With nominations made and my name on the ballot for Commodore, I’ve been reflecting on the past few years, specifically serving as Rear and now Vice Commodore. I want to start by asking, “Can I have 3.8 minutes of your time?” This question was added after an unnamed person said, “It’s too long. People won’t read it.” My immediate thought was, have you ever read Scuttlebutt?
Being faced with amputating my thoughts, I sought out a second opinion. I asked Google, “How long should a blog post be?” I discovered an ideal length is about 1050 words, and it takes the average reader 3.3 minutes to read 1000 words. Read on. The clock is ticking.
When Rob Gibbs approached me to be Rear Commodore, I had no clue what that entailed but answered, “Sure, why not?” I was fortunate to have some of you of suggest potential meeting speakers, offer your past experience as a trusted advisor or contribute ideas. Your support allowed me to fill the remaining months and organize events like the Crew Party, Opening Day, our Holiday celebration, and Clean Regattas. Many of you volunteered and were instrumental in making these events a success. THANK YOU!
During my tenure as Rear, we faced finding a new meeting venue and eventually landed at Dave & Buster’s. Making our way through the constant gaming noise was a small price to pay for a nice room, decent menu, cold beer, and audio-visual equipment no one had to haul around or set up. The venue was also a plus for the kids at the annual Holiday Party. The move took some adjusting.
Enter COVID, stealing the stage and rendering our familiar script useless. We improvised and adjusted once again. The board had to make a few difficult decisions guided by facts, science, and data to keep us all safe, and together we found acceptable ways to continue with our racing program, regattas, and meetings. THANKS to each of you who stepped in to create some semblance of normal with these activities.
Forward to 2020, when I became Vice. I was apprehensive about being responsible for the Club communications. Word Press, GoDaddy, Dropbox, Wild Apricot. What? It was all so alien. I flashbacked to when I was a new sailor; every word seemed foreign, and the learning curve resembled Mt. Whitney.
Emory has long accused me of being related to Mrs. Malaprop based on, well, my malapropisms. Calling a PFD a PDF, the downhaul a downrigger, the fenders – balloons, horn cleats on the dock – dock anchors, the tiller a wheel, any boat line a rope, and the boom vang the boom yang. Not to be confused with the boom yin. As I progressed in sailing knowledge and skill, I worked my way up to identifying types of boats and feeling brainy when asking, “So is ours a macaroni rigged boat?” When I first heard the word Genoa, I remember being distracted by my rumbling stomach and seeing salami in my mind’s eye. And that’s the shortlist!
Despite my initial uncertainty as Vice, I sensed an obligation to publish well-written news. Oh my! I’ve always found writing a bit laborious and can relate well to Jack Nicholson in The Shining. You know the scene – when Jack is repeatedly typing, “All work and no play make Jack a dull boy.” Now I’m not a recovering alcoholic as Jack was, but I do struggle with perfectionism, and there were times I contemplated tossing a few down to get the creative juices flowing.
I wisely dropped that idea, read my sailing emails, visited sailing sites, and invested in the professional version of Grammarly, a popular online editor. With confinement orders in place and Grammarly now partnered with my extroverted energy, we set about with the notion of staying connected through words.
I want to thank the genius behind Grammarly and thank each of you that took the time to alert me when I made a misteak -a link was broken or a word misspelled, for being a contributor or nudging me toward some sailing-related news. Based on your emails and comments, we hit the mark, but without having to do circles. 🙂
For me, this role came with a steep learning curve like sailing once did. Just today, I discovered the Lightbox feature. Once applied, it allows an image to be expanded with a click or touch. Try it in this post. And my previous comment about Mt. Whitney is from personally hiking to its peak. This graphic reminds me of the trail. The struggle’s been real. Almost a year later, I speak rather confidently about terms like platforms, domains, block vs. classic editors, CSS coding, and clearing out my cache no longer means spending all my money at Kohls.
On a more serious note, when our Club experienced six members’ deaths over the past year, that impact was deeply felt. Collaborating with some of you over the phone and email and compiling your remembrances into meaningful tributes often left me in tears at my keyboard.
Many of us newer members did not know most of them who passed, but your sharing of photos and memories gave us a glimpse into who some of our fondest members were. I was saddened by the loss of those who shaped this Club with their creativity, tenacity, character, contributions, and commitment. I also grieved for the personal loss experienced by those of you that called them friends. They each will be deeply missed.
At the beginning of my tenure as Vice, our beloved Tony Chapman said to me, “Deb, you’re doing a great job with the communications; I just hope you can sustain it.” To which I replied, “Tony, thanks, and don’t worry, I’m an extrovert; we never run out of things to say!”
Serving on the Board of Directors these past two years has allowed me to understand our Club’s inner sanctum and functioning. It’s been a valuable learning experience with fun people.
With a count of 1054 words and positive affirmations from Grammarly, I’ll wrap it up. COVID vaccinations are slowly but surely making way into our cities and arms, and we can begin to envision a new future state.
I’m looking forward to serving as your Commodore and journeying with you through the 2021-2022 year. Together, we’ll make some great memories!
Debbra Heisler, Vice Commodore