Closing Out 2020

Featured Photo: Onne van der Wal

Commodore’s Message

As we close out a challenging year, remembering the loss of fellow sailing enthusiasts (both members and non-members), I’d like to take a moment to share a few of the more positive aspects of my tenure over the past seven months as Commodore. The membership at large voted in a strong board (in my opinion) to guide us through a worldwide pandemic.

The Fall Series saw its’ first and last race of the season, and we gained 35 new AYC members. In addition, we continue to support 306 AYC members, hosted amazing monthly guest speakers via Zoom. We watched as Alexia Lorch was crowned the official winner of the Ruth Beals Cup, and the Governor’s Cup was handed off to Mike Hester. And through it all, club members practiced COVID-19 precautions during the racing season – including social distancing and mask-wearing when appropriate.

Dave Henning developed the Navigator program at the board level to ensure that all new club members would feel at home and be motivated to become active participants in the club. Bob Naylor brought outstanding speakers to the club’s monthly meetings, while Deb Heisler ramped up communication within the club, taking on the difficult task of writing up the Eight Bells to honor those we have lost this year. Jeff Coulter worked with the fleet captains to put on an outstanding Fall Series and the Ruth Beals Regatta. Sharon Bell coordinated the Governor’s Cup, where over 40 boats registered and raced. Rob Gibbs began planning the Birthday Regatta that is slated for February 13th, 2021. Tony Chapman and Jeff Bryant continued to play an integral role behind the scenes as both the treasurer and secretary, respectively. Without these individuals, the AYC would not be the best in Arizona!

As Commodore, I began the year intending to build on what Rob Gibbs had put into play during the previous two years. Unfortunately, COVID-19 quickly derailed those plans. However, rather than get off-course, and with the board’s overwhelming help and support, we adjusted our sails.

We jumped into action on how to best (keeping health, safety, and fun in mind) continue our seasonal events, including our monthly meetings and racing calendar. As the racing season commenced, we felt confident about meeting the challenges of this pandemic.

As the club’s leadership changes each year, I felt it was essential to have a guiding statement so that future commodores could continue to be inspired in steering the club in a positive direction. Again, with the board’s help and past commodores input, a mission statement was developed and adopted. After much collaboration, I am pleased to announce the approved mission statement below.

AYC Mission Statement: The Arizona Yacht Club is the largest sailing organization in Arizona, enriching our community by promoting the sport of sailing through social activities, competitive racing, cruising, education, and fellowship among our members, their families, and friends.

As you reflect on this mission, we hope it is evident that it has guided our current board actions. As we enter the 2021 season, it will be our goal to enhance what is already in place and do our best to ensure that every member benefits and gains the most value out of their yearly dues.

We want to wish you and your family a happy and healthy holiday season! May 2021 bring new wind and friendship!


Marc Danner