Archive | July, 2018

AYC Happy Hour – 4 Peaks Brewing in Tempe

Happy Hour at 4 Peaks Brewing!

In conjunction with our effort to focus more on our members and the relationships that make our club strong, we had an AYC Happy Hour at 4 Peaks Brewing in Tempe last Tuesday. The Club sprung for some appetizers and there were about 25-30 people that showed up!

We’re going to continue this “Off Week Happy Hour” effort moving it to different parts of the Valley so different members can attend. How do you know when and where they are? The Club Calendar will be updated with the events and we are trying to utilize the Facebook Events Page more as well! We’ll also include them in the roughly weekly email update with what’s going on.

We’d love to have your help to organize one! These are the kinds of events that help make our club great, so if you are interested in helping put a Happy Hour together in your part of the Valley, email Cruising@ArizonaYachtClub.org.

First Annual Officially Unofficial Catalina Flotilla!

Avalon from Mooring #38

Last weekend AYC Sponsored a Flotilla to Catalina Island, and what a great time it was! The sailing between Long Beach and Catalina was some of the best wind I’ve ever had both ways. On our way out the we had the sails up as we rounded the Carnival Cruise Ship Terminal and sailed out of the Long Beach Harbor entrance. On our boat we had 5 kids and 3 adults. We sailed until we dropped to 4kts and saw that mooring balls were becoming scarce. We motor-sailed the rest of the way.

We spent the first night (Friday) in Descanto Bay, just north of Avalon and open to the ocean. We caught up with our flotilla members Jim and Marilyn Nelson on their Hylas 46 Liberte. We had dinner ashore at Charlie’s Steak and Seafood which was amazing fresh caught fish! Being in Descanto Bay, the dinghy ride was about 10+ minutes one way and it was moderately rough night out in the open ocean, but being outside in the sun all day, sleep was found pretty easily by all!

Jim and Marilyn Nelson’s Hylas 46 – Liberte at Descanto Bay

The next day (Saturday) we cooked breakfast on the boat and planned our day ashore at the beach. Liberte chose to head up to Isthmus Cove at Two Harbors so we bed them a fond farewell. We dinghied into Avalon and got set up on the beach. The kids swam and played in the water and on this massive inflatable fun platform Avalon has set up there. At about 10am we got invited by the Avalon Harbor department to move into Avalon Harbor so My daughter and went over and moved the boat to its new mooring. Later, we had dinner at the Catalina Cantina. Now that we were in Avalon Harbor, the water was much calmer and we had a better evening’s rest.

Our Ship’s Compliment – 3 Gibbs’ and 5 Moreno’s!

The next morning, we cooked breakfast on the boat and made one last trip to shore for ice. We left Avalon, right at 9am, which is checkout time, and motored out of Avalon for about an hour. The wind came up early and we set sail. The USCG was broadcasting a Small Craft Advisory for 3pm with winds 20-30 MPH. We reefed when we started to see 7kts of Speed over Ground and then saw 7kts again under reef within about a half mile of LA Light (AKA Angle’s Gate).

Next year we are planning to arrange this in conjunction with the Tuscon Sailing Club who’s trip was the week before! Maybe even expand it by a day to catch a night in Two Harbors!

Our Club is YOU!

What makes a Club?

A club is its membership. It is YOU! It is made strong by the relationships among its members. We want to build on our foundation and create more and new relationships between the members of our club. So here are a few things to look for in the coming months:

August Meeting – New Member Mixer – Come meet the new members! New members, meet each other! The Club will be providing appetizers from 6:30 to 7:30 at Rolling Hills Golf Course and we want as many people to come as possible! Particularly New Members in the past 2 years!

AYC Campout – Get out of the heat with your friends! August 10-12 is our annual AYC Campout. Get more information on our Facebook Page or on the AYC Website.

Crew Party / Sail Jam 2018 – We are working with Scorpion Bay to have a Lake Pleasant Crew Party out on the end of the new docks! Were looking at 8 September for this – Bring you boat! You’ll be allowed to use the empty slips for the evening! We’ll also be having one at Tempe Town Lake as well…with Dates and Times to be announced.

Member Highlight Reel – We’re going to be working on a slide show to run at the beginning of meetings that highlights YOU! Look for an email with a form to fill out for us!

Your 2018 board is really excited about serving YOU. We really hope you are able to participate and that you find these events fun and meaningful.

Post-regatta party on the deck at Scorpion Grill. Photo: Mike Ferring

A New Way to Find Crew!

Are you a skipper looking for crew or crew looking for a ride? We’re going to try to create more sailing opportunities by moving the AYC Crew List right onto your phone with the Go Sailing App.

The Go Sailing App is a free one sponsored by ASA (American Sailing Association). Skippers can create a trip that they want crew for and crew can apply for the ride. It’s really easy to do either from your desktop or your Android or iPhone. It’s really easy to use. Create your account profile. Be sure to select the Arizona Yacht Club as your club. Then creating a trip is easy.

Check out this tutorial video:

 

Looking to crew? Check out all the events in this area and around the country!

 

How Do We Break Down Barriers to Racing?

By Mike Ferring

An event that works well. Martin Lorch hefts the Governor’s Cup, flanked by crew James Morphis and Katie Yearly. At right: Event Organizer Tom Errickson. Photo: Mike Ferring

In 2018, AYC membership is higher than ever, with 235 member families as of June 1. We have active series at two lakes, well-attended monthly meetings with interesting speakers, a nonprofit arm in ASF with sold-out adult classes and well-subscribed kids’ classes, and large entries in the Birthday Regatta, Governor’s Cup, Tall Cactus and Ruth Beals Cup. We have high-level equipment to run our races. Our club communication, event registration, and governance are all excellent.

Yet, it’s smart to look for ways to improve. Is our membership getting gray? If so, how do we recruit and engage younger members and their children? While registration for “event” races is very good and series entries are still strong, not as many boats are showing up on the race course. How do we get more out?

Commodore Rob Gibbs has set up four committees to create various initiatives to strengthen the club, including one aimed at building the racing program, which I think is the core of the club.

Below are some thoughts, a combination of my own and those of a group of hard-core racers we pulled together for an hour recently: George Sheller, Martin Lorch, Joel Hurley, Skip Kempff, and Scott Richards. If you’re looking for solid answers, this is not the place. These are mostly questions and perspectives rather than answers or prescriptions. Here we go.

Overview

The task of growing the sport of sailing in Arizona confronts some broad society problems in addition to our own local ones:

  • Sailing has always been a minor sport, especially away from the coasts.
  • Boat sales have been low for years.
  • Participation in sailboat racing is dropping nationally.
  • There is increased fragmentation of all leisure activity.
  • There is general reluctance to commit time to any single activity.
  • Natural life cycles bring people in and out of sailing: career, kids, retirement, travel, health and fluctuations in disposable income.

AYC can’t change any of these mega trends, but we know we need to adapt our programs to them if we can. Our subcommittee has identified some of the barriers we might be able to influence:

  • Time commitment required for series racing.
  • Availability of crew.
  • Availability of boats.
  • Knowledge of the sport and its rules and the ability for new people to join the action.
  • Quality of the sailing: wind, competition, too many fleets and choices

Time Commitment

We now have more racing than at any time in the club’s 60-year history. Sailing in every event (as some of us do) requires a considerable time commitment. It also spreads our available entrants and boats across more sailing choices.

Choice is good, right? Options are good, especially in an era when there’s so much competition for our time. But it also means we’ll probably have fewer boats at each event.

This is seen most clearly in the spring and fall race series. At Lake Pleasant, Catalina 22, Multi-hull, and JaM fleets are scoring (and racing) Saturday only. On Sunday morning this spring it was not unusual to have 2-3 Thistles, 2-3 Sport Boats, and a half dozen Spins on the water. If one of those fleets was on RC, the numbers dropped. At TTL, we saw 4-6 14.2s, 4-6 Lasers, and 2-3 Portsmouth… and one of those fleets was always on race committee.

Marc Danner and team (daughter Avery and son Myles) getting the non-spin fleet going again, leading the Jib and Main fleet (JaM, note his T-shirt). Photo: Jim Tomes

Do we need to increase throw outs so more people will participate? Or do throw outs simply mean “I don’t have to show up”? Is a season championship an outmoded concept? No one has proposed a good answer.

Members of our group noted that missing a weekend means giving up a good finishing position. You have to show up to place in nearly any of the fleets. Since it’s difficult to make all the races, do entrants simply give up and not bother to race other weekends as well? Instead of more throw-outs, is there a way to use the redress model and give missing racers an average of their other scores?

What is clear is that the one-day events (Beals, Governor’s, Tall Cactus) are working and appealing. They’re a small commitment, casual, and social. It’s a winning concept. But this caution: these events work partly because they’re unusual and special. Adding more would doubtless reduce the numbers for each.

Availability of Crew

We frequently hear skippers say they can’t find crew and we hear people who want to crew say they can’t find boats on which to sail. Clearly this is an issue we need to fix.

The group said we need to know more about the crew list people in order to decide whether to consider them. Possible answer: adding questions to the form and perhaps vetting all crew-list additions by phone to find out more about them and clarifying their commitment.

The key requirement for regular crew: to show up on time, every time, ready to race. Could we have a pool of people who would commit to sail on a given weekend and then make sure they get on boats? Would the new Go Sailing app help?

What about having a crew class where potential crew could learn the fundamentals? Or is the existing Introduction to Sailboat Racing class sufficient? (I think it should be.)

Availability of Boats

Paul Miachika silhouetted in Tempe Town Lake’s afternoon sun. Lasers are a popular one-design fleet. Photo: Mike Ferring

Sailors need boats and often new people don’t have boats, can’t afford boats, or aren’t ready to commit to a particular kind of boat. If they can’t crew, they drift away from the sport.

The adopt-a-boat program has been a boon, getting people onto boats who wouldn’t otherwise be able to sail and simultaneously strengthening the 14.2 fleet. But it has its limitations: people want to sail at times when the adopt-a-boat program isn’t operating. Is there a way to overcome this?

Is there a way to create a parallel keel-boat program? Would it be possible, for instance, to field a Tumbleweed Catalina 25 as a JaM entry with newbies onboard? Could we find a way to put a Catalina 22 or Santana 20 in play?

What about getting the juniors on board a keel boat for Lake Pleasant racing?

Why don’t people get their boats on the water? Many, including some board members, don’t do it. This might be a good target for a little market research.

Knowledge of the Sport

Are we doing enough to familiarize new people with the way the game is played? What additional classes or sailing opportunities could we provide to get people over the threshold and into the sport?

At one time, the club offered a “Challenger” fleet for new racers and put an experienced sailor on the boat for a while to help speed the orientation. It took a dedicated person to coordinate (Patty Rosky in that case), but it worked for a while.

Could we have a non-scored race weekend (or race day at TTL) where leaders of fleets could help people new to the fleet to compete better and to introduce new people to the different boats?

Quality of Competition

Unfortunately, there isn’t much that we can do to improve the wind. But what about the fleets?

Skip Kempff rightly says that the strength of the club depends on the strength of the fleets. How do we work to build them? Are there too many fleets for the number of competitors? Does this dilute the racing? How could we funnel boats into certain fleets to reduce fragmentation?

George Sheller would like to see us guide people into fewer types of one-design boats, perhaps C22, C14 and Laser. It’s unrealistic, he admits, to think that anyone would sell a PHRF boat to move into one of those fleets, but it might be possible to encourage newbies to go in that direction.

Thistle, Laser, and Santana 20 (and formerly Buccs) have been aggressive about finding boats for potential skippers, even lending them boats to try them out. How could we support this effort?

One stop-gap approach at Lake Pleasant would be to start more than one fleet at a time while scoring the fleets separately. For instance, one Sunday morning the Sport Boats started with the Spin fleet, which was more fun than sailing in a tiny fleet. However, Bob Worrall and I nearly came to blows on the VHF when I was PRO and wanted to start two JaM boats with the C22s. He wouldn’t hear of it. I think his viewpoint on this is short-sighted, but we’d need to get the Fleet Captains to agree if we go this way. (In contrast, Scott Richards and the Thistles welcomed the Fireballs into their start when there were three Fireballs racing.)

We also want to make sure there remains an avenue for those of us who enjoy higher-performance boats.

What can we do to support the fleets in attracting new members?

Summary

I hope this somewhat rambling essay can start the discussion. There are some specific steps we can take and others that will come from talking about it.

These include:

  • Continue to run and promote headline one-day events (Beals, Governor’s, and Tall Cactus)
  • Attack the issue of matching crew and skipper
  • Survey members to learn why they aren’t racing more often to discover answers
  • Look at providing boats for a few newbies
  • Consider combining fleets on starts
  • Funnel new members into existing one-design fleets

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catalina Flotilla July 20th!

Catalina Flotilla

Kim OlsonGibbs sailing to Catalina!

We’ve got a great group ready to go to Catalina next weekend!

The general plan is:

  • Arrive Thursday the 19th late in the afternoon. Provision the boats.
  • Depart Friday the 20th at a respectable, yet, not early time and head for the port that has room for us! (We’ll be checking the Live Avalon Mooring Updates!)
  • Enjoy Dinner Ashore on Friday Night!
  • Saturday the 21st…open! Move harbors? Go for a day-sail? Explore the island? Visit other AZ Boats in the harbor? Dinner Ashore!
  • Sunday the 22nd we’ll leave our mooring by the required time (usually about 9am). Depending on the forecast, we may find a cove and anchor for a while or head back.
  • Depart the morning of Monday the 23rd for home.

There is still time! Get yourself a charter (or trailer your boat over) and join us! If you do, let me know you’re going to be in the area by emailing Commodore@ArizonaYachtClub.org or hailing our boat “Avalon” (Yes, that is the boat’s name) on 16 when you are underway!

 

Buzzing Sailing Jeopardy

By Sharon Bell

While several members were traveling or doing regular summer “stuff,” there was a great group of members who came for cheer, chat and Sailing Jeopardy! at the July monthly meeting.

Terry made special cocktails behind the bar and Mike Parker proved to be a fantastically funny host and narrator for the game. There were four easy targets…oh…I mean “contestants” who volunteered to answer expertly crafted questions in the true spirit of Jeopardy.

The contestants for the evening were Josh McClain, Kenneth Nahkala, Joel Hurley and a new member Alec Milstein!

Josh McClain had a buzzer that made off-putting noises and Mike liked to magnify the noises on the microphone. Sorry folks…you just needed to be there for the sound effects since we all know that what happens at meetings…stays at meetings.

Josh enjoyed hitting his buzzer (probably just to make noise but answered questions too) and stayed in the lead until the finish for a $50 gift card to take his beautiful wife and daughter out to dinner. Yup…Josh…that is the agreement I heard! Alec, Joel, and Kenneth crossed the finish line in a photo finish for $25 gift certificates for their courage and competitive spirit in true AYC style. Thanks again to Mike Parker for making this evening perfect.

Next month, we want to invite ALL of the new members for a social meet and greet to set the stage for a great year of sailing opportunities, friendship opportunities, and tons of laughter. Heather and I will be reaching out to a few of our members for pictures and spotlight information so we can get to know each other better. Stay tuned…it will be fun.