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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

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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

Message from the Commodore, May 2014

Commodore Denys JonesWhat a wonderful feeling, helming your boat at the perfect angle of heel, listening to the rush of water as you approach the up-wind mark, ducking the other boat on starboard tack and within seconds you have rounded and carry excellent speed through the hoisting of the spinnaker into the next leg of the course.  Spring Mid-Week racing at the NYC is back.

Thanks to the volunteers who run our race committees; without you we would not have all this fun.

Photo by Victoria Piersig

Photo by Victoria Piersig

Membership Demographics

Let’s now transition to some club business. Recently some members have expressed concern over the current membership statistics and we believe this is a normal fluctuation, defined to a degree by demographics. The addition of new members has recently improved and we feel it is very important to continue to encourage new membership.

Many yacht clubs in the area have seen a decline in the sport of sailing. We want National to be at the leading edge of developing new participants in the sport.

Expanding the Education Program

With this in mind we have decided to add to the NYC sailing educational program. This summer we will offer our members additional adult sailing programs taught by the National 1D Sailing Academy. This organization is working with the Ontario Sailing Association to offer mobile sailing school options. Their goals align perfectly with our interests in continuing to grow the NYC and have a vibrant yacht club.

Talking about sailing education brings to mind a very important issue. We currently do have some openings in our junior white sail and racing programs. Please let your friends and family know about our kids and youth sailing and racing school. My own daughter Gabrielle participated in this program and has become a very competent sailor. Some of my friends say that it’s good that I have a least one competent sailor on my boat.

What are your cruising plans for the season?

Have you established your cruise destinations?  I understand there is a possible wine tasting and theatre cruise in the planning stage. That should be a load of fun. Count me in! We will mark our calendar as I am sure our entire family would love to participate. You may also have read about the NYC’s new Regatta “Drain the Basin”. This will be an opportunity for all to participate in either a fun cruise race or a regular day of course racing. Please stay posted for future updates on this event  and other cruises.

We also have plans for another great Commodore’s Cruise to Ashbridges Bay. Last year was a blast with special appetizers and cocktail hour, Calypso music followed by a complementary dessert table. Please mark your calendar and we look forward to even more participants this year.

Sail Past on May 31st

Our next important event is our annual Sail Past on May 31st. Let’s hope we have a sunny day with a 10 knot breeze.  Hope to see you all at the Skippers meeting at 1300 hours (1:00 pm). The Blessing of the Fleet will follow and we’ll see you on the water for the Review followed by the reception.

Kind Regards
Denys Jones
Commodore National Yacht Clu,b

Posted in Club Operations, Education, Membership | Leave a comment

Online Crew Bank is Here!

We’re pleased our new online crew bank system is now live!

NYC’s online crew bank matches crew with boats based on pre-identified preferences. The organizing committee is excited to offer this to our club. It is something we believe will alleviate or at least minimize the struggle boats and crew have finding each other.

It’s available to NYC members only and is accessed once you log in here. You’ll see a “crew bank” link on the left hand side of the screen.

For the purpose of simplicity, the system recognizes skippers who either race or cruise as “boats”; everyone else is considered “crew”.

There are Club Events and Member Events

Club events are events each boat will participate in; they can include weeknight racing, weeknight cruising or regattas.

Member events are something a boat is organizing outside of a club event; they can include pot-luck dinner on a boat one Saturday evening before an evening sail, going out to watch the fireworks, etc.

What you need to do to get set up on the system?


Simply go to the Boat tab and completed each of the sections of the 5 links.
Some quick reminders:

  • Your boat name is pre-populated in the “boat details” tab; you just need to input the boat length and your boat type (sail or power).
  • In addition to yourself, you can choose someone to act as your boat admin to manage the system on your behalf.
  • You must identify the minimum, preferred and maximum number of crew needed excluding the regular crew who have signed up.  Please note: the total number you state includes the skipper
  • If you want to create a member event (boat repairs, sail to Niagara) complete the information under the link called “My events”.  You can make the event available to your regular crew or you can open it up to the entire club by making it a “club event”.

Go in and complete the links under the Crew tab.
Some quick reminders:

  • Select whether you want to cruise or race or both.
  • Complete the details, including your sailing skill level, level of seriousness, etc.
  • The “Request a sail” tab lists all the club events for the entire season.  You can select the dates for a boat you regularly sail on (either cruise or race) or you can simply choose sailing dates and the system will match you with a boat.

This is an email based matching system that requires a response

Crew and boats must accept or decline their match. Matches that are declined or unanswered will automatically go back into the system to be re-matched.

Please ensure your email address is up-to-date with the club roster.

Important note: The system does not allocate crew and boats on the day of the event.  If it is event day and boats are scrambling at the last minute to find crew or vice versa, you will need to go down to the dock and speak to the dock coordinator – this club feature is still in place.

On-the-Dock Coordination Help Needed

We need volunteers for on-the-dock coordination (one for each crew bank). This is to assist with getting the right crew onto the right boats and allocating “walk-ins” that don’t have spots assigned within the new automated crew bank system.

For more information, come to our next training session at 7 pm on Wednesday May 7, 2014 in the chartroom.

Have a wonderful sailing season!
Online Crew Bank Committee

Posted in Club Operations, Committee News, Cruising, Racing | Leave a comment

Images of a Successful Launch

Photos by Don Williams.

Posted in Committee News | Leave a comment

Lifting Point Labels for Your Mast

Some many people do not know where the centre of gravity is on their mast and where it is safe to lift from. It’s much easier to find points lifting in the Spring, and put these stickers on then to take the guessing out of the equation for unstepping in the Fall.

Al Hansen has ordered 100 of them to test out and Roland van Hazel or Al will be handing them out in the yard. He has ordered some that are 1” in diameter (big enough to find if you know it is there, but not small enough not to deface the mast). It may be a little late for the first few boats.

Please look to Don Weston, Al or Roland for the labels or to ask questions.

Faith Seekings

Posted in Maintenance, Safety | Leave a comment

Message from the Commodore, April 2014

Commodore Denys JonesDear fellow members,

Thanks so much to the Launch and Haul-out Committee. While we all work hard on Launch day, your efforts in particular deserve recognition. Tim and Trevor along with your team are true examples of our NYC volunteer program. What a day – we achieved it all in record time, all done safely. Even the weather cooperated. Well done!

A Dock from the balcony.

A-Dock from the balcony. Photo by Don Williams

Our boats are finally in the water!

After a long cold winter, you must all be very relieved. Vessels will soon be totally rigged and our NYC basin will once again provide one of the prettiest views on the Toronto water front. Keep in mind that you are all located on safe docks and moorings. A special note of appreciation to the Moorings Committee and the Dock Committee who work behind the scenes, frequently on cold windy days while many of you are sitting in front of a warm fireplace. So next time you see a member of one of these committee’s or Don Weston, VC Marine Operations, please make sure to thank them for the work they do.

One of the amazing factors that always come to light during Launch and Haul-out is the camaraderie of our members. While we may not see each other for 3 to 4 months during the winter, this wonderful quality just seems to carry on, it’s almost like continuing a conversation.

One of The NYC’s important member events of the season is our Annual Sail Past. As soon as we are all spick-and-span we will be ready for the blessing of the fleet and our annual Sail Past, where I have the privilege of saluting our fleet. Please mark your calendar for Saturday the 31st of May, when we hope for a sunny day with gentle winds.

4961_001The Ontario Sailing Red Carpet fundraising Gala

This great event was held at the Oakville Club on Saturday April 12th. We had a fine representation from our Yacht Club.

Thanks very much to Sandy Steffen, Lynne Beal, Wayne Mullins, Ann Mitchell, Mark Bird and Ash Das for representing the National Yacht Club; it was a pleasure to visit with you all and share stories. This Gala is an excellent opportunity for our club to mingle with our many friends in the sailing community. Thanks also to Lynne for the many donations you provided for the fundraising auction. Over the years you and Doug have made us at The NYC proud of your volunteer efforts on protest committees and international judging. We understand this summer you will be judging events in Europe, however we hope you will have time to sail with us all at The NYC.

MPAC Evaluation

We finally have some news regarding our municipal tax situation. MPAC, the organization charged with establishing tax rates for all Ontario properties had determined that our yacht club along with others on the waterfront should pay taxes on the best usage principle. This means that we would have to pay the same rate as the huge developments on the Toronto water front. We felt this was outrageous and of course appealed their findings. The NYC along with other yacht clubs in the community obtained legal advice to help solve the issue. Finally, we see light at the end of this very long tunnel. We have recently provided information to our lawyers that we believe will contribute to a much fairer method of property tax evaluation for our facility. We’ll let you know as soon as we here the final report from our lawyers. My hope is that this will be resolved within the next couple of months.

Recent Updates on the proposed changes to Billy Bishop Airport

Many of you, I am sure, have heard of the recent events regarding the requested changes to Billy Bishop Airport. Please review the following link, which will provide you with an overview on the most recent report from the city executive committee and the results of a recent council meeting: City of Toronto Agenda Item 2014.EX40.1 – Request to Amend the Tripartite Agreement for Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport

Another detailed response was sent to us from City Councillor Pam McConnell – download this document to read more. Your board of directors and I will continue to represent the best interests of The NYC on this Airport issue. At time it seems like we are fighting an uphill battle, but we are getting some results.

See you on the water, and looking forward to our Sail past.

Kind Regards
Denys Jones
Commodore the National Yacht Club.

Posted in Club Operations, Fundraising, Sailing News, Social Events | Leave a comment

Summer racing at the NYC

Club racing at National is only a few weeks away so its time to let everyone know what the plans are and changes that we have made. We had a great townhall meeting with lots if suggestions. While not all ideas were possible to implement this summer, we have taken all your thoughts into consideration.

The schedule is below and full details are in the NOR on the website. Please register ASAP!!

Important Dates

  • Spring Round the Island: May 19
  • Fall Round the Island: September 27

Weeknight Racing

  • Practice starts May 6 and spring season starts May 13
  • Tuesday racing: White sail and spin and Shark racing
  • Wednesday racing: Spinnaker racing
  • Thursday racing: Beginners, Women’s, J22’s and 2.4s

As always, in order to make racing work at NYC, we need volunteers to help out. Please look at the list of volunteer positions that are being sought on the volunteer board or online in the members section and sign up!

Stephen Jones
Fleet Captain, Racing
Chair, Race Committee National Yacht Club

Posted in Committee News, Racing | Leave a comment

At Last Our Love Has Come Along…

Boats in the water

Photo by Don Williams

After the long winter, the boats are in the water! We’ll soon welcome Summer 2014 and its time to start planning. We have an amazing summer line-up for all members of the NYC.

We have our great club midweek and weekend racing; our annual excellent regattas including the Redpath TAHR, The National Event and the AHMEN series. We are hosting 2 world championships (Sharks and 2.4m) and we will begin to host Match Racing events. Finally, we are bringing back our annual regatta for all members of the club, racers and cruisers alike. This is a traditional fun and family regatta called Drain the Basin (July 19)!

We already have a great cruising schedule including Sailpast (May 31), Sips on Slips (June 7), Cruise to the Oakville Yacht Club (Aug 2-4), Commodore’s Cruise to Ashbridge’s Bay Yacht Club (Aug 23-24) and the Labour Day Cruise to Royal Hamilton Yacht Club (Aug 30 – Sep 1). Also, the (Drain the Basin – July 19) annual regatta is for cruisers too, both sail and power!

We are also bringing back for the second year in a row the National Yacht Club POKER RUN on August 9.

Please check out the new ON LINE CREW BANK system that was developed especially for the club. It is an amazing tool that makes organizing crew easy as a one, two click! You can find it in the member’s only section after you log in.

We have a lot going on at the club and we need lots of help from the members. Please take a look at the volunteering lists (also in the member’s only section) to sign-up so that we can make the summer fun, successful and continue making the National Yacht Club the best boating club on the lake!

See you on the water!
Sandy Steffen
Vice Commodore, Fleet

Posted in Committee News, Cruising, Racing, Regattas | Leave a comment

Let’s have Another Safe Summer at NYC

As we start the sailing season, it’s a good time to think about safety at the club.

Safety on the Docks

Safety on the docks is a function of many measures. If someone falls in the water, boarding ladders are located between each pair of slips. Safety stations with life rings and retrieval hooks are located at regular intervals. Do you know the location of the one closest to your slip?

The docks have to be kept clear to allow safe access for everyone:

  • Boats should be moored so that bow pulpits do not extend over the docks.
  • Mooring lines, water hoses and power cables must be arranged so that they do not encroach on the free movement of people and carts on the docks.
  • Personal property should never be stored on the docks.
  • Remember, not everyone is as nimble as you are, especially when driving a cart or lugging a box of supplies to the boat.

A few extra cautions:

  • Under wet conditions, the deck planks that were replaced in the last few years are much more slippery than the older, weathered boards. Be careful when it rains and remind your guests too.
  • During the next few weeks there will ofter be times when virtually nobody is on the docks. If you have to go to your boat, use the buddy system. If that’s not possible, let someone at the office or the OOD desk know you are out there and check-in when you return. You might consider wearing a life jacket too.

The docks are maintained and repaired by our volunteer dock committee headed by Don Williams. They work many hours all season but they need your help to identify unsafe conditions or areas that need repair. Don can be reached at donwilliams@lifescape.ca

Safety in the Air

Going to the top of a mast is often a spur of the moment activity and safety can be easily overlooked. Sailors should remember that what goes up can come down quickly – without warning. Always have someone tail the halyard at the winch, and always have another set of hands on a second halyard on a second winch.

Some climb up the white crane but a safety harness will ensure that a slip is not a fall:

  • As you go up, loop your harness cable over a horizontal bar and then on to the hoist cable.
  • As you rise, stop to reset the safety cable and then climb again. This is only a slight inconvenience but it can be a life saver.
  • You can go up on a bosun’s chair using the white crane too.
  • A safety harness hooked directly to the crane cable will ensure that you can’t fall out of the chair.

Eye Care

We had a situation this spring of a sailor painting the bottom of his boat without safety glasses. A drop of VC-17 flipped into his eye and caused damage to his cornea. Fortunately, after his call for help, other members led him to the Eyeball Washout Station in the laundry room and damage was minimized. He went to the hospital for further treatment and is fully recovered, but this accident could have been averted with the use of safety glasses. Do you have a safety glasses on your boat?

The Eyeball Washout Station is an attachment to the faucets on the sink beside the laundry machines. To use it, flip the red covers off the nozzles, pull and hold the button between the nozzles and turn on the water slowly. There is another was Eyeball Washout Station inside the kitchen.

Ed Konzelman
Safety Committee Chairman

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Calling all NYC Racers and Cruisers – It’s time to Drain the Basin!

Drain the Basin RegattaDrain the Basin July 19, 2014

The National Yacht Club has been hosting regattas since 1904. Over the years, we have continued to support world-class events, open regattas, poker runs and cruising events. This summer, we are rejuvenating The National Yacht Club Annual Regatta to create an inclusive event for The NYC racers, cruisers and powerboaters in one big event! The idea is that every boat in the club will get off the dock and drain the basin. We have invited our neighbours in the area too to join in the festivities!

The Drain the Basin Regatta will have both casual and competitive races, awards, a live band, BBQ and party – a little something for everyone. In essence, a community block party at The National Yacht Club.

Regatta by definition is about bringing boats together, so on July 19th let’s drain the basin and get every boat off the dock to enjoy friendly on-the-water competition with friends and family, then back to The National for a party!

Sandy Steffen, Vice Commodore Fleet
and Lisa Rickett

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Pelicans and Frigate Birds: How We Sailed to Cuba in 18 Days – Part II

Part 2: Arrival in Cuba

Continued from Part I

Everybody, but everybody, asks me about sailing to Cuba, and so they should. Cuba is a fascinating place, just 90 miles across the Florida Straits from Key West but a million miles away in atmosphere and culture.

Nothing to the trip, I tell fellow sailors with a hefty dose of bravado. For us, crossing to Havana was a pleasant overnight sail with a steady wind and two-foot waves, much like sailing across Lake Ontario with the heat turned up. I’m joking, of course, but not much.

havana seafrontThere were none of the dangers or political headaches that everybody insisted on warning us about. There were no patrol boats, neither Cuban nor American, no menacing helicopters, no paperwork and no bureaucracy. We didn’t even tell the Americans that we were leaving their country. And the only machine guns we saw on the entire trip were on the Coast Guard boats in downtown Miami.

We did see a jellyfish or two, dozens of pelicans busy commuting to and fro and gorgeous frigate birds soaring far above, the height of elegance with nary a flap of their four-foot wings. But unlike the latest Kon Tiki movie, there were no sharks at our stern with wide open mouths waiting for us to fall overboard.

As for special preparations? We picked up a Cuban courtesy flag and a set of Cuban nautical charts before we left Canada. We took our passports, boat ownership papers, two GPS handhelds and a pair of good binoculars. That’s all we needed or wanted. Visas? Insurance? Pesos? Nah. Who needs them? We didn’t.

Cuban currency, you ask in complete innocence? I will NOT delve into the mysteries of Cuban currency. Life’s too short. You can find your own currency trader behind every tree and every bush in Cuba.

As for retail? It’s so thoroughly wonderful to find a place in this world where you aren’t bombarded with advertising 24 hours a day. Just make sure you take everything you need with you, and that includes toothpaste and toilet paper. I do not jest.

The voyage across the Straits of Florida took a grand total of 21 hours, dock to dock, an average of 5.5 knots. We left Key West at 2 pm to make sure we arrived in daylight, set the compass for 190 degrees and headed straight across. Navigation was easy. We headed for handy clouds while the sun shone and, when it got dark, we looked for the lights of Havana 90 miles away.

It was a gorgeous trip – just us and the wind and the waves. Sailing is so much more exciting after dark. The black waves rushed past, inches below the gunwale, leaving a trail of white spray behind. The only sounds were the flapping of the sails and the mew of the gulls. The tropical night winds kept us warm and the compass light gave an eerie glow beside the wheel.

The wind was a strenuous 15 to 20 knots on a close reach until the early hours, but it was constant and easy to handle. The only excitement came at 4:30 in the morning when a sudden gust came howling through and blew my lovely red baseball hat into the water. It’s still there somewhere, 45 miles north of Havana in 1,200 feet of water. As for the wind, we raised all hands, dowsed the genoa and held on tight. It was very exciting at the time but not at all bad in retrospect.

Boca Chita Biscayne BayI have never liked all-nighters, and I didn’t like this one. I’ll admit that I almost gave up sailing forever at five in the morning when I was cold and wet and miserable and desperate for sleep. I managed to finish the 3 to 6 am shift, slept until eight, then crawled out of the bunk to a gorgeous dawn with the fortress of Havana on the horizon. The sight of that huge castle, the esplanade and the classical Spanish architecture made it all worthwhile.

Relations between the United States and Cuba have relaxed a lot since Barrack Obama and Raoul Castro took over and most people we met – on both sides of the Straits  saw the Cold War as a silly vestige of the past. The reality is that Cuban marinas are full of American boats, and nobody seems to mind. After all, the Cubans want tourism and they aren’t going to squeal if an American boat turns up looking for a place to dock. Certainly, we found the Cubans charming, friendly and welcoming. They were glad to see us, wherever we might be from.

Plenty of Americans sail across to Cuba, but they are a wary group of people who have learned to take basic precautions when dealing with their government. But Americans also like to talk and there was no shortage of people who would pull us aside and give us advice on crossing the Straits. The trick, they invariably said, was to pull out their fishing rods as they leave Key West and look busy as they motor up and down, edging closer and closer to the 12-mile limit. Once they cross the line, they immediately turn south and head straight for Cuba. The U.S. Coast Guard can do nothing to stop them in international waters, they say and hope. On the way home, American boats deke west towards Mexico or east to the Bahamas and look innocent if a U.S. patrol boat happens to pull them over and ask them for their last port of call.

Our first contact with the Cuban government was an imperative VHF command as we cruised down the coast west of Havana. “Yacht Solera! Yacht Solera, flying the Canadian flag! Report immediately!” That’s us they were talking to so, on the theory that discretion is the better part of valour, we turned into the nearest port, Marina Hemingway, nine nautical miles west of Havana, and found a welcoming committee of uniformed officials waiting for us on the dock.

They certainly looked forbidding, but we have to admit they were a very pleasant and friendly bunch. About 10 officials clambered on board our boat, two or three at a time. There was a medical doctor who checked us for infectious diseases, a veterinarian looking for sausages and fruit, several border officials and a contented sniffer dog who appreciated a cuddle or three.

They studied my passport very carefully and interviewed me at length even though they couldn’t speak English and I couldn’t speak Spanish. They studiously confiscated all our electronic equipment, our VHF radios, our GPS handhelds and our cellphones, wrote down the numbers and sealed them in a brown paper envelope. Then they politely gave the envelope back to us. Why did they confiscate our electronics and promptly give them back, we asked in surprise? It turns out that Cuba, like every Communist country in the world, has a horde of under-employed bureaucrats who have nothing better to do than compile thick books of picky regulations that mere foot soldiers must follow religiously. But every regulation has a flaw. This one requires confiscation but doesn’t say what to do with the electronics once they are sealed in an envelope. So the foot-soldiers give them back. Dunno. Makes sense to me.

Then our friendly border inspectors searched the entire boat from bilge to ceiling, but studiously ignored the spare cell phone, VHF and GPS that I had forgotten on the shelf in the forward cabin! Out of sight, out of mind, I guess. Paperwork? All we carried were our passports, the ownership of the boat and some Canadian currency. That’s all they needed. No visas, no insurance, no nothing.

As for the bribes that everybody asks about, these guys were as clean as a whistle. They even declined the can of Coke and a glass of water that we offered to make their job more pleasant on a hot day.

But we did ask them about that mysterious radio broadcast that so peremptorily ordered us to report. It turns out that the Cuban authorities have an observation platform on the roof of one of the tall hotels west of Havana with a telescope big enough to read the name of the boat from a mile away! Low tech, Cuban-style does work after all.

by Oliver Bertin

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Hall of Fame Induction: George Cuthbertson and Bruce Kirby

Sail Canada is pleased to announce the induction of George Cuthbertson and Bruce Kirby into the Canadian Sailing Hall of Fame.

Canadian Sailing Hall of Fame

The Board of Directors of Sail Canada has determined to establish a Canadian Sailing Hall of Fame to recognize illustrious individuals who have made notable contributions to sailing in Canada and worldwide.  To honour these two great designers in 2014, Sail Canada is using the opportunity presented by the inauguration of the “New Age of Sail” exhibit by the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston. Sail Canada and the Marine Museum have agreed to collaborate in the development of the Hall of Fame, initially in a virtual format, with a physical display to follow in due course.

413George Cuthbertson

George Cuthbertson started his long yacht design career right out of university, and by the time of the founding of C&C Yachts in 1969 had already established himself and the design firm of Cuthbertson and Cassian as one of the handful of leading yacht design firms in the world. With Inishfree, Red Jacket, Inferno, the Redline 41, Manitou,and the C&C 27, 35, 39, 43, 50, and 61, George established a design legacy that would be the envy of any sailor or yacht designer in the world. The successful racing record of C&C designs on International racing circuits established the credibility and panache that led to the successful building of high quality production boats for everyday sailors, and attracted thousands of families to sailing as a recreational pursuit. However, George would cap that remarkable design career by becoming the President of C&C Yachts at a time when it became the most recognized and successful production and custom boat builder in North America and the world. Leaving C&C in 1981 after a corporate take-over, George returned to his first love design by re-establishing himself as an independent yacht designer. George’s contribution to Canadian yacht design and Canadian boat-building deserves to be recognized. Without George Cuthbertson there would still have been a boat-building industry in Canada, but George Cuthbertson made it a truly Canadian industry by building Canadian designs.

Bruce Kirby

Although Bruce Kirby is globally recognized as the designer of the 13′-10″ Laser Olympic sailing dinghy, of which over 215,000 have now been built, Bruce’s design career embraces  seven renowned International 14′ Dinghy designs and a multitude of successful one-design classes, such as the Sonar, Kirby 25 and Ideal 18, America’s Cup Twelve Meters; production racer/cruisers like the San Juan 24 and 30;off-shore racing boats such as the Admiral’s Cup 40′ Runaway; a number of innovative cruising designs; and a variety  of plywood Sharpie designs for home construction. His sailing career is no less impressive, involving International Fourteen championships and International Team Racing, three Olympic campaigns, and off shore and Admiral’s Cup racing in his boats and others. On top of that Bruce was a pioneering sailing journalist, editor of One-Design and Off-Shore Yachtsman, which lives still as Sailing World magazine. Bruce is already a member of the US National Sailing Hall of Fame, the International Yacht Racing Hall of Fame,  the Canadian International Fourteen Foot Dinghy Hall of Fame, and the City of Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame. It is long past due that Bruce be recognized in his native Canada for all his contributions to Canadian and International sailing.

‘New Age of Sail’ at the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston

The New Age of Sail exhibit this summer at the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston will focus on the huge growth in sailing in the 1960s and 70s brought on by a postwar boom economy and the introduction of fiberglass boatbuilding. Both George Cuthbertson and Bruce Kirby were instrumental in the growth of sailing in this period and both have agreed to be the Honourary Curators of this exhibit.

Inaugural Gala Dinner

George and Bruce’s achievements and contributions to Canadian Sailing will be celebrated at the Inaugural Gala dinner of the New Age of Sail exhibit. This dinner will be hosted by Kingston Yacht Club on the evening of May 10th, 2014.

Comments from Sail Canada President 

The Board of Sail Canada is delighted to be associated with the acknowledgment of the extraordinary contribution these sailors have made to Canadian and International Sailing. Their recognition paves the way for Canadian sailing to honour other illustrious individuals who have brought considerable credit to the name of sailing in Canada. We are delighted to be collaborating with the Marine Museum in this regard. The by-laws of the Hall of Fame will be posted in the coming weeks at www.sailing.ca

Comments from Marine Museum   

The Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston is proud to be a part of the induction of George Cuthbertson and Bruce Kirby into the Canadian Sailing Hall of Fame and we look forward to working with Sail Canada to preserve and present  the history of the Canadian Sailing Hall of Fame to the public.

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LORC Racing Schedule for 2014

Your LORC executive and the participating clubs have been hard at work putting together a great racing schedule for 2014, so mark your calendars! Check the website at www.LORC.org

We start with the ABYC Open on May 24 & 25, always a great party. Then we move on the RCYC open June 21 & 22 where the Dinghies join us for racing and drinks on the lawn. Next is PCYC, July 5 & 6, for a wonderful tent party. The EYC Open and Levels Events August 23 & 24 follows with the smashing steak barbeque.  The last but not least big regatta is QCYC September 6th (and 7th if you’re a J24) with it great views of the city and large flying and white PHRF fleets.

But don’t forget our 2 long distance races the Donald Summerville from ABYC September 20th and the Boswell Trophy Race from RCYC September 28th these are races provide an opportunity to enjoy as 1 crew says “a great day of exciting fall sailing that’s not to be missed”.

The NOR for these events will be on the website and Registration opens, Monday.

We have changed our registration software but you can still register using your email address, then select “forgot password”, and a new password will be sent to you. The bulk of your information from 2013 will be included in your account, please review and update accordingly.

This year we are going to try to host an awards event in November, so we can share our sailing stories about the year that has been; date and location to be announced.

Thank you to everyone who completed a survey last year and the results will be posted shortly on our website. Your LORC executive is currently taking action on an number of identified issues to improve the overall LORC experience.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the volunteers that make the LORC event happen in all of the participating clubs, you do a wonderful job.  Thank you!!!

The LORC Executive

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