a club today to be successful we should expose new families to all parts of this pastime. The days of a bunch of guys showing up in their foulies to the Brown Bag restaurant after a 20 deg frostbite or an all night sail with no kids or wives just isn’t how a club is going to thrive in today’s world. I personally love that part but realize that it is not inviting or comfortable for most people today that want be a part of sailing. So that’s why those first Saturdays will be so important to expose and teach newcomers about sailing and encourage the kids/wives to take part and be an active participant. For those of us who are more comfortable just racing or being alone on our own boats, it is up to us to open up and invite the new family, host a couple for an afternoon and relax when the kids down below are messing up the settee cushions. We will have to mentor new people and families which for most of us will be out of our comfort zone. Let’s get the young parents/kids/retired couples here and let us make them feel welcome. That is our responsibility as a sailing community and mentors of this pastime.
· If anyone has an old copy of the Islander newsletter, could you scan and send to me? I’d like to get a more formal newsletter format to send out.
· If anyone knows of some older optimists that might be available for a reasonable price (translate-donate!), that would be a great help. I have ordered 2 sail cubes which are made by the optimist manufacturer. Their parts are interchangeable and the long term plan is to add optimists for older kids that we could sail, race, etc.
· We really would like to have a list of volunteers that would offer to take people out on those first Saturdays or anytime throughout the season. If you are willing/available please let us know.
· Smaller boats. When people are new to sailing, a 30-40′ boat can be intimidating. My first “big boat” was a hunter 25.5. I felt more comfortable handling it rather than my dad’s First 38 that I had sailed on for 15 years. If anyone owns a smaller boat and would be comfortable in loaning it out to me to take new sailors sailing, I would really appreciate it. A 20-25′ boat can be perfect for a couple who wants to learn.
· Financial- Yes, this will take money. Please renew your membership when the forms come out and if you haven’t been an active member, please consider supporting the club and our goals for this pastime. We have some very exciting plans for the future if we can encourage/promote some of these programs. As we progress, we’ll have more detail
· Committee boat- It is in Forrest City and is in need of some serious TLC. Carey Vandiver and Dwight Segraves have volunteered to help with the repair. We are currently trying to get a list worked up on repairs needed and materials needed. More to follow as that progresses but we WILL NEED WORKERS TO HELP!!
If you see anything above that you can help with, please let me know and I’ll put your name down. This ended up longer than I had planned but hopefully we are off to a great year at GFLYC. An official newsletter, membership renewal form, and schedule will be coming in May.
See you on the lake!