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January Meeting: Gary Jobson

Gary Jobson

Gary Jobson is certainly America’s most famous sailor.

He was inducted into the first class of the Sailing Hall of Fame and everything flows from there: college sailor of the year twice, tactician for Ted Turner’s winning America’s Cup campaign, winner of oodles of races, offshore and on, all of which vaulted him to his role as author, commentator, TV producer, speaker (over 2,600 lectures he says),  President of US Sailing, and now VP of World Sailing, the international governing body of the sport (formerly called ISAF).

Gary will be our January monthly meeting speaker Tuesday, January 9, beginning at 7pm (but arrive early for dinner). Monthly meetings are held at the Caddy Shack @ Rolling Hills Golf Course, 1415 North Mill Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85281-1205 (map) and both members and non-members are welcome to attend.

This will be Gary’s third visit to AYC and if you were at either of the first two, you know what an entertaining speaker he is—and how popular he is. Because of the expected large turnout, we’ve arranged with the Caddy Shack to reduce the menu options that night to three (hamburger & fries, chicken fillet sandwich & fries, and Greek salad) in order to make sure we can serve everyone who would like to eat.

Like more details on Gary’s amazing list of accomplishments? Click over to his website for a quick briefing.

Got 15 minutes to spare? Watch Gary’s ESPN story on Ted Turner’s 1979 Fastnet victory.

 

Spanker Buccaneer Gift Exchange

Donna Benson marvels at the size of the Daisy Spanker. Photo: Mike Ferring

The “Daisy Spanker” gift was the hit of the night, a “sail” fashioned from some giant-sized women’s undies, first received by Donna Benson, then Buccaneer-claimed by Deb Heisler, and finally pirated by Gene Walentiny (who denied speculation about what he planned for them).

Sharon Bell confessed to gifting the Spanker and to cooking up the colorful description of the origin of the “sail,” reprinted below.

The event was the annual AYC gift exchange, emceed by Tom Errickson, and rich with the usual assortment of alcoholic beverage gifts, including a couple we’re still trying to figure out. Velvet Falernum anyone?

Then the meeting turned to the serious business of choosing the “winner” of the Blunder Bucket, a tradition almost as old as the Daisy Spanker. Two worthy nominations were submitted: George Tingom for leading the Governor’s Cup until he decided to round the wrong island and Paul Liszewski for toppling overboard Rolling in the Deep when racing. Paul’s crew had refused all inquiries about what happened, claiming some kind of crew-confidentiality agreement, but James Morphis was an eyewitness and embellished the nomination with great detail.

George Tingom, proud recipient of the Blunder Bucket. Photo: Mike Ferring

Still, it would be hard to deny George the honor for booting the Governor’s Cup, the crowd loudly applauded and he proudly accepted.

Here’s Sharon’s account of the origin of the “Daisy Spanker.”

Webster’s Dictionary “spanker”

  1. a fore-and-aft sail or a mast that is aftermost in a sailing vessel
  2. something outstandingly fine or large

The “Daisy” Spanker is a light air reaching sail, where the apparent wind has a significant effect to create angles less than 90 degrees. It is guaranteed to gain interest and pause your competition long enough for you to finish first in your fleet.

The idea for this sail was conceived by Robert “Black Heart” McDoogle in 1865. To many people, he was as cold as a well-diggers toe in January, but he loved his wife (Daisy) who was of voluptuous size and suffered an unfortunate tendency to pass gas after eating certain foods. One day after a particularly forceful series of emissions he had an idea, rushed on deck with Daisy’s bloomers and hoisted them off a loose line on the aft mast. Low and behold, the bloomers filled with wind and held tight while the ship lurched forward. Captain McDoogle named the new sail a “Daisy Spanker” in honor of his wife.

The 2017 Christmas party was presided over by the snowbear. Photo: Mike Ferring

 

December’s Meeting: Twisted Gift Exchange

December’s monthly meeting brings the annual AYC gift exchange, a gift exchange with a twist. You might say twisted, even. The meeting is at 7 pm, Tuesday, December 12, at the Caddy Shack @ Rolling Hills, 1415 North Mill Avenue, Tempe.

Here’s how the gift exchange works:

  • You bring a wrapped gift valued at about $20.
  • You pick a number from a hat to determine the order in which we select gifts.
  • We’ll have two people called to the front of the room at the same time.
  • Each person can choose to pick a wrapped gift from the pile or play pirate and take the gift from someone who’s already opened one.
  • Gifts can be “pirated” only twice before they’re safe from further theft.

Some of the gifts can be pretty weird, but if you’re looking for a prized gift suggestion: Liquor always seems to bring applause!

What’s the Christmas gift exchange like? Here’s what happened in 2015.

Victor Felice holding tight to a gift in 2015. Photo: Mike Ferring

Victor Felice holding tight to a gift in 2015. Photo: Mike Ferring

Jeff Johnstone’s AYC Visit

It all started with the legendary J/24.

Jeff Johnstone recounted to the AYC November monthly meeting how his father Rod chose the size of the J/24 40 years ago for one critical reason: he could build a 24 foot long by 7 foot wide boat in his garage. Anything bigger wouldn’t fit. When they rolled it out, it not only floated, but beat all comers with a family crew on board.

Since then, there have been over 14,000 boats with the famous J/ on the side, a record of success they could never have imagined back then. Jeff recalled the path from J/24 to J/121, the company’s latest offering, a 40-footer designed for comfortable ocean cruising and racing with a smaller-than-typical crew. Instead of six crew hiking, the J/121 has water ballast that Jeff says “you never have to feed.”

Jeff made a lightning fast trip to Arizona for the Tuesday night meeting, flying in Monday, working in his hotel room Tuesday morning, playing a round of golf at Rolling Hills in the afternoon and then taking the red-eye home in order to make it to a scheduled sailing session in Rhode Island Wednesday morning. AYC members showed their appreciation by filling the room at the Caddy Shack.

What kind of event brings out large numbers of boats? Jeff ran through the list of some of the most-attended regattas in the world, regattas that bring hundreds: the Fastnet, the Around-the-Island (the island of Wight), the Chicago-to-Mac, the Bridges race in San Francisco Bay and several others. How about a 600+ mile race in the Grenadines? Jeff says people buying the J/121 are looking for interesting races in interesting places and that doesn’t have to mean wet and cold!

Jeff Johnstone recounts the history of J/Boats, from the legendary J/24. Photo: Mike Ferring

That’s the famous Fastnet rock, the rounding point of one of the most popular sailboat races in the world. Photo: Mike Ferring

November Meeting: J/Boats President Jeff Johnstone

Every performance sailor knows J/Boats, the premier company for fleets of fast boats that began with the legendary J/24 and continues today with a host of sailboats that start with the letter “J.”

J/Boats President Jeff Johnstone

On Tuesday, November 14, the president of J/Boats, Jeff Johnstone, will be our meeting speaker. He’ll trace the path of the company from the groundbreaking J/24 to the latest hull #1 of the new J/121 (which I know you’ll want to order immediately).

It was Jeff’s father Rod who started it all with $400 worth of fiberglass and wood plus some leftover rigging from brother Bob’s Soling. The result was Ragtime, which proved an amazing race winner and launched a series of J/24s that eventually sold an astonishing 5400 boats.

Since that beginning, the brand has produced 7,000 more J/Boats. A total of six of Rod and Bob’s sons keep the company in the family and sailing fast.

The meeting is Tuesday, November 14, beginning at 7pm (but arrive early for dinner). Monthly meetings are held at the Caddy Shack @ Rolling Hills Golf Course, 1415 North Mill Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85281-1205 (map) and both members and non-members are welcome to attend.

October Meeting: North U Founder Bill Gladstone

The October Monthly Meeting Speaker, North U’s Bill Gladstone. Photo: Mike Ferring

The crazy-windy 2016 Chicago to Mac was tossing our J/130 around like a toy when the helmsman (no, not me) made a bit of a mistake—the huge, green spinnaker suddenly wrapping around the headstay, wind blasts threatening to rip the spinnaker to bits. Raining, dead dark, we call for Bill. Bill Gladstone. He pokes his head up from below and calmly goes to work, unflappable despite the roar of the flapping sail, asking for a couple jibes to unwrap the sail and minutes later we’re back on course, sail intact.

This was Bill’s 28th Chicago to Mac, so he’s seen a lot of nutty stuff on Lake Michigan and lots of other places. He takes it all in calmly, with a smile and a laugh that help explain how he’s been able to take teaching performance sailing and turn it into a lifetime vocation. His business is North U, which presents seminars each year around the country plus the Regatta Experience and clinics in Ontario, Captiva Island, Florida, and St. Thomas.

In October, Bill will offer AYC a short version of one of his workshops, spinning stories as he suggests tactics, rules, and trim. Expect to be as much entertained as informed.

The meeting is Tuesday, October 10, beginning at 7pm (but arrive early for dinner). Monthly meetings are held at the Caddy Shack @ Rolling Hills Golf Course, 1415 North Mill Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85281-1205 (map) and both members and non-members are welcome to attend.

Bill’s racing experience covers the spectrum, including everything from dinghies to Maxies, ponds to oceans, and foredeck to helm. He has finished in the money at Key West Race Week, the SORC, Block Island Race Week, Chicago NOOD, Annapolis to Newport; Chicago to Mackinac, the Annapolis Fall Series, NYYC Race Week, and Queen’s Cup. Bill raced collegiately for Yale and was founder of the Chicago Sailing Club.

He’s been teaching sailing and racing for over forty years. Graduates of his seminars number in the thousands, including several dozen AYC members.

Bill Gladstone on the rail for the Chicago-Mackinac race in 2016. That’s Maryellen Ferring over Bill’s left ear. Photo: Mike Ferring

August Meeting: The Future of Sailing

Launching the Opti. Photo: Mike Ferring

What is the future of sailing? I think we can agree the answer lies with the kids trimming the sails at an ASF Opti I class and their older brothers and sisters in Bics, Lasers, and anything else that sails to the wind.

What draws them to sailing when the competition is a fast-moving massive multi-player online game?

In August, we’ll find out what Colin Gibbs and Cedric Lorch think the answer is. We’ll hear from them and from dad Rob Gibbs and others who are putting together sailing programs for kids. This fall, the Arizona Sailing Foundation (ASF) will launch a racing program for juniors, mostly in Bic O’Pens, and put them on the Tempe Town Lake race course at the same time as the adults. Can sailboat racing hold its own with the latest app?

The meeting is Tuesday, August 8, beginning at 7pm (but arrive early for dinner). Monthly meetings are held at the Caddy Shack @ Rolling Hills Golf Course, 1415 North Mill Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85281-1205 (map) and both members and non-members are welcome to attend.

A Night to Remember

2016-2017 Commodore Bruce Andress. Photo: Mike Ferring

The 2017 Commodore’s Celebration was a night to remember, especially for Lori Reger, who received the AYC Sportsmanship Award recognition for her many contributions to the club over the years: as secretary, as monthly meeting greeter, as adopt-a-boat wrangler and a whole host of other things.

Paul Miachika will probably remember it too—the night he traded the Club Championship trophy for the Blunder Bucket! Paul ceded the Club Championship punch bowl to Mike Hester and John Mayall, this year’s champs. And Rob Gibbs offered a stirring nomination of Paul for a small trailering boo boo. Seems he didn’t tie down the front of his Laser to the trailer. That turned into a big deal when heading down the 101, he looked in the rear view mirror and saw the boat take flight, crashing on the port stern quarter and back flipping some 15 feet in the air. Fortunately nobody hurt, but Paul was suddenly in the market for a new boat.

Colin Gibbs earned the Linderman Most Improved Junior Award. Photo: Mike Ferring

Cindy Pillote presented the Linderman Most Improved Junior trophy to Colin Gibbs and the Heavy Lifting Award to his dad Rob. Bella Hutchinson accepted the High School Championship trophy; she crewed for Peter Blake in the competition. Miles Danner will receive the Wayne Jason Tucker Outstanding Junior Award when he comes home from vacation.

The experimental “Triple Crown” concept didn’t produce a winner this year, but Bruce Andress decided to dedicate it to longtime AYC member Jim Ney, who died recently.

Bruce will remember this as the night he handed over the Commodore’s chores and I’ll remember it as the night I formally took them on… again. Round three as Commodore. The new board, with several new faces, stood for applause.

The Commodore’s Celebration was held at The Yard in Tempe and proved to be an excellent location, especially when dressed up with Maryellen Ferring’s centerpieces and bright balloons.

Here are pictures I took (or were taken by others using my camera).

Motley Crue: Most of the 2017-2018 AYC Board of Directors. Photo: David Newland

 

April Meeting: Extreme Sailing!

Sailing will go to the Extreme in October in San Diego, foiling cats rising out of the water in a wild show of speed. The city is the latest entry in the world tour of the Extreme Sailing Series, a collection of professional, sponsored teams racing a fleet of foiling GC32 catamarans, “flying” just in front of thousands of spectators.

Matt Reynolds. Credit - Lloyd Images

Matt Reynolds. Credit – Lloyd Images

In April, San Diego Extreme Series CEO Matt Reynolds will introduce AYC to the series and invite us to take it all in on October 19-21. The Race Village will be based at Harbor Island, and the racing action will take place close to shore as a kind of “stadium” racing venue. The series started in 2007 with racing catamarans, but last year switched to the GC32, the foiling boats. Here’s more about the boats.

They just raced in March at Muscat in Oman. Next up in April is Qingdao, China. Then it’s on to the Madeira Islands, Hamburg and Cardiff, and then San Diego and Los Cabos, Mexico

The meeting is Tuesday, April 11, beginning at 7pm (but arrive early for dinner). Monthly meetings are held at the Caddy Shack @ Rolling Hills Golf Course, 1415 North Mill Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85281-1205 (map) and both members and non-members are welcome to attend.

Extreme Series at the last stop of 2016, Sydney harbor.

Extreme Series at the last stop of 2016, Sydney harbor.

 

March Meeting: Boathouse for Tempe Town Lake?

Kim Knotter, Executive Director, Rio Salado Foundation

Kim Knotter, Executive Director, Rio Salado Foundation

The Rio Salado Foundation is making another run at building a $5-million boathouse on the north shore of Tempe Town Lake. Storage on the lower floor, offices and meeting space on the top. Sound like something nice to have?

At the March monthly meeting, Rio Salado’s Executive Director Kim Knotter will lay out the plans and the hopes and dreams for you to ogle. If you’ve been following this story, this will be familiar. The organization has been trying to get the concept off the ground for years and has been sitting on $1.2 million in funds as seed money, most of it from SRP. Kim will tell us how they hope to get the seed to grow.

The meeting is Tuesday, March 14, beginning at 7pm (but arrive early for dinner). Monthly meetings are held at the Caddy Shack @ Rolling Hills Golf Course, 1415 North Mill Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85281-1205 (map) and both members and non-members are welcome to attend.

Kim Knotter was named Executive Director in July 2013 and has worked in nonprofit management and fundraising in Phoenix for over 20 years. She has served with some of the Valley’s most notable charities including The American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Planned Parenthood of Arizona, Hospice of the Valley, Phoenix Art Museum, and Ballet Arizona. Kim is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and Planned Giving Round Table of Arizona.

January Meeting: Eco Vigilantes Protect Endangered Species

Consider this sentence from the NY Times: “Sea Shepherd… describes itself as an eco-vigilante group, flies a variation of the Jolly Roger on its ships and often cites the motto, ‘It takes a pirate to catch a pirate.’” Sea Shepherd tries to stop bad guys from wiping out endangered ocean species or nail them for illegal fishing.

Sea Shepherd's David Hance

Sea Shepherd’s David Hance

David Hance is the Chief Operating Officer of this group and he’ll be our January meeting speaker. He’ll brief us on their efforts in the northern Sea of Cortez, where they’re working with the Mexican government and other groups to protect the critically endangered Vaquita Porpoise, which they estimate now numbers just 60.

In fact, Sea Shepherd has just stopped six fishing boats illegally fishing in the Sea of Cortez, turning them over to Mexican authorities.

The meeting is Tuesday, January 10, beginning at 7pm (but arrive early for dinner). Monthly meetings are held at the Caddy Shack @ Rolling Hills Golf Course, 1415 North Mill Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85281-1205 (map) and both members and non-members are welcome to attend.

A shot of the crew of one of Sea Shepherd's "vigilante" ships.

A shot of the crew of one of Sea Shepherd’s “vigilante” ships.

And then, they became pirates.

It happens every year—at a time of goodwill and peace on earth, normally pleasant AYC sailors release their inner Kraken and go for the things in shiny wrappings. The 2016 Party was no different and for all who were there, you can be a pirate till race season starts again. If you missed it, put down the eye patch, fold the Jolly Roger and promise you will never miss the party again.

Commodore Bruce Andress started the evening dressed in his signature “Santa on Vacation” outfit. New club members were welcomed followed by a well-received presentation of things to come in 2017. Bill and Barbara Cunningham presented a stunningly long line of new burgees they had collected over the summer. Thank you!

The Trophy presentation followed with the giant Governor’s Cup going to Paul Miachika and the brand new AYC Governor’s Cup rodeo buckles to Mike Hester (Monohull) and Brett Johnston (Multihull).

Fleet Captain John Riddell then demonstrated that PowerPoint is not a fossilized relic and can still be used to show strangely bizarre pictures of the Commodore motor racing, the Vice Commodore dancing in Seoul, the Rear Commodore looking like Warren Beatty (or was it George Hamilton?).

John went on to introduce the new Regatta formats for 2017 and beyond, including a new Ruth Beals format, the Triple Crown, and other “From the fertile mind of the Fleet Captain—this is going to be fun!” Stay tuned.

Bruce then started the “gift exchange/pirates gone wild” highlight of the evening. With over 50 gifts exchanged, most pirated several times, the action was fast and at times hysterical. Strangely, Bethany Tuvene could not hang on to a bottle of booze to save her life. In the end, she did walk away with a Jim Beam Honey.

And then there was the Blunder Bucket. The nominations for the most blunderesque moments were several, but there was a clear winner from the start. Two GovCups ago there was a SolCat upside down jammed against the dam. This time the nomination was to the same person, different boat! The SolCat was replaced by an awesome Nacra Inter 20 and on the drive home after the first time out sailing it, amazingly a set of very pricey composite sails somehow ended up on the freeway! A trashed jib was recovered but the main was never seen again. And the winner is: Josh Kimble! Well done, kiddo! Previous BB winners are proud of you!

Here are some really mediocre photos. The prestigious “Official Club Photographer” position, by the way, is open. If you do have some quality images, please share!

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Commodore Bruce doing his best MC
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Josh, Brett and John. Brett with his new rodeo buckle.
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Mike telling new Viper owner Freddy, “You too can have a rodeo buckle one day.”
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A table full of pirates with two hulls.

 

October Meeting: Professional Paddle Boarder Chase Kosterlitz

Professional stand up paddle boarder Chase Kosterlitz told the October AYC monthly meeting that he’s trying to bring order out of chaos for the young sport of SUP racing. Chase showed a video of the start of the world’s most prominent event in 2013, with a herd of paddleboarders pushing past the supposed start line, edging up to the water (keeping up with the “first cheater,” he said) and then crashing into each other as they started, looking for room to put their boards.

A sport without rules is not a sport, he said, describing what he’s tried to do with the Stand Up Paddle Athletes Association (SUPAA), which he founded. He said he’s now trained about 50 officials worldwide in an attempt to stabilize the sport and make it more fair for all competitors.

“I live in San Diego,” says Chase, “where I surf, hike and train in between traveling around the world looking for adventure. I got into water sports as a professional kiteboarding and stand up paddle instructor, where I learned to kiteboard in 2005 and began stand up paddling in 2008.

“After a collegiate basketball career, I became an avid water sports enthusiast–dedicated to living and promoting an active lifestyle on the water. This passion led me to establish my Florida-based business, Water Monkey, in order to promote this lifestyle. In five years of competition I have several championship titles and multiple wins across the United States and around the world. In addition to competition I enjoy writing and traveling to find new and challenging places to paddle, surf, kitesurf and explore.”

For more information visit SUPathletes.com. And here’s his personal website.

Chase showing the AYC meeting the wild start of a SUP race. Photo: Chris Smith

Chase showing the AYC meeting the wild start of a SUP race. Photo: Chris Smith

Yes, standup paddleboard is a physical sport!

Yes, standup paddleboard is a physical sport!

Lake Law Enforcement for September Monthly Meeting

Would you like to know how to launch your boat with the trailer still attached? Like some tips on how to attract the attention of law enforcement while boating?

Maricopa County Deputy Sheriff John Ramsay has seen it all in his 30 years of lake duty and he’ll bring a bag load of stories, both comical and serious, when he joins us for the next AYC membership meeting.

Not only does Deputy Ramsay have vast experience with the craziness on our local lakes, but he also trains others to deal with it. He’s one of just 25 officers nationally to be certified to train lawmen on the water.

The meeting is Tuesday, September 13, beginning at 7pm (but arrive early for dinner). Monthly meetings are held at the Caddy Shack @ Rolling Hills Golf Course, 1415 North Mill Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85281-1205 (map) and both members and non-members are welcome to attend.

Lake Pleasant Vista. Photo: Mike Ferring

Lake Pleasant Vista. Photo: Mike Ferring

Safety at Sea Expert Offers Suggested Skills & Gear

Suddenly alone. Now what? You’re suddenly by yourself on your boat, scanning frothy waves for your crew. Now what do you do?

In July, sailing safety expert Bruce Brown will talked us through this frightening scenario. Bruce is the main presenter of US Sailing’s Safety at Sea seminars, seminars that are both very helpful and entertainingly delivered.

Here’s Bruce’s handout, a list of essential skills for anyone heading out on big water in a small boat. It’s fine for the skipper to know how to rescue someone, but what happens if it’s the skipper who goes for a swim? Can your crew execute a MOB recovery or call on the VHF in an emergency?

Bruce has been a prominent member of the sailing safety community for many years, a former president of the US Marine Safety Association and a member of the US Sailing Safety at Sea Committee since 2010.

July speaker Bruce Brown

July speaker Bruce Brown

SUPs and Fast Boats for August Monthly Meeting

Do you SUP? The SUP phenomenon (stand-up paddleboard for the uninitiated) is exploding and for the August monthly meeting, we’ll hear from Terri Carlin of Riverbound Sports in Tempe, a SUP sales and event outfit. She may have you wobbling on a SUP by the end of the meeting.

Actually, this is a meeting double header, offering not only Terri and SUP, but a presentation and Q&A with Pete Balish, someone who’s been close to some of the world’s top racing action. Pete’s been deeply involved in four America’s Cup campaigns in addition to many other sailing programs. He’s boat captain for the mini maxi Numbers with Brad Butterworth, for example. Please bring some probing questions for Pete.

The meeting is Tuesday, August 9, beginning at 7pm (but arrive early for dinner). Monthly meetings are held at the Caddy Shack @ Rolling Hills Golf Course, 1415 North Mill Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85281-1205 (map) and both members and non-members are welcome to attend.

The Mini Max Numbers. Photo: Daniel Forster

The Mini Maxi Numbers. Photo: Daniel Forster

That's AYC's Chris Smith aboard a stand-up paddleboard. Chris has gotten so into the sport that he's offering lessons at http://www.bajaarizonasup.com/

That’s AYC’s Chris Smith aboard a stand-up paddleboard. Chris has gotten so into the sport that he’s offering lessons. Check it out at http://www.bajaarizonasup.com/

June Meeting: SDYC Rear Commodore

Mike Dorgan

Mike Dorgan

Our June 14 guest will be Mike Dorgan, Rear Commodore of the San Diego Yacht Club and owner of Dorgan Yachts, a San Diego yacht brokerage. Mike will be talking about all the different ways we Zonies can take advantage of the sailing playground in San Diego, including:

  • Bringing our boats to SD – slips and dry sail
  • Chartering boats in SD
  • Getting crew spots on SD boats for both racing and pleasure sailing
  • Where to cruise/day sail in and around SD

Mike has mounted Olympic campaigns in the Star class, campaigned both the Star and Etchells to world championship level, and he’s been on America’s Cup teams (which is how he made it to San Diego).

The meeting is Tuesday, June 14, beginning at 7pm (but arrive early for dinner). Monthly meetings are held at the Caddy Shack @ Rolling Hills Golf Course, 1415 North Mill Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85281-1205 (map) and both members and non-members are welcome to attend.

AYC Debuts Private Label Dark Rum

Rescued mermaids, AYC rum, and the smiling conspirator Victor Felice

Rescued mermaids, AYC rum, and the smiling conspirator Victor Felice

With great finfare, Rear Commodore Victor Felice Tuesday night (5/10) announced what he believes is an AYC exclusive: the only yacht club in the country with its own private-label rum.

Distilled at the Thumb Butte Distillery in Prescott, this dark rum appears with the AYC logo in small-batch, numbered bottles that were sold at the meeting for the wholesale price of $25 per bottle.

The new rum arrived with two rescued mermaids, who posed out of water while a big crowd of AYCers sampled the new brew.

Victor and Thumb Butte distiller Dana Murdoch conspired to produce the new rum, which will also be served at the Commodore’s Party.

The distillery has been the winner of multiple awards, including Silver at the 2015 Los Angeles International Spirits Competition (Gin) and Bronze (Rye). Here’s more about Dana Murdoch.

A bottle from the first batch of AYC private-label rum. Photo: Mike Ferring

A bottle from the first batch of AYC private-label rum. Photo: Mike Ferring

 

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Another shot of Victor Felice and his rescued mermaids. Photo: Chris Smith

May Meeting: Something Very Different But Very Tasty

By Victor Felice, Outgoing Speaker Wrangler

After introducing the club members to the term “p**s off” when someone tried to “steal” the Rear Commodore’s bottle of booze at the Christmas Buccaneer Gift Exchange, I’m going to make amends at the next meeting.

May meeting speaker Dana Murdoch.

May meeting speaker Dana Murdoch.

I am, surprisingly, not an alcoholic and in fact rarely drink, yet my guest is none other than sailor and distiller Dana Murdoch–owner of the Thumb Butte Distillery in Prescott.

The winner of multiple awards including Silver at the 2015 Los Angeles International Spirits Competition (Gin) and Bronze (Rye), Dana will talk about and present the various spirits produced right here in Arizona. Rum, anyone? Here’s more about Dana.

But it doesn’t end there. Since this will be the last guest I present officially (did you vote? This term as RC is ending!), there will also be a very special, top secret guest too. This from someone who paints his boats pink, so we can only imagine what will happen.

You do not want to miss this!

The meeting is Tuesday, May 10, beginning at 7pm (but arrive early for dinner). Monthly meetings are held at the Caddy Shack @ Rolling Hills Golf Course, 1415 North Mill Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85281-1205 (map) and both members and non-members are welcome to attend.

April Meeting: No Motors, No Support, Just Get to Alaska

Have you heard of this crazy race? They nail $10,000 to a tree in Ketchican, Alaska, and the first entrant to to make it 750 miles up the inside passage from Port Townsend, Washington, grabs it. Second prize: a set of steak knives.

Race to Alaska Race Boss Daniel Evans

Race to Alaska Race Boss Daniel Evans

Race Boss Daniel Evans will be our April monthly meeting speaker. The (crazy) race and his description of it make it sound like this could be one of the most fun meetings of the year. Here’s what he says about this second go-round of the Race to Alaska:

“Some say it’s like the Iditarod, with a chance of drowning…or being eaten by a bear…or sucked into a whirlpool. We’re fielding a fleet of teams covering the sailing and rowing spectrum, from high tweak fast cats to backyard boats and even a canoe. A canoe!”

The meeting is Tuesday, April 12, beginning at 7pm (but arrive early for dinner). Monthly meetings are held at the Caddy Shack @ Rolling Hills Golf Course, 1415 North Mill Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85281-1205 (map) and both members and non-members are welcome to attend.

As he tells it, “We’ll guarantee blisters, mild hypothermia, and the cathartic elation that comes from accomplishing something others would call impossible.” Last year 35 teams started and 15 finished.

Daniel will  spin the tale of the inaugural year and tell how the race is shaping up for this year. He says, if you’re one of those people who always needs to prep for an event, you can find out more at r2ak.com.

Who is this guy? His bio: An Alaska upbringing, decades of teaching outdoor instruction for Outward Bound and others, mountain climber, professional mariner, schooner captain, and he even runs a volunteer tugboat crew for Port Townsend’s annual Wooden Boat Festival. As a cherry on top of his risky resume, Daniel’s also the father of a three-year-old.

One of the crazy entrants in this crazy race.

One of the crazy entrants in this crazy race.