Past, Present & Future

A Message From Your Commodore
By Marc Danner

Past: March 14th and 15th were the last two days my son Myles and I raced at Lake Pleasant.  We were able to get in five races that weekend and although we came in 3rd behind Joel Hurley and Martin Lorch, the sailing was great!  That was the last yacht club sponsored event, just before Arizona’s stay at home order was executed, and put into place. Since the arrival of COVID-19, the world has been put on pause.
Businesses were and continue to be closed, companies have asked their employees to work from home (Google until the summer of 2021), schools closed early and will start the 2020 school year online, and organizations such as the Arizona Yacht Club had to cancel events such as the remainder of the Spring Series, Commodore’s Celebration, Club Championship and the Stars and Stripes in San Diego. Additionally, in 2020, this club experienced the passing of members Robert Ball, Ray Gazzera, Tom Ohlin, and Joe Laux Jr. The club will certainly feel their absence for many years to come.  

Lake Pleasant Racing – Photo by: Marc Danner

Present: As the number of positive cases of COVID-19 in Arizona continues to rise, many of us are staying at home; spending time with family, traveling with caution, and social distancing.  During the course of each board meeting, we discuss the effect of COVID-19 and how it affects both our members and our annual events. As we receive notifications that members have tested positive for the virus, it becomes more than just a story in the media.
The primary goal of the board is to keep our members safe and healthy, especially during the events we promote.  Bob Naylor (Rear Commodore) and Deb Heisler (Vice Commodore) continue to bring speakers to our virtual monthly meetings, and monthly happy hours continue through virtual gatherings as well (via Zoom).  Although these meetings may look different now than before, they continue to bring us together and unite us as a club.  

Zoom Happy Hour – Photo by: Marc Danner

Future: The return of in-person meetings and gatherings, as well as our club events such as racing on both Tempe Town Lake, and Lake Pleasant, are the FUTURE of the club.  For now, we continue to comply with the Governor’s Executive Order 2020-43, which prohibits organized events of 50 people or more. We also continue to adhere to CDC guidelines, suggesting either the postponement and/or canceling of events.  Monthly general meetings will continue via the online platform (Zoom),  and the Rear Commodore will support the club with outstanding speakers.  
The fleet captains met and voted to commence with the regular fall racing season, if the Maricopa Water District allows. Guidelines will include the required wearing of a face covering while on the race committee boat(s), as well as on the dock. As skipper you may also require your crew to wear a face covering, however this will not be mandatory.  The Fall Series sign up link will be posted soon on the AYC Racing page.  The Club Championship and Commodore’s party have officially been cancelled.
As the current Commodore, it is my goal to provide meaningful events that allow for safe participation for all members (young and old alike). A mission statement will be developed, and dedicated to advancing the club with a clear focus during this current boards’ tenure, as well as for future board members. Increasing our youth participation, as well as the club’s membership, enhancing communication to members and non-members, creating non-racing events for members and enhancing our racing program are just a few of the goals this current board will be focusing in on during this upcoming season. Some of these may prove to be more difficult to achieve due to COVID-19 guidelines, however the board continues to persevere in order to create plans for the future.

I could not do any of this without the current board, and a warm thanks goes out to:  
Deb Heisler – Vice Commodore
Bob Naylor – Rear Commodore
Jeff Coulter – Racing Fleet Captain
Sharon Bell – Cruising Fleet Captain
Dave Henning and Skip Kempff – Membership
Tony Chapman – Treasurer
Jeff Bryant – Secretary
Rob Gibbs – Jr. Staff Commodore
Bill Hutchison – Sr. Staff Commodore