Commodore Jennifer Chandler Report:
Many often say with the end of Race Week it signals the quickly end to our summer high season. A time for a bit of reflection on what has been a very busy year at CYC both visible and behind the scenes. I’m very happy with how the summer, rain aside, has shaped up with a number of highlights.
Executive Team – Much has been done to work through a number of challenges thrown at us over the winter and into the spring. One in particular was the work Stewart and Lara did to implement more structure around budgets, accounting, and financial reporting. Going forward this will help considerably to keep expenses in check where possible. Unfortunately costs continue to escalate and often driven by essential services and safety; ie our Mooring Field and Equipment. More on this as we hear from the Long Range Planning and Fund Raising Team. Lastly many thanks to Stewart Creaser for his time and dedication as the Secretary Treasurer over the past two years. His focus on budgets in particular have put much structure back into the financial processes at the club.
LTS – My thanks to Jenn Fraser for stepping into the Learn To Sail Director role after a significant search for the right individual. Christine Santimaw did a great job in building the LTS program and her results are both acknowledged and appreciated. Jenn is bringing additional focus and structure to the program and working closely with the Coaching Team and the results show it from an organization perspective.
CRW – Pat Nelder and Dan Conrad delivered another stellar Helly Hansen Chester Race Week. Accolades continue to come in for their efforts and the efforts of all those who volunteered to run a world class event. Special thanks to Dudley Grove and the Helms for hosting many of the Race Officers and going out of their way to ensure the team are well fed before and after the long day on the water. This is a tremendous help to those involved and to managing overall costs. Nice to see we hit 125 boats this year. This year’s conditions tested many crews and race officers. The fleets on the water continue to build their race experience with solid competition and race management. Many thanks to everyone for all their hard work leading up to the event and the week itself.
Donations to the Club – This year several lovely donations were made to the club. The first was a Photo donated by Willie Moore of several members racing in from Blandford back in the 80’s. It’s a spectacular photo and a welcomed addition to display at the club. Second was a small but interesting donation of an original membership card #68 that was found in a drawer some time ago, saved, and delivered to me early this summer. Lastly an apron given to Kim this past week which has the Chester Race Week 1988 logo used by the catering staff at the time. We love to see some of these treasures return to the club.
Adding several new role members – We brought on Victoria Dimick as Membership and Volunteer Flag officer with an eye on developing the younger membership base. Additionally Mike Bowen has come on as the Strategic FundRaising Chair with a target of developing a much needed capital campaign that will assist in building the funds to help sustain the club into the future as critical infrastructure needs to be addressed. AKA Wharf Reinforcement as a priority. Work over the winter went into paving the way for a Tax Receipt opportunity that should help as an incentive to build this capital base.
Membership this year hit 528 helped in part by another successful membership drive late in the spring. We’ve also welcomed a number of new members who are also new to the area and have chosen CYC as one of their social and on-water hubs.
Report of Rear Commodore Dave Tzagarakis:
As we all know, Chester Yacht Club has thrived with strong volunteer effort from its membership. This year was no exception. My update to follow includes many examples of dauntless volunteer efforts.
A number of folks answered the call to assist with launching the floats in the spring. A big Thank you to those that were able to help out on that day. Another shout out to the crane operator on the day, Travis Boehner, who has offered his services as future needs arise at CYC. So far, our new set of floats have been solid and provide great service to our membership.
On the topic of floats, I would like to remind members that in the event that you move another members’ tender, please ensure it is securely tied up at least as well as you found it. I have received a number of reports this summer of tenders that we found not in the state that they were secured by their owners.
Our flag pole suffered its ultimate demise amid the best of intentions to repair and spruce it up. Shawn Mulrooney and Steve Moody came to the rescue and we were able to source an identical rig that is once again serving as a centerpiece for our club. A big thank you to those two members for their efforts to rebuild our flag pole.
Exceptional work done by the Sail Training team of coaches to get the sail training program ready to provide the expected level of programming again this summer. Their efforts do not go unnoticed as a result, led by Jennifer Fraser, the coaches and kids in junior sailing are out on the water gaining the necessary boat handling skills to navigate with confidence. The future looks bright for this program.
I cannot allow my update to pass without mention of the truly remarkable efforts by the co-chairs of the Sail Training Fundraiser, Lyssa Young and Whipple Smith who both worked tirelessly and the results were beyond our wildest imaginations. A big thank you to both Lyssa and Whipple and to the members that contributed to this fundraising effort.
Our sailing fleets remain strong. The inaugural Mahone Bay Opener drew 9 boats in the PHRF fleet and there are plans for expansion in 2024. Our Sail Committee chair, Todd Wilson, spearheaded this initiative and we look forward to continued success. The Bluenose fleet continues to impress spectators with abundant fleet numbers at club racing events and at the major events like the Maritime Bluenose Championships and Chester Race Week. As a result, our social events are very well attended and fun!
We had a minor repair to the gangway of the eastern tender dock. Eagle Beach was contracted to repair the supports holding the landing for the ramp. The landing now appears to be solid and will be integrated into a larger feasible project with repairs to the main wharf.
The mooring field has seen its share of changes and work this summer as well. We thank South Shore Marine for their many years of service for the CYC mooring field. Going forward we have enlisted the services of Titan Marine to service the CYC mooring field and we looked forward to continued success in this area.
With all that, I hope everyone has enjoyed their time at CYC so far this summer and will continue to enjoy it until the close on Sept 30th. The volunteer executive team will not rest through the off-season. We will be working toward improvements on-and-off the water so keep an eye out for developments as they happen.
Thank you everyone and I hope to see you on the water soon.
Director Sail Training Jen Fraser:
Our guiding principle at CYC is to provide a fun, safe program for junior sailors to improve their boat handling skills. This year we have focused on best practices to support a positive junior sailing experience. Junior sailing is the foundation of the club, and we know supporting them means we support the immediate needs of our membership and the future development of the Club. An excellent example of this is the tremendous support we have received at our fundraiser, with Lyssa Young and Whipple Smith, Co-Chairing the Junior sailing fundraiser raising $90,000.
We thank Lyssa and Whipple and the community for their amazing support.
This year we had a new team of coaches, and new leadership. We have worked hard to provide hands-on leadership, strong financial management and initiated an asset replacement strategy to replace old equipment including coach boats and sailboats. We’ve had our challenges with coach boat failures and weather having an impact on our programming. Despite these challenges, we’ve had a great team of coaches stepping up to the challenge, an engaged community of support and strong leadership to maintain focus on the long term strategy towards a sustainable successful program. We continue to offer and support sailors attending regattas through the summer and look forward to finishing the year on a positive note with an asset plan to start with some new equipment for the summer of 2023.
Report of Vice Commodore Heather Pearce:
As I prepare this letter to summarize my first year as Vice Commodore, I cannot believe how quickly August has come and is now almost gone. Summer has felt condensed, but maybe that is due to the higher rain volumes we have seen this season.
Even though it has been a wetter summer than recent memory, this did not slow things down at the Chester Yacht Club. I am happy to report over the past few months we have seen the success of many sailing and social events.
Before the sailing season started, members enjoyed monthly winter potlucks which kept some of us connected during the cold months. Our favorite local band Dark and Stormy played to a jammed packed clubhouse in February (where some of our summer staples even flew in for the weekend). Dark and Stormy played again in April, Canada Day, The Yacht Rock Fundraiser and of course, closed out Chester Race Week 2023.
We kicked off the season at the end of May with our first Friday night member social. Friday nights will continue through September. Thank you to the hard-working bar staff for creating a feature drink each week for happy hour and always going above and beyond for our members.
I would like to welcome the new Flag Officer of Membership, Victoria Dimick to our team. New members night in June was a wonderful event. Many thanks to the social committee for putting together and organizing the evening and providing hors d’oeuvres for our new members. We welcomed 59 new members this year.
The club was a busy place on Canada Day. While scavenger hunters were out taking pictures and combing the beach for sea glass, a pancake breakfast was served by Commodore Jennifer Chandler and Flag Officer Carol Dodds, as always, selling out of pancakes! A new winning team took home the scavenger hunt trophy and bragging rights. It was nice to see familiar faces taking place in this event and the positive feedback was heard and appreciated. The evening closed off with lots of dancing to Rob on Vocals and Malcolm on bass.
The annual Little Black Dress night drew a large crowd. It was a perfect night of friendship, shopping, and fundraising. We raised $375 for Pro Kids for local youth to take sailing lessons and $375 for the Shoreham Seniors Association in memory of Sandy Morash. Awesome!
Thursday nights at CYC continue to be the place to be in Chester during the summer. Burgers, burgers and more burgers. A huge thank you to our kitchen staff for keeping the energy all summer long and for making the CYC one of the best places to enjoy dinner and watch the races.
Members and their guests enjoyed a sold-out commodore dinner dance on August 11th. With a choice of lobster or BBQ chicken, dinner was catered and served by The Dory Mates. Dancing ensued to the music of The Game Changers. Guests stayed until last call, long after the band had left.
We were fortunate to host a Halifax Fashion Week event on August 12th, showcasing sailor and designer Livia Davis and her Playwear Collection. Liva has sailed out of this club since junior sailing days and has been a prize sponsor for Chester Race Week multiple years in a row. She had a full house lined up down the wharf while her first ever clothing line was unveiled. Music, good energy and amazing designs, Livia rocked the runway wharf and is headed to Paris Fashion Week with her collection this fall. Congratulations Livia!
Helly Hansen Chester Race Week 2023, our biggest regatta in a decade! 125 boats registered and over 1,200 sailors participated in the event. Endless thanks to all the organizers and the delightful hard-working volunteers that make the event possible.
We have a few more upcoming events to end a wonderful season. Mark your calendars for our tea social on September 9th, the corn boil on September 23rd and our first ever sailing awards dinner on October 6th.
Thank you to Club Manager Kim Johnson, you are the real MVP and the heart and soul of this club. Thank you to Jennifer, Dave, Stewart and Lara. I am fortunate to work with such a driven executive.
One final thanks, to our members. Thank you for your continued support of our club and participating in our sailing community. I appreciate the trust you have in me serving as one of your executive members and I look forward to another month of racing and social events, then onwards to planning a fun-filled 2024. Maybe some Sail GP viewing on the club tv?