RIYC March 2019 Newsletter

Commodore’s Message – Gary Annino


This month, I attended a dinner with the Commodores from SHYC, WAD, NESS, WHYC, MIYC, FIYC & EYC.  It was an interesting and lengthy discussion.  Below is an abbreviated set of discussion topics for your awareness.

    • Broad demographics making yacht club operations more challenging
      • Sailing activity peaked in 1979
      • Average area yacht club member age 50-60
      • Migration to the eastern Connecticut shoreline skewed towards retirees more than young families
      • New hires at Electric Boat in the younger, pre-children age range
    • Promotion of women sailing programs sometimes challenging
      • SHYC Ideal Women is very successful
      • Most clubs have one design fleets
      • Support with mentoring by more experienced women sailors
      • Construct program with social element/lunch/dinner available
      • Include interclub events on a casual basis
    • Increase men’s/families’ participation in one-design sailing
      • Scheduled Guys & Dolls family evening sailing followed by dinner
      • Promote men’s’ participation in sailing instruction, racing basics and casual racing with/without spouses
      • Schedule periodic family fun sails with parents, kids, games on the water, followed by BYO barbecue
    • Increase one-design racing within and amongst clubs
      • Provide chalk talk and on-water instructional sessions on a regular basis
      • Provide a weekly racing schedule for a variety of one-design/handicap boats
      • Schedule (more) periodic one design interclub regattas between clubs
        • Wad Club’s Parsons and Boatwright Regattas (invitational)
        • SHYC’s Red Lobdell Regatta (PHRF + one design on separate courses) (open)
        • Mudheads PHRF Wednesday night races (open)
        • Fisher’s Island has 6-9 Bulls Eyes racing (2 owned by club)
      • Schedule more races in September and October offering beautiful sailing weather
  • Junior Sailing Programs under pressure due to dwindling demographics
    • Increase efficiency by combining programs where it makes sense
    • Consider “Big Boat” nights to get juniors out on bigger, keelboats to broaden experience
    • Consider promoting juniors to utilize club platform such as I-18s also to broaden their experience
  • Club seasonality:
    • Essex and SHYC open year around with dining room service
    • Mason’s Island and Ram Island open “year around” but with limited service
    • Fisher’s Island, Wadawanuck and Watch Hill open seasonally
  • Rising tides and impacts of Global Warming
    • All clubs concerned depending on asset exposure
      • Essex: Clubhouse safe but grounds including septic system low and remediation in process
      • Wadawanuck: Docks being raised and clubhouse and grounds including tennis courts exposed
        • Study in process
        • Considering acquiring the local indoor tennis facility to protect tennis interests
      • Watch Hill: Already elevated clubhouse 13 feet
      • SHYC: Clubhouse out of immediate danger but docks/boats exposed to seas overflowing neighboring seawall
      • Ram Island, Mason’s Island and Fisher’s Island with varying degrees of exposure
    • Clubs with exposure in various planning/discovery stages and several initiated developing Emergency Funds to cope with future costs
  • Capital Costs
    • Virtually all clubs have monthly, quarterly or annual CIF (Capital Improvement Funds) or Emergency Fund charges to members
  • Varieties of Entertainment
    • Commissioning parties and events
    • After-race parties
    • Memorial Day & 4th of July picnics
  • Cruising
    • Use of dockwa.com has increased transient docking fees substantially at various clubs
    • Clubs also get feedback from the quests as to their experience which can be helpful to further improve services/facilities
    • Docking fees are paid immediately upon booking through dockwa so collection issues are virtually eliminated
    • Visitation in and out of season is welcome at all open participating clubs through reciprocity
  • Communications
    • Essex & RIYC publishes monthly newsletter throughout the year
    • SHYC publishes quarterly newsletter/hard copy distribution
    • Eblasts, Facebook, Instagram used by clubs to a varying degree
      • Coordinated variously by staff, members and outside vendors

We have committed to meet quarterly, but more important is that we all have direct contact with each other to facilitate sharing of learnings as well as enabling sharing as we all seem to be wrestling with similar issues.


Dues notices were sent to all households on February 1 via email (and mailed to those without email).  A $50 late fee is assessed as of April 1, and unpaid memberships are terminated May 1.  Email the Secretary at RIYCsec@gmail.com if you need additional information.

Reach out to Stan White (swhite151@gmail.com) by April 15th if you need a new Club Badge.

Report from the Entertainment Committee – Rodney Denman and Denise Kennedy

Everything is going smoothly.  The Frugal was attended by 120 people.

March 8th Frugal

Report from the Junior Program

Junior Sailing – Ann Bergendahl and Rob Warn

  • We are still looking for 3 more instructors for the 2019 season, so if you know of anyone let us know.
  • The class schedules will be coming out soon and Jr. Sailing will send out an email to past families and membership alerting everyone when sign-ups can start through our website.  Remember one does not need to be a child or grandchild of a member to participate!
  • The Town of Groton will not be having a sailing program this year and we may have additional participants. J. Watson made a motion and K. Parker seconded to allow A. Bergendahl to share Jr. Sailing program information below.   All approved.


Introduction to Junior Sailing

Ram Island Yacht Club in Noank is opening a limited number of spaces

For age 6-16 residents of the Town of Groton in its

Introductory Junior Sailing instruction program this summer.

Club membership is not required.

Visit https://ramislandyachtclub.org/junior-sailing/ for details.

Report from the Race Committee

Race Ashore – Tina McLoughlin and Race Afloat – Moise Solomon

The ECSA calendar has been updated to reflect our Saturday date.  Race Ashore will be holding a kick-off meeting.

Thursday Nights –  Plans are underway and the popular food trucks will be returning!

Report from the House Committee – Matt Lettrich and Fred Haberlandt

  • The doors leading to the back deck are slated to arrive this weekend and will be installed.
  • The carpet cleaning is scheduled for the week of April 8; the following Saturday, April 13, there will be a Field Day with Volunteers for additional organizing and sorting.  J. Sienkewicz will lead the kitchen effort.  Please let House Committee chairs (F. Bohlen, F. Haberlandt or M. Lettrich) know if you can help.
  • K. Parker & M. Lettrich will post Flag Duty on the House Committee coverage page, and K. Parker will distribute the list to Trustees.  Trustees will be asked to review the instructions and highlight any questions.  The Flags will be stored in the closet, and there will be a special location for Flags to dry.
  • The House Committee and Dock Master will work to clarify the Steward’s responsibilities and will convene a meeting once a Steward is hired to confirm and clarify.
  • The Commodore will communicate with the Beautification Committee and instruct them to take the lead in coordinating activities with House.
  • It is not known yet if Jr. Sailing will need the apartment for instructors; the apartment will be held pending final hiring.
  • The placard for the wall mural in the club was moved to the railing where it is more visible.  In advance of establishing better coat storage, members are requested to ensure that coats placed on chairs in front of the mural do not touch or rub the mural accelerating ware or causing damage.

Bylaws Subcommittee – Amy Leger

A. Leger distributed updated Bylaws to the Trustees for review.  She identified several areas of confusion and will make updates based on discussion during the March Trustees’ meeting.  Trustees have been tasked to read the final copy so that it can be sent to Members.  Trustees will be available to address questions when finalized.  The goal of the review has been to “clean up” the existing Bylaws rather than to make substantive changes.  A membership vote on the updates will be scheduled once the updates are finalized and sufficient time has been allowed for circulation.

Strategic / Long Range Planning – Blake Powell, Fred Haberlandt and John Watson

Membership, Activities & Facilities committees will be convening in the next month.

Report from the Waterfront Committee – Sandy Turner and Matt Champney

The floating dock replacement/repair program is well underway. The float launching has been set for April 20th – plan to be at the Club around 8:00.

We have completed our pile inspection program and the Committee will be reviewing the results over the next several weeks.

Interclub Boating

Commodore Annino presented a follow-up presentation on the inter-club racing study. The presentation included follow-up costs and funding methodologies.   J. Watson made a motion to appropriate $6000 per year for 3 years ($18K total) to lease 2 Ideal 18’s (with trailers) for general member use subject to a management plan and the balance made up through angel donors and other sources.  The conservative estimated cost is approximately $36K total; the optimistic cost is $24,000 in total.  D. Spear has agreed to manage the program.  R. Denman seconded the motion.   The motion passed unanimously.  Commodore Annino will be circulating a note to request donations from “Angel Investors”.


  • Len & Ibby Sawyer
  • Vanessa Allison Reed

Last Voyage


New Members

Cruise News – Stan White

Spring/Summer: July 12 – 14

Fall: September 8 – 10

More information to follow next month.



We have added a new topic for the newsletter where Members may post, for one newsletter, an item they wish to sell. The item must be marine-related and the information to be sent to the RIYC Secretary must include:

  • Member Name
  • Member contact information
  • Detailed description and condition of the item wishing to be sold
  • Desired selling price


No listing this month