AYC’s Holiday Party was a Blast!

by Bob Naylor, Commodore.

Now that was a fun night! AYC packed the Rolling Hills clubhouse to capacity, with 78-diners and a guest or two who happened to show-up! The crowd kept the staff on their toes – Gabby, Nicole, and Joe did an outstanding job keeping pace with food service and beverage orders throughout the evening.

What a FUN group of sailors we had! So many familiar faces, and many new faces, too! It’s always wonderful to see our many long-term members, some having nearly a half-century of membership – extraordinary! We also had plenty of newer members, including our newest – Michael Olson and his fiancée Tiana, and Anders Mintz, whose memberships were approved a week earlier – welcome aboard! Newer still is Ed Scheletsky. Ed joined the AYC Crew List and crewed with Chuck Landis. He attended the party as a non-member with his wife and two daughters … and applied for membership the very next day! Several people commented on how they enjoyed having children attending – the youngest being little Maya Salla approaching her first birthday! Rahul will have her trimming that C-22 foresail before you know it!

Tom Errickson did a masterful job officiating the white elephant gift exchange. With a full-house, there was concern the swapping and stealing wouldn’t end before midnight. But Tom kept things moving right along. Most of the gifts were really nice, and a great many were … liquid. And a few bore the telltale hallmarks of re-gifting … a White Elephant tradition. Finally, after many gifts exchanged hands multiple times, everyone went home with something – some with a lovely bottle of top-end rum, others with a thrice regifted Veg-o-Matic!

Finally, nominations for the prestigious Ye Blunder Bucket award were aired, discussed, and voted on. There were many worthy candidates, making for tough competition …

  • Mike Ferring organized a NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP for radio-controlled sailboats, then forgot to bring his boat to the race!
  • Sadie Hoberman, a skilled sailor and president of the ASU Sailing Club, capsized FJs three consecutive weekends this season. First during a collegiate competition in Santa Barbara, then again at a TTL practice, and finally at another TTL practice the following weekend. Expertly coaching her less experienced crew to roll tack “really hard”, both were soon bobbing in the fetid waters of TTL, with the FJ’s mast solidly stuck in the ooze below.
  • Maryellen Ferring, not to be out-done by Mike, earned a nomination. Mike was running late for a Sunday afternoon race; so, Maryellen launched and rigged their C-14.2 and set out for the start line with Laser sailor Mike Bernard as crew (what could go wrong?). A short time later, they were seen riding low in the water and heading for the dock. Drain plugs – so, so, important … so, so easy to forget.
  • Jason Rziha: As PRO for the Dec-3 races at Lake Pleasant, the Race Committee flag was flown upside-down all day, and throughout the night while moored, until noticed the next morning by the on-coming Sunday RC.
  • Marshall Williamson, our distinguished Vice Commodore, garnered TWO emphatic nominations for fouling the prop of the Whaler while setting the finish mark during the Dinghy Days event. Marshall remains a popular nominee.
  • Cedric Lorch: With all nominations received and discussed, I made a final call for any others. After a slight pause, a hand hesitantly raised way in the back. It was Fay Powell, and as she took the mic, a story unfolded. Fay skippered their Santana 20 in the Ruth Beals Cup. Ever since its inception over 15-years ago, the rules have been clear – every skipper must be a WOMAN. As Fay headed in after a successful race (she clinched third), Cedric motored the Whaler alongside and asked Fay’s crew – Will Nowak – whether HE had beaten Joel Hurley (MALE). Joel’s S-20 raced that day, taking second place, with Olivia Jackman at the helm and Joel as crew. As Fay finished recounting the exchange with Cedric, a hushed silence fell across the room. Eyes glanced about before soon giving way to a small uproar. Where did THAT ONE come from! Wow!

Regaining order over a pumped crowd, voting commenced following our established process of crowning the winner based on the nomination receiving the LOUDEST cheering. The competition was close, with the first several nominees all receiving loud cheers. When we got to Marshall – a perennial Blunder Bucket favorite – the room exploded! At last, a CLEAR winner! Or so I thought. Fay’s last-minute nomination of Cedric remained. The response was a surprise – loud and unmistakable! CEDRIC was taking home the Bucket for his momentary misogynistic misstep. Celebration broke-out! Hell hath no fury like a woman sailor scorned. Congratulations, Cedric!

To his credit, Cedric – a bit red-faced – “owned it” and accepted the Bucket with grace … practice makes perfect. This was, after all, his third Bucket award, winning it at the tender age of 16, then again a few years later. Having now been awarded 108-times in the club’s 65-year history, Cedric joins the elite ranks of AYC’s most blunder-prone sailors – Rick Johnson (3-awards), Don DeFreze (3-awards), and George Tingom (4-awards). With many years of sailing still ahead of him, Cedric is well on his way to sailing stardom.

A full-capacity turn-out, an evening with friends old and new over a nice dinner, a festive holiday gift exchange full of fun and good cheer, and a spirited, good-natured, Blunder Bucket competition. A perfect ending to another year of AYC sailing.

‘Tis the season, and if that means you’re feeling a bit of holiday stress, here’s your cure. Put a log on the fire and pour a tall serving of your favorite holiday beverage. Then take a few minutes to read this: Blunder Bucket Winners List. You can’t help but laugh.

Robin joins me in wishing all AYC sailors and friends a happy holiday season filled with friends, family, laughter, and love. We wish you and yours the best in the coming year. Be safe, and I look forward to seeing everyone on the water in the 2023. Happy holidays.