Writers sought. Click here to learn how to contribute to The National.

Urgent Request: Dock Committee Volunteers Required

Next to the clubhouse itself, the largest asset we – as club members – have are the docks. These docks provide us with slips to keep our boats safe and sound and they provide access to and from these slips.

These docks are not getting any younger and in some areas they are really starting to show their age. To keep them in good working condition is no easy task. Your Dock Committee, chaired for over 10 years by Don Williams, continues to work away on the ever increasing list of outstanding issues, including many safety issues. But he can’t do it all by himself. He urgently needs to have some help.

Many of the tasks require some simple tools and no special training or experience, and can be completed in a couple of hours. Others can be done a bit at a time. If you can help clear some of the current backlog of issues, please give Don Williams a call, or send him an email. He would love to hear from you!

Cell: 416-545-7245 05
email: soundscape@lifescape.ca

The National continues to be one of the premiere boating venues on the entire North shore of Lake Ontario. This isn’t by accident as it takes a great deal of hard work, not only your Board and excellent staff, but by volunteers. Let’s keep this going by just doing a bit more for The National.

My thanks for responding to this plea for assistance.

Don Weston
Vice Commodore, Marine Operations


Posted in Committee News | Leave a comment

In Florida for Hurricane Season

image008Five months have passed since we have updated our website with logs and photos. In February we sailed south into the Caribbean, arriving in the southern Bahamas in early March. Next year we will publish our logs and photos to fill this gap.

We loved our month in the Exumas in the Bahamas. The weather between cold fronts was great, the Bahamians gave us a great welcome, and we met 12 other Whitby 42’s or Brewer’s. The first of April we sailed back to Florida and up the coast to the St. John River just south of the border with Georgia to haul Pilgrim out of the water for hurricane season. We had sailed her from Nova Scotia (July 2013) down the US east coast and into the Caribbean for a delightful 11 months.

We are back in Toronto, but will be spending most of the summer in Michigan with children, grandchildren and working on a trawler/tug we plan to purchase. We will return to Florida in November and follow the thorn-less path to Trinidad (Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Virgin Islands, the Windward and Leeward Islands) next winter.

We have updated our website with logs and more photos from the Bahamas and Florida, March – May 2013.

Jane Witherspoon & Brian Stewart

Posted in Adventures | Leave a comment

2014 Shark World Championship

2014 logoDuring the week of August 23rd–29th, National Yacht Club will host the 2014 Shark World Championship. This Championship is the high point of the Shark Class Regatta schedule and has been competed for since 1966. It was held in Canada for two consecutive years and then in Europe for one year, before returning to Canada for another two consecutive years. In addition to entries from Canadian Yacht clubs from Windsor to Montreal and around the Golden Horseshoe, this regatta will attract entries from Austria, Germany and the USA. It is anticipated that as many as 70 boats will compete in this prestigious event, and it is planned to make this the biggest and best Worlds ever.

How can NYC members contribute to the success of this event?

  1. Obviously an event of the magnitude cannot be hosted without the assistance of a substantial pool of volunteers. Although the NYC Shark fleet is providing an excellent volunteer pool, we are looking for members who are able to volunteer some time to help in the execution of this event
  2. In order to accommodate some of our European competitors, as well as the international judges required for this event and some of the out of town competitors we hope to find members who are willing make their boats available for crews to sleep on. A Shark has a crew of three so most boats at the club are suitable. We have approached a number of you directly but if you have not been contacted please contact us. Either way we appreciate your support in this regard.

If you are able to help with any of the above items, please contact sharkregattas@thenyc.com

The Schedule

Following registration and measurement of boats all day on Saturday as well as Sunday morning, Sunday afternoon will see the traditional Shark Worlds Practice race followed by the official opening ceremonies and a reception for competitors and officials. Additional boats will compete on the practice race as we attempt to assemble the largest Shark start ever. A maximum of 10 races, including 9 course races and a long distance race, are schedule for Monday to Friday, with a maximum of 3 races being schedule for each day. Racing will take place just south of Toronto Islands.
On-shore a busy social schedule is planned with daily post-race “Attitude Adjustment” sessions, daily awards ceremonies and other fun activities to keep competitors busy. An Awards Banquet is schedule for Friday evening following the completion of racing and haul out of boats.

Organizing a Major Event

NYC’s very active Shark Fleet has formed the Organizing committee for this event and is hard at work finalizing the planning process. As a dress rehearsal for this event, NYC hosted the very successful three-day Shark North American Championship in 2013. This event attracted an entry of 39 boats.

The influx of over 200 competitors to the club for will make NYC a very busy spot for the week of the regatta but the event is being organized such that there will be minimal impact on the activities of other members.

Key Event Locations

The focal point of the regatta will be the Chart Room and a 40’ x 100’ Marquee tent which will be located east of the clubhouse and used for dining and social activities. This will have some impact on parking capacity and, if you are planning an extended absence during the regatta, please do not park in this area.

Launching and measurement of boats will be done at HMCS YORK and boat trailers will be stored there for the duration of the regatta. Trailers from NYC boats that are competing in the regatta will also be stored at this site thereby freeing up space in the drysail area for competitors RVs and travel trailers. The white crane at the Drysail area will only be used in the event that emergency repairs are required to a boat or for spot check measurements. Please ensure that under these circumstances, competitors are given priority access to the crane.

Competitor’s boats will be rafted on the seawall of the east basin, and this will restrict access to the pumpout facilities when the fleet is ashore.

Give Our Guests a Big NYC Welcome

NYC will certainly be a fun place to be for the week of the regatta. Please do your utmost to make our guests feel welcome as they share our club and its facilities.

For more information on the 2014 Shark Worlds please visit www.sharkworlds2014.com.

Dave Thomas
Chair 2014 Shark World Championships

Posted in Committee News, Regattas | Leave a comment

Message from the Commodore, July 2014

Commodore Denys JonesThe summer boating season is well under way and NYC cruisers are spreading all over the lake on voyages of discovery. The Lake Ontario 300 participants are now mostly recovered from the 310 nautical mile marathon of sailing.

Lake Ontario 300 light windsTal on the Water

This year I know our General Manager Tal participated in the double-handed race and had a great time with some fast sailing and of course the inevitable drift in the doldrums at mid-lake. Fortunately everyone made it back to work in time. Tal came in second in his division. Well done Tal!

Member Tales

Yesterday I saw Jonathan and Diane Bamberger on our NYC dock and enjoyed a brief visit. As you may know, “Spitfire” participated in the Newport Bermuda race this year. It’s really exciting to see NYC boats participating in these international events. Well done Jonathan, you make us proud. Read their story here.

Exciting Weeknight Racing

Closer to home, our evening races are getting to be much more fun with occasional brisk winds keeping us on our toes. There is nothing more exciting than reaching towards the down wind mark with the spinnaker drawing full, then raising the jib with a perfect spinnaker douse and rounding the mark with just enough room. Last Wednesday was very exhilarating. Sailing up wind in to what felt like a failing breeze only to be almost knocked over and then lifted 10 degrees towards the windward mark. Whoever said that watching a sail boat race was like watching grass grow has obviously not participated in our Wednesday night racing.

Drain the Basin_MG_3927Drain the Basin – A Great Time!

The first” Drain the Basin “ Regatta was a great success. Thanks so much to Sandy Steffen, our VC Fleet and her crew of volunteers. Less than a week before this event, some of us were wondering if we would have a poorly attended event but thanks to stellar efforts by Sandy and her crew encouraging folks to participate we had a really fun regatta with over 40 participants. The pursuit race and the cruise was a really interesting way of encouraging folks who perhaps would normally not participate in a regatta. Sandy’s idea was to encourage all boaters at NYC to participate in this activity and it worked. I look forward to next year’s “Drain the Basin” and won’t be at all surprised if we double the numbers. Congratulations to the committee on a job well done.

Room at Racing School for August Sessions

NYC Sailing and Racing School is operating at full pace and last month I mentioned that we still had room available for students in the August sessions. I am happy to advise that the instructors did such a good job in the early sessions that many of our students signed up again for another session.

photo copyThere will very likely be spots available for Can-sail 1 and 2 so talk to your friends and encourage them to introduce their children to the wonderful sport of sailing. These young people are learning life-time skills

Upcoming Commodore’s Cruise

Please remember to book a place on the Commodore’s cruise scheulded for August 23rd.This event will take place at Ashbridges Bay Yacht Club. Last year was a blast with Calypso music and an open bar. This year we plan a pot luck dinner and Anne and myself will be delighted to host all participants at a complementary dessert table. See you there and don’t forget to bring your dancing shoes.

See you on the water!

Kind Regards
Denys Jones Commodore the National Yacht Club


Posted in Adventures, Cruising, Racing, Regattas | Leave a comment

Meet The NYC’s New Chair of Advertising and Marketing

ash_on_a_boatHi, my name is Ashley Curran and I’m excited to be the club’s new Chair of the Advertising and Marketing Committee.  I’ll be working closely with other committee members and Vice-Commodore Merilee Wright, to help promote NYC and keep our membership growing. I’ll be announcing the committee members in next month’s newsletter along with an update on the types of projects we will be working on over the next year. See you on the water!

Posted in Committee News | Leave a comment

Where Did all the Green Stuff Come From?

DCIM100GOPRO DCIM100GOPROWhile diving this week to do some further chain inspections and to retrieve a lost cell phone (only for the SIM card), I encountered large green masses of floating algae on the bottom of the basin.  And when it breaks off and floats to the surface, we see these large “islands”. About a month ago, on a previous dive, I took another photo (#4198) of one of the legs of the new dinghy ramp. Notice how little there is of the “green” stuff there was then.  And now, the second photo (#4201) shows how much larger these growths have become! That white object is a 1½” turnbuckle tube to provide some scale. And if one of these are touched, the just seem to explode and float away in bits and pieces. They did leave quite a green film on my gloves!

And we are starting to see the large grass-type vegetation starting to show up. When we were looking for a lost mooring, U1, the grass in the outer basin is much more advanced. I had to terminate the dive when my equipment, and me, became entangled in the grass. It is very thick and totally covers the entire floor of the basin.

Happy sailing!

Don Weston
Vice Commodore, Marine Operations

Posted in Environment | Leave a comment

NYC Support for the Easter Seal Regatta

The NYC work boat, Storm King, provides an excellent platform to families dealing with a disabled member. Following upon the success of last year, NYC was once again asked to participate in this event. Under the skilled driving of Malcolm Kirk, ably assisted by Lawrence Alexander, Storm King, and here are some of their comments.

Storm King at Easter SealsMalcolm: We had a very good day, as you say the weather co-operated and we managed to get our passengers around the inner harbour without incident, although from time to time we generated some spray. We finished the water borne part of the trip by going up the channel to the lighthouse before heading back to RCYC. We had two wheelchairs (an electric one operated by an engaging young girl) and a push chair. The children were accompanied by three adults.

Every body appeared to have a good time and they felt that Storm King was ideal for them although having a gang plank may have led to less man-handling of the chairs from the land onto the dock etc. (Editor: Note for next year’s event!)

Lawrence: I must admit that the day flew by and taking pictures rarely was front of mind. Wonderful people, both the guests and their families. Thanks for the opportunity to spend the day with and for such an appreciative group. We could all learn from those that not everything comes easily too.

My thanks for their active participation in this effort and for being such great ambassadors for The National.

Don Weston
Vice Commodore, Marine Operations

Also Participating and Sharing…

The Conte family participated with FireEscape in their 7th Easter Seals event hosted by the RCYC. As always, the event was first class and nothing but good comments from all the kids and parents.

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3

Posted in Regattas | Leave a comment

Bringing Trophies Home for the Club

A National Yacht Club boat wins the EYC regatta in Oswego.

Corsair won in every category sailing under the National Yacht Club burgee, gaining four trophies.

  1. Division 1 winner
  2. Overall Regatta winner
  3. Lowest corrected time
  4. Lowest point score

It was a really fun regatta and well organized. Next year the regatta is going to be held in Belleville. It would be great to have others join us there!

Scott Blair


Posted in Adventures, Regattas | Leave a comment

From the Moorings – It’s Official!!

Storm King – the NYC’s new work boat – was officially named on Friday.

The fire engine red decals were applied by the very careful and well supervised work crew. It was a nice day and we even managed some cleanup work on the Steel Island.

This is the second season for Storm King. We are very pleased at how well she has met our needs. The Club has also received many compliments for her work in two Easter Seals regattas and the Tall Ships Festival.

With Storm King’s help:

  • We are continuing our mooring work over the summer.
  • We will be inspecting chains in the basin, and under the D docks.
  • And no doubt diving for sunglasses, cell phones and other bits lost over the side.

Wave if you see her go by.

Craig Lahmer
Moorings Committee

IMG_3899 IMG_3903 IMG_3911 IMG_3916

Posted in Committee News | Leave a comment

How the New Website Will Work for Members

As many of you know we have been busily working on a brand new website for the club, which we hope to have live within the next couple of weeks. I thought I would give you a heads-up on what to expect as a member.

Members Only Section

Like on the current (soon to be old) site, you will have a member login. To increase privacy and security, the username and password will no longer be based on your name and member number. The username will be related to your name, but the password will be an automatically generated, random password.

How Do You Get This Info?

Once the site is live, you will be created as a ‘user’ receive an invitation email from the system with your username and automatically generated password. Unfortunately, you will not be able to change your password, so please be sure to record it somewhere handy. If you do lose it, you can click a ‘forgot’ or ‘reset password’ option that will cause it to be reset for you. You will then receive the new password by email.

Why Can’t I Change My Password?

You won’t be able to change your password or anything in your profile because the club manages our members’ information on a separate, unconnected system. It’s more important for the club’s system to be up-to-date, so if we allowed you to change anything on the website it would no longer match. Therefore, you must submit requests for changes to your information (i.e.: a new phone number for the roster) to the office.

Believe me, we explored all possibilities with a goal to make this easy and secure for members as well as the office, within the budget we had, and this was the best solution.

What Else Will Be in the Members’ Area?

We are excited about the new Volunteer section. Committee Chairs will be able to submit the jobs that need doing online. Members looking for volunteer opportunities will be able to see what is available online, with the ability to sort the list of jobs by committee and date needed, and contact the person responsible directly to volunteer their time. This could take a while to get fully populated, but the goal is to allow members to plan their volunteer hours in advance and avoid the last minute scramble.

More later!

Posted in Committee News | Leave a comment

Toronto Sewage Problem

Toronto has a sewage problem. It could affect your health, and you deserve to know about it.

Lake Ontario Waterkeeper first realized the seriousness of the sewage problem one year ago. The July 8 storm knocked out power at the Humber Wastewater Treatment Plant. The city dumped more than 1-billion litres of sewage into Lake Ontario in one day.

We started investigating and discovered that sewage bypasses happen year round – roughly three times a month. In 2013, the city dumped more than 4-billion litres of sewage into the lake. That’s shocking.

Our biggest concern right now is you. The City doesn’t notify the public when bypasses take place. This means people are unknowingly swimming, paddling, rowing, and boating in highly contaminated waters.

On the anniversary of the storm (that’s today), we filed a legal application with the Province of Ontario. In it, we argue that the city should issue alerts when it bypasses sewage into public waterways.

It’s a simple request. The City should issue a sewage bypass alert, just like it issues cold weather alerts and heat advisories. This informs residents when there is a risk to their health.

Learn more about what this means for you and how you can get involved.

Lake Ontario Waterkeeper

Posted in Around Lake Ontario | Leave a comment

The NYC Goes to Bermuda

Two years ago I purchased Spitfire, a 48-foot J Boat in Long Island, NY. Having competed 7 times in the Lake Ontario 300 in 3 different boats, I decided it was time to try something different – maybe the Chicago-Mackinac. My ‘bucket list’ included doing some of the famous ocean races and an ocean crossing. After some deliberation I decided that I would just get on with the list rather than risk that either time or life’s vagaries would give me an excuse not to go. So began an 18 month project to compete in the 630 nm 2014 Newport to Bermuda race.

SpitfireThe Preparation Phase:

Last season we brought together a crew of nine, not only to practice, but to help with the immense task of preparing for the race. Including me, we had 5 NYC members – Brian McKay, Kevin Brown, Rommel Santos and Roger Wood whose time and skills made the adventure possible. If I had fully understood the amount of work involved I might have had second thoughts but luckily I made the commitment first. We spent time with skippers of previous Bermuda races (thanks to the RCYC), we ensured that most of the crew had either First Aid or Safety at Sea Course certificates and, as well, I attended a weekend race seminar in Connecticut. At first look a boat that has qualified for the LO300 should be well prepared for an ocean race but, in reality there was still a large list of items to be completed both to meet race requirements but also for the common sense preparation to take a small boat offshore. We stored the boat indoors last winter – fortunate given the severity of the weather as we would have never been ready otherwise. All on the team gave of their time to work on the ‘check list’. This included the required safety items such as liferaft, drogue, storm sails, AIS, satellite e-mail/phone and shortwave radio as well as the appropriate boat preparation. The bottom was stripped and offshore paint applied, rigging, rudder and keel checked, new rudder bearing installed, sail-drive rebuilt, new batteries, high output alternator, LED lighting, deck hardware re-bed, water maker installed and a new holding tank (ugh). I purchased some new sails to ensure we had the right wardrobe for the expected conditions. Our sail maker – Greg Bratkiw of Evolution Sails joined us as one of the crew. The last, but not least part was the large amount of on-line form filling and paperwork required by the race committee.

The Journey to Newport

On April 28, Spitfire was launched at Outer Harbour and set off on May 6, mast on deck across a very cold Lake Ontario to Oswego, the Erie Canal and Hudson River and Manhattan to the Long Island marina where I first purchased her. The delivery crew included our past commodore Henry Piersig and Brian McKay. The only glitch apart from a couple of minor groundings was an alternator failure that required me driving 900km with a replacement. In Glen Cove, NY Spitfire was rigged and hauled for one last rudder and keel check. Spitfire also passed the race required rigourous safety inspection carried out by a naval architect. At the end of May we had a full crew practice a 130 nm delivery in bitterly cold conditions to Newport, RI. This gave us the opportunity to do the final safety training with storm sails, drogue and MOB drills. The boat was moored at New England Boatworks where Spitfire appeared to have shrunk now she was surrounded by 60 foot Swans and other multi-million dollar boats.


In mid-June we reconvened in Newport based in a house we rented for the week. Newport is a pretty, historic town with substantial displays of immense wealth and ‘old’ money, fabulous houses and boats. We competed in the 160th running of the New York Yacht Cub Annual Regatta. I won’t dwell on the minor collision or results except to say that a visit to the club’s impressive protest room was interesting but not a highlight. We then spent a hectic four days preparing for the big race including hiring a diver to clean the hull and stowing our race gear and sails. Our blazers, change of clothes and cruising gear were loaded into a container to meet us in Bermuda. A special thanks goes to my wife Diane and Jenny Wood for the herculean effort to prepare frozen meals and enough supplies for 9 crew for up to 6 days. We also received weather and Gulf Stream routing guidance.

Spitfire crew ready to raceOn June 20 we motored 10 nm out to the start on Narragansett Bay and the impressive sight of 165 competitors along with crowds of spectator boats and people watching from the shore. We were off! The first two days were great, we had the reaching conditions that Spitfire likes and we successfully found a warm eddy that pulled us towards the Gulf Stream. The waters quickly changed from 18 deg to 24 deg as we reached the stream. Even on the first night where we had expected cold it was relatively mild. We were pleased to see a 60 foot all-out racing Swan behind us. We continued to follow our original plan, heading southwards to cross the GS at its narrowest. Wave conditions were relatively benign by GS standards but even so I was forced from my V berth bed after becoming airborne a few times as we fell of the square waves. We were accompanied by porpoises and saw a whale. A happy crew – racing well and well fed.

According to the routing advice we had received, we expected to meet a South East cold eddy to carry us at 2-3 knots towards Bermuda for the next 60 nm. However, from satellite maps received after the race, this eddy had moved NE and instead we found an unhelpful SW current in a light Easterly breeze. We could go SW or just about stand still if we tacked into the current. We had no choice but to go with the wind and current we had. We were swept perhaps 30 nm further off the rhumb line than we had intended. We received satellite reports of our fall from 4th to 80th position overall on the Yellowbrick tracker. A less happy, but still well fed crew.

We pulled ourselves together and spent the rest of the race pushing hard. Conditions had turned very light but our Lake Ontario in August (minus flies) experience helped. The nights were particularly tough with no moon or horizon as we optimised our speed through waves, hunted for wind under clouds and chased every puff. Our experienced helmsmen (Kevin and Brian) really made a difference. All of the competitors carried AIS transmitters and we gradually saw ourselves pull back the lost miles and positions. We were also in a good position for the expected wind shift from SE to SW. A happy crew again although the frozen food was gone and we now chose which crew member would be first on the menu. A flying fish that with one bounce off the deck dropped straight into the galley at 3.00 am proved insufficient for nine but did cause a scare for the crew member making coffee at the time.

The conditions were tough on the larger boats as every few hours the pack would fall into a wind hole, the smaller boats would catch up and the race would effectively restart. Although we only had one small period out of sight of other competitors, as we closed on Bermuda we converged on a fleet of boats approaching the finish. The conditions had compressed the fleet so that a record number of racers crossed the finish line within a 2 hour period. We crossed the line in 113 hours, averaging over 6 knots over the distance sailed.

Spitfire crossing finish lineA happy but rather pungent Spitfire crew motored the 2 hours to beautiful Hamilton and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club dock. We were met by our support team with a large tray of dark & stormy beverages – the combination of tiredness, sea-legs and alcohol apparently creating the most dangerous time in any Newport to Bermuda race.

We had a great four days in beautiful Bermuda, relaxing, then competing in the RBYC Annual Regatta and attending the formal award ceremonies and especially receiving a 4th place award in our Newport Bermuda division (3rd in IRC) and a 3rd in the RBYC regatta.

The Next Leg

I had decided that it would be a pity to return all the way to Toronto when the Caribbean was only 840 nm away. So we put Spitfire in BBQ mode with bimini and dodger. The race crew flew home and Brian McKay, myself along with 2 others (including Geoff Brown, another NYC member) exited Bermuda and turned south quickly losing sight of the flotilla of boats returning to the US North East. It was a very different experience – motoring when there was no wind, showers, fishing, frozen meals but this time with the appropriate and carefully chosen wine pairing. The roast chicken for four we had ordered turned into 4 roast chickens when we checked our provisions so we found several new ways to serve chicken. After 2.5 days with no wind and only 1/2 tank of diesel left we discovered why there was no wind – we had bananas aboard in the form of a delicious banana rum cake. An offering was made to the wind gods and a short while later the up came an east wind which gradually strengthened to 20-25 knots on the beam and we had two days with 200 nm each all the way into Tortola and the BVI ‘s.

In total we had motored 600 nm to New York and sailed 1600 nm to the Caribbean. Of the 10 days of sailing all but one was on port tack – my right leg is now longer than my left and I shall not eat chicken for some time! Spitfire is now safely ashore for hurricane season and will reappear for the winter season in the islands.

The whole 18 month project was a massive undertaking. It was also a wonderful life experience and I am truly grateful to all of team for allowing me to achieve a life dream.

Jonathan Bamberger

Posted in Adventures, Regattas | Leave a comment

Inaugural Toronto Sail for Burn Survivors

Lead by the efforts of Gerry Ramos, the NYC was proud to host this first annual event. Volunteer skippers and their crew (including the Commodore) took survivors of burn injuries on a lovely cruise Saturday, June 21. We hope to have a full story for you next month, but couldn’t wait to share these thank you letters sent to Gerry.


Thank you Thank you Thank you

I personally want to say a huge thank you to you and the  National Yacht Club for making this event possible. Not only was it a great day personally for my girls and I, but professionally the reward of seeing our burn survivors sail and DANCE was a real gift and joy. What a wonderful accomplishment.

Many thanks!

Nisha, Occupational Therapist, RTBC


Words can’t express how special this event was to the burn survivors and health professionals.

You said your goal was “just to sail” but it was so much more…

You seemed to know that an event, driven by someone who has “been there”, a peer, gives a social opportunity for survivors to have fun, in a safe and welcoming place, and to allow them to be comfortable being with people who know they’ve been burned, but be in a safe place so their burns don’t dominate who they are.  For staff, what a unique opportunity for us to see survivors and their families outside of the clinical setting, having fun and getting on with their lives…truly wonderful!  And such a bonus for us to “take a break” and just enjoy the moments of the day to join in on the fun.

So Gerry, the journey isn’t one you or other survivors would have chosen and it can be a difficult time getting through, but you are definitely to be commended for your strength in your survival, for finding meaning in your survival, for your resiliency and for your vision in making this day a success…you are indeed a very special man!

To Denys Jones, the Commodore (and his family & crew whose yacht I was lucky to be on and had such a wonderful extended tour!), the National Yacht Club Board of Directors and club members and numerous volunteers, donors and sponsors….thank you so much for supporting Gerry and his vision, thank you for making us all feel so accepted and welcomed and thank you so much for giving your time and allowing us the privilege to sail with you/making the event such a success.

I swear I can’t stop smiling!  So to us all, keep sailing, enjoy the magical healing powers of the water, live life to the fullest and remember to have fun!

Thanks again!

Anne Hayward, Social Worker, Ross Tilley Burn Centre.


Stellar job Gerry and all the volunteers! We’re all very proud of you.

by, Faith Seekings

Posted in Adventures, Cruising, Social Events | Leave a comment

Sailpast 2014 – Too Hot?

Sailpast got off to a great start this year. Chris Murray, Sailpast’s morning OOD could hardly believe his eyes – sunshine and a light breeze. In recent years we’ve had high winds, rain, fog or a combination of all these. What a great start to the day.  Karen Ford, the prime organizer for Sailpast, had a good day planned.

The explanation for the proceedings for Sailpast was done outside of the clubhouse in the sunshine. The processional order of boats past the Commodore and Flag Officers was outlined and then Reverend Phillip Hobson from St. Martin in the Fields Anglican Church blessed the Fleet.  Reverend Hobson and Former Commodore Paul Bond provided a Memorial Service for NYC Members who have passed in the last year. Commodore Jones also wished all a good summer.

After the Fleet had been reviewed one of our Members had a complaint for our Manager – it was too hot out there! This was a brand new, never previously heard complaint. Usually it is ‘Too windy, too hard to control the boat’, ‘Got soaked in the rain’, ‘Too rough, my guests got seasick’, ‘Damned near froze’, etc. I assured the Manager that this was not a major problem.

The 65th Toronto Seascouts have added a new dimension to our Club. Their 30 foot vessels (rowing and sailing) took part in our Fleet Review.

The Reception Line, where members and guests have the opportunity to meet the Commodore and Flag Officers was another highlight.

A wonderful dinner was served to those who planned ahead.

A great time was had by ALL!

Thanks to O. Bertin and E. Jacob for their photos.

By William Cook

Posted in Social Events, Toronto History | Leave a comment

Message from the Commodore, June 2014

sailpast saluteThis year’s Sailpast was truly wonderful. Of course we could have had a little more wind however the sun was shining there were many smiling faces and a few unusual approaches to the review vessel. Thank you to Past Commodore Mullins who kept us company on the review vessel. You may not be aware that Janet on Grand National moved the line twice in order to provide a good wind angle. She is one of our experienced race officials and is used to setting a start line. Unfortunately the wind just kept moving around. Thank you Janet for being such a good sport. I did promise her a glass of wine for all her efforts and she collected on that promise. There was a rather difficult moment when we though the police boat was going to give Grand National a parking ticket but that didn’t happen.

Many of you went to extraordinary efforts to acknowledge the review vessel and, as you know, it is the duty of the Commodore to salute each vessel as she passes through the review area. Each vessel in turn either dips the ensign or luffs the jib. With the very light wind it was quite a challenge to luff the jib. One of our traditional sailors who always makes an effort to meet the challenge had a foredeck person “shaking”  the jib back and forth to reflect a true luffing of the foresail. The award for the best luffer goes to George Pettyan of Gaoh and to that person on your foredeck who did a great job.

Sail Past GeorgeOther members who will remain nameless introduced a new tradition; that is to leave the fenders hanging over the side of their boats during Sailpast. This of course is to avoid collisions during the close maneuvers. We thought this to be a good idea since some vessels do get a little close to the review vessel.

The reception and evening event continued to be a delightful affair. Thanks to our VC Fleet for hosting Sailpast and to the Fleet Captain-Cruise for making sure the day ran smoothly. Thanks also go out to our dining room staff and General Manager Tal for creating an environment that achieved success.
The following photo shows the crew of Carpe Ventus receiving the members of National Yacht Club. We wish you a wonderful sailing season.

sailpast carpeYesterday we participated in the new event organized by Gerry Ramos, Toronto Sail or Hope for Burn Survivors. This was an amazing success. Survivors, along with care givers, family members and staff from Sunnybrook Ross Tilley Burn Center sailed and powered along the pristine waters of Humber Bay. Once again the sun was shinning and the smiles of all participants proved that Gerry had a vision of achieving this synergy. Congratulations Gerry. We take what we have for granted sometimes and it’s only when you look at life through the experience of someone who has suffered and survived that you truly appreciate what we have.

Kind Regards
Denys Jones Commodore
The National Yacht Club

Posted in Social Events, Toronto History | Leave a comment

Being a New Crew Member

I joined the NYC in 2004 as a crew member and took the ‘Intro to Keelboat Sailing’ class. I was supposed to do it with a friend but she bailed so I really did it on my own. In class they explained all about the crew bank and they had arranged for friendly skippers to come in and speak to us. The skippers invited us out for casual Monday night racing (the program now on Thursdays) to get our feet wet. No matter how easy and welcoming they made it seem, it took a lot of courage to go that first night – some time in July for me – and use the crew bank.

Luckily a boat that really likes teaching grabbed me before my pencil hit the sign-up sheet and I ended up racing and cruising with them for three years and making some new friends. I didn’t know my winch from my ticklers but someone taught and encouraged me.

NYCT_Image2Ten Years Later…

After ten years, several boats and positions, I’ve learned so much. I can’t believe the nautical language that comes out of my mouth now or that last summer I skippered a boat to Youngstown and back (in a storm, while remaining completely calm) without the owner! I’ve also built many solid, lifelong friendships with whom I’ve had many adventures with.

Bringing in New People

When I talk about the NYC to friends, strangers or prospective members I’m very passionate about how easy we make it to get involved in sailing. It’s really difficult to convince them they can do it too. They worry about not knowing enough, thinking that they won’t get picked because they don’t look strong or young enough. They often still feel so after taking the intro class. I explained there is a job for everyone and with skippers who like to teach newbies and that you do your best learning in practice.

My Message to Skippers

There are a lot of new people just finishing this year’s intro class wandering around looking sheepish on race nights who could use a welcoming smile and some encouragement. Don’t take it for granted how friendly everyone is and reach out to them! The new online crew bank should definitely help! Even if you don’t really need someone but have the space, invite someone without a ride to come and watch from the rail. Give novices one thing to do and explain it thoroughly, pay extra attention and coach with patience. These positive early experiences are important to retaining crew members.

My Message to New Crew

I recommend trying a Tuesday, but just come out on whichever night you can. Thursday night tends have the fewest boats so you are less likely to get a ride. Wednesday night is the most competitive and boats fly spinnaker so it may be a tad overwhelming for your first time but you are completely welcome. Also, it’s polite to bring drinks or snacks for the boat, and if you are carrying a case of beer (cans please) that can only increase your chances of getting a ride.

You will never get picked if you don’t even try, so give yourself a chance.

Why does everyone ask me when we’re going to buy a boat?

The ‘we’ is me and the hubby and we met at the club. I get this question all the time now, like it’s an assumed evolution of learning to sail. I don’t see why I would buy a boat, this Crew deal is pretty sweet.

Happy 10th Anniversary to me and my darling NYC!

by Faith Seekings

Posted in Adventures, Membership, Racing | Leave a comment

NYC Marketing and Communications team needs you!

We all know and love the National Yacht Club, our summer escape and sailing paradise! But did you know that we’d like even more people to know about us? There are many ways to communicate to potential members and partners now with the advent of social media, advanced websites and unique marketing. Keeping NYC top of mind as the best destination club in Toronto needs some keen volunteers to ensure we put our best foot forward and attract continuous interest.

To that end, I am looking for people to lead the following areas in my portfolio:

  • Marketing & Advertising
  • Website Management
  • Social Media Evangelist & Moderator

These are great creative ways in which to make an impact at NYC and have fun getting your club hours.  I and the NYC could really use your help, so please volunteer today!!

Please contact Merilee Wright at mwright@thenyc.com to get started.

Merilee Wright
Vice Commodore
Marketing & Communications

Posted in Committee News, Volunteering | Leave a comment

Online Crew Bank News

The online crew bank is a system generated matching system meant to reduce administration for skippers. Skippers no longer have to send multiple emails inquiring if their regular crew is confirmed and how many crew they need or don’t need. If boats are short of crew the system will fill their open spot(s) for them matching their needs!

For crew the online crew bank helps them to get onto a boat that matches their sailing levels, skill set and willingness to learn.

Our online crew bank updates will continue to support awareness of our new system and deliver important information, updates and/or changes. We ask for your patience and encourage all skippers and crew to sign up to use our new tool.

Here are a few reminders and things you need to know:

Matching and confirmation e-mails are sent from a noreply-crewbank@thenyc.com email address. Members – please make sure this e-mail address is unblocked so it doesn’t go into your junk folder.

As the date to the race or cruise approaches the system’s objective becomes to fill any open spots on boats and assign all crew – as long as boats have space. It focuses less on matching the preferences.

Therefore if crew have signed up well in advance to be matched to a boat and it’s a few days before the race or cruise and you haven’t been matched, this could be because crew and boat preferences were not a perfectly aligned. The “need to match” will kick in and a match will occur within 24 hours of the race or cruise.

Please go to Boat Assignment to verify if your match has been confirmed.

By the way … 

We are working diligently to send match confirmation emails once both the boat and crew have agreed to their matches. However at this time you must go to “Boat Assignment” to see if your match has been confirmed. This is required by both parties (boat and crew). A note to the Crew. Don’t assume you are confirmed just because you have accepted; the boat may no longer have space for you. The boat must also confirm your spot and vice versa.

We will let you know when the confirmation email is available.

Thanks for your patience!

Posted in Committee News, Racing | Leave a comment

Yes, you CAN fly spinnaker on Tuesday nights!

Photo by Don Williams

I thought I’d take a minute to clear up a misconception that I keep hearing when I tell people I’m racing my CS 33 in the Spinnaker division on Tuesday nights. It seems that despite the fact that Stephen Jones opened up the option a year or so ago, no one I talk to is aware of it! It would appear that despite all NOR’s and SI’s created, published and posted, many racers have not noticed the availability to register in Spinnaker for Tuesdays (or dare I say maybe haven’t read the documents through???)

In speaking with Stephen, he created this division on Tuesdays to try to encourage more racers to fly spinnaker – for me and my crew it’s perfect as we are just starting to fly spin, but don’t yet have the confidence to battle it out with the seasoned spin fliers on Wednesday nights. I view it as a great way to learn so that we can ‘graduate’ to the serious spin division on Wednesdays at some point in the future.

I also have an ulterior motive for writing this article…..so far we are the only boat registered in the division!!! Now, while this assures us a First Place it’s not really how we want to win. So I’m reaching out to those racers who’d like to fly spin but not on a Wednesday to sign up and join us – it’s way more fun that way!

Merilee Wright
Water Dragon
CS 33

Posted in Racing | Leave a comment

NYC Website Overhaul

Approximately six years ago we undertook an effort to update our website. We were able to create an attractive and well received website that has served us well since then.  However, as we all know, technology does not stand still.

So much has changed since then – hover menus, responsive design, seamless links, register and pay online, blogs, social media….the list is endless and fairly daunting!!

NYC_Select_SmIn order to ‘get with the times’, the board has undertaken to have the NYC website completely overhauled by an external, professional provider.  We generated a scope of work, secured three bids and selected a vendor. Since then, we have engaged the Vice Commodores to ensure that their portfolios are properly represented in presentation, click-flow and content.

The work is progressing, and as I am sure you can understand, it is a multiple-months project. We are hoping to have the beta version complete by the end of June. We will then focus on how and when to migrate to the new site in such as way as to not disrupt ongoing club operations.

If you have comments or suggestions to contribute to this initiative, please send them vial email to mwright@thenyc.com. If you feel that we have any content missing, I would ask that you also please provide your suggested content, written as you would recommend it be shown on the site, to me via email. You may not be aware, but all content we currently show has been contributed either by our office team or volunteers.  The current content as you now see it on the site will be migrated to the new site, so improvement input is always appreciated.

Stay tuned!

Merilee Wright
Vice Commodore
Marketing & Communications

Posted in Committee News | 2 Responses