Dear Sailors and Friends of Sailing,
Even though the cove I see outside my office today would only please the ice boaters, we know summer is coming, so let's talk about sailing! Your DCYRA Board had an exceptional meeting this past September and we have much exciting news to share with you.
First and as you certainly know as a PRO or APRO, our Signal Boat Matt Mathews has served us well, but is wearing out. The boat itself is 21 years old and the engine over 14. After reviewing the maintenance we've done on the boat and our expectations of future needs, the Board decided to kick off a formal effort to replace Matt Mathews, with a goal of having a new Signal Boat in place for the 2020 season. Ray Gauthier will lead the effort to raise the necessary funds, and Conrad Lundeen will lead the effort to identify the type and specific boat we need. This is very exciting, because it is an investment in the future of sailing here on Deep Creek. Expect to hear more on this topic from Ray and Conrad and please join the Board in thanking them for agreeing to lead this project!
Second, we were concerned to see the Scot Challenger and Laser Juniors Divisions lie dormant in 2017 and are taking several initiatives to encourage these sailors to get out on the lake:
- For the Scot Fleet, we're going to emphasize Challenger participation in Series racing by starting them first in the sequence when there are three or more Challengers participating. When there are not, we'll start the Challengers with the Silver Division, but score them separately. Finally, we're going to shift the Challengers to high point scoring. That means a Challenger will get at least one point for sailing, even if no other Challengers are racing that day.
- For the Laser Fleet, DCYRA Secretary Eric von Ekartsberg has volunteered to organize a separate course for juniors and other interested Laser sailors each weekend, which would be Laser-friendly without the need to sail with Scots. DCSS Representative Jill Bennett is also working to set up a means for people who would like to try Laser racing to borrow a school boat.
- For both fleets, we hope to set up seminars and mentorship opportunities with more-experienced sailors. All these ideas are focused on creating opportunity for new sailors to get out there (or back out there), and we ask your help. Sailing is a healthy, lifelong sport and we make the whole community stronger by broadening its base - the sailors out there on the lake.
The Board addressed one safety issue stemming from the 2017 Firecracker Regatta. After much thoughtful discussion, we decided to ban DCYRA use of starboard roundings, except for zone races or leeward gates. We don't believe that starboard roundings by themselves caused the problems in the Firecracker, but they were clearly a contributor and FSSA does not use them in FSSA-sanctioned events. We want to do everything we can to ensure that as many sailors as possible are comfortable in making their individual decisions to race in DCYRA events here on the lake, hence this decision.
The Board also addressed several smaller issues, including allowing Commodores the opportunity to sail in the Commodore's Cup Regattas, should they desire; asking the Sandy Douglass Coordinators to factor trophy costs into the SDR budget; formalizing the policy whereby sailors may qualify for a series championship without necessarily qualifying for both the June and July/August Series; and better keeping track perpetual trophies, in cases where the winner may be an off-lake sailor.
After hearing an analysis of our revenue and expenses from Treasurer Andy Carrier, the Board voted to increase DCYRA membership dues by $15 per boat, to $100 for Scots and $85 for Lasers. Membership discounts will continue to apply. DCYRA runs a very lean operation, as it should, but we must also have the right insurance to cover any unforeseen racing accident. That is a major expense.
Our Memorial Day format will be the same as last year. The season opens May 26th with the Steiding zone race, followed by the Becker Cup May 26 - 28. Scots and Lasers will race the same courses and number of races.
For Series racing, Scots and Lasers race the same courses. At the discretion of the PRO, a separate, shorter windward mark may be used for the Lasers. The Lasers will sail separate courses for the Firecracker Regatta (June 30 - July 1), the Commodores' Cup and, of course, will be the only fleet sailing for the Laser Invitational, July 21 - 22. Lasers will have additional Sunday sailing opportunities this year, through the races Erik von Ekartsberg will be leading. Geri Meehan will once again sponsor a Women's/Juniors Regatta on July 7 (yay Geri!), and Ray and Darlene Miller will chair this year's Sandy Douglass Regatta on July 28 - 29. All SDR entrants are required to be members of FSSA.
We will host the Commodores' Cup over Labor Day weekend, September 1 - 3. The Fair Winds Regatta will run September 8 - 9. Fair Winds is free, but we ask entrants to consider donating to a local charity. This year, all donations will be presented to the Garrett Regional Medical Center, as a sailing contribution to the local community. Recall, the term "Fair Winds" is a traditional sailors' farewell and wish for safety, and the Fair Winds remembers and honors those who have made that last safe journey home. Our season wraps up with the Magellan zone race on September 15.
The Board would particularly like to thank Trophy Co-Chairs Barbara Grunbaum and Don & Debbie McCombs. Don & Debbie filled in for Barbara when personal commitments made it difficult for her to be available for awards ceremonies. But Barbara still procures all our trophies, even though she is temporarily inactive in the club. All three are great to work with and deserve a word of thanks.
Finally, please take a moment to thank all the DCYRA Board members when you see them this year. I'm always amazed to see the work these people donate to support sailing here on the lake, often without any notice or appreciation. We are very lucky to have them. Please also consider donating to the sailing program. Your Board works hard to control costs, but the costs of insurance and all those other things that support the program continue to rise. Any amount will be greatly appreciated - you may even get an autographed photo from Andy Carrier, who works very hard to keep our bills paid.
In all, this should be an exciting year for racing on the lake and we all look forward to seeing you on the water!
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