Fun Night at Commodore’s Party

Maryellen Ferring shows off the bubbly gift of thanks for Mike and Maryellen's work as Commodore. Photos: Mike Ferring and Chris Smith

Maryellen Ferring shows off the bubbly gift of thanks for Mike and Maryellen’s work as Commodore. Photos: Mike Ferring and Chris Smith

A night of many awards, excellent food, and good times. It was the 2013 Commodore’s Party and 95 people turned out to celebrate the end of an AYC year.

New Commodore Cindy Pillote handed Maryellen and me a fancy bottle of bubbly and a framed Commodore’s flag as a thank you, and the 2013-2014 Board of Directors took office. Here’s some of what I had to say during presentations.

Honorary Life Membership: The club’s highest lifetime honor, currently held by Joyce Seales, Tom Ohlin, Al and Sandy Lehman, and Mike Yarnell and Tia Renshaw. Now we add one more to that distinguished list. Someone who has been a an AYC stalwart for decades, a C22 sailor, 14.2 fleet captain, the center of the ASF high school sailing program, the guy who’s always there to do what needs to be done: George Tingom.

Keepers of the Flame: One year ago, things looked pretty grim for three parts of AYC that have long been strong. The flame was about to go out. Today those flames are really bright and getting brighter.

One was the annual Kinnikinick summer campout in the woods near Mormon Lake. Steve Nahkala loved that gathering and put the arm on a bunch of us, put fuel on the flame of Kinnikinick, and that bonfire is burning brightly. He’ll do it again this year and he asks that you plan to be there August 9-11.

The Laser fleet was dropping in size to a few hearty souls when George Sheller decided to go to work to build the fleet. He recruited, he put on a clinic, he staged casual Wednesday night racing, and the Laser fleet this year is at 10 boats.

Three-to-four years ago, the Catalina 22 fleet was our biggest, with numbers in the teens. Heading into last fall, it looked like the number would be (ouch) two. That’s when Steve and Christina Campo went to work. A clinic, a party, a newsletter, tuning tricks, and a million volts of Christina applied to the right places: Now there are 8 boats for Saturdays (and most of the fleet was at the party).

Maryellen hands Bruce Andress a "Heavy Lifting" trophy.

Maryellen hands Bruce Andress a “Heavy Lifting” trophy.

Heavy Lifting Awards: As always, we ask the board of directors to do most of the heavy lifting in the club, but it’s a huge help when people who aren’t on the board jump in.

Steve Brown helped a lot at Tempe Town Lake as Lake Captain.

And Bruce Andress did lots of heavy lifting at Lake Pleasant as Lake Captain, where lots of gear needs loads of maintenance.

For years, we’ve been rushing to the AYC website on Mondays to check our race scores where Dave Christensen has been decoding the chicken scratches and reading the chicken bones of the RC scores and turning them into numbers.

When you’ve come of the monthly meetings, you’ve been met at the door by Lori Reger, who’s been an enormous help to membership, assembling new member kits, following up with guests. And she’s been at TTL on Sunday afternoons to meet people who want to adopt a boat as she handled that program.

The US Sailing Sportsmanship award, AYC's MVP award, went to Rob Gibbs (left).

The US Sailing Sportsmanship award, AYC’s MVP award, went to Rob Gibbs (left).

US Sailing Sportsmanship Award: Each year we give an award to someone who has been an AYC Most Valuable Player. The award is called the US Sailing Sportsmanship Award and it’s awarded to someone who’s done great things for our club.

This year it went to a person who’s done it all. He was on the board as membership director. He’s raced every year at both lakes. He’s taught Start Sailing Right for something like 10 years for ASF. He’ll be on the ASF board this next year. He’s run the ship’s store.  He handled the online registration system. He managed the website. Last year he put on an introduction to sailing day at TTL to give rides to people who wanted to sail. He’s been a big advocate of powerboat training and has trained nearly all our certified powerboat operators… and will be out tomorrow morning to certify some more. Almost as a lark, he applied for a grant with US Sailing to be used to buy a powerboat… and got $10,000 that we used to buy a boat. Rob Gibbs is our 2013 recipient.

A critical part of AYC is attracting new people into the club and into leadership positions. If you’ve joined in the last year or if you’re joined just within the last few weeks as Mark and Mary Howell or Victor Felice or JM and Mary Kiel did, welcome and thank you.

Board of Directors Accomplishments

One year ago the Board targeted membership growth as a top goal for the year. Membership in the club had dropped into the 190s. Today it’s over 220 and rising.

The strong membership effort was led by directors Brenda Shears and Thom Dickerson, with a lot of help from Lori Reger. Wendy Larsen set up the mentor program to pair a current member with each new member to help new folks get oriented and active.

All board members did excellent work this year. For instance, Emory Heisler revamped the Birthday Regatta to become easier and less expensive to present. Peter Lehrach started and managed the adopt-a-highway program that put our name on signs along Carefree Highway near Lake Pleasant. Bob Whyte arranged the space and the dinner for the party. He kept the string of amazing meeting speakers going, with AYC members such as Dave and Wendy and Phil Freedman and Bill Hutchinson as well as some other familiar names such as Dave Perry, Andrew Campbell, and Annie Gardner. Greg Woodcock was always on top of issues, whether it was a boat problem or a race document that needed tweaking.

Cindy Pillote is Commodore for the coming year.

Cindy Pillote is Commodore for the coming year.

Here’s the 2013-2014 Board:
Emory Heisler, Sr Staff Commodore
Mike Ferring, Jr Staff Commodore
Lori Reger, Secretary
Tony Chapman, Treasurer
Thom Dickerson – second year Membership Director
Andrea Love – Membership Director
Greg Woodcock – Fleet Captain
Ralph Vatalaro – Cruising Captain
Christina Campo – Rear Commodore
Peter Leharach – Vice Commodore
Cindy Pillote – Commodore

The party drew 95 to socialize and commemorate the accomplishments of the year.

The party drew 95 to socialize and commemorate the accomplishments of the year.

John Mayall and George Tingom presented the ASF Heavy Lifting trophy to Phil Freedman.

John Mayall and George Tingom presented the ASF Heavy Lifting trophy to Phil Freedman.

Emma Davis picks up a juniors trophy.

Emma Davis picks up a juniors trophy.

Isabel Love receives the Wayne Jason Tucker Outstanding Junior award.

Isabel Love receives the Wayne Jason Tucker Outstanding Junior award.

Martin Lorch and son Cedric heft the Club Championship trophy. It's been a good year for Cedric, winning the High School Championship and two Blunder Buckets!

Martin Lorch and son Cedric heft the Club Championship trophy. It’s been a good year for Cedric, winning the High School Championship and two Blunder Buckets!

Christina Campo and Tony Chapman congratulate Emory Heisler.

Christina Campo and Tony Chapman congratulate Emory Heisler.

John Riddell and Mike Parker exchange lies before dinner.

John Riddell and Mike Parker exchange lies before dinner.

Rear Commodore Bob Whyte arranged for the great space and the amazingly good buffet dinner.

Rear Commodore Bob Whyte arranged for the great space and the amazingly good buffet dinner.

Resa Coats and Bill Hutchinson schmoozing before dinner.

Resa Coats and Bill Hutchinson schmoozing before dinner.