The 2013 boating season has come to a close but what an exciting summer we had on the water at The National Yacht Club! After a very long spring, members couldn’t wait to get back on the water. The racers came out in force in mid-May for weeknight racing followed shortly thereafter by the NYC fleet for the annual Sail Past and before we knew it, summer had begun.
The Cruising Fleet held three successful cruises this year, consisting of the Cruise to the Oakville Club, the Commodore’s Cruise to Ashbridge’s Bay Yacht Club and the Labour Day Cruise to Royal Hamilton Yacht Club. On a reciprocal basis, the club hosted 10 incoming cruises where almost 140 boats came to visit and stay with us. It’s great to see that the NYC continues to be a valued and popular destination on Lake Ontario!
The Power Fleet held its inaugural Poker Run at the club. It proved to be a popular and successful event for our members and also raised money for the Easter Seals charity. We are looking forward to this event being a new tradition for the NYC.
Continuing to build on our tradition of excellent racing, the Racing Fleet and the NYC hosted a number of outstanding regattas including the Toronto Area Hospice Regatta (which proudly raised nearly $9,000 for The Dorothy Ley Hospice), the Shark North Americans, The National Event, the J22 Canadian Championship, the Lake Yacht Racing Association (LYRA) annual regatta (including the IRC Great Lakes Championship) and the 2.4 North American Championships. The feedback from competitors from each and every one of these events was incredibly positive and has inspired the NYC and 2014 regatta chairs to start working now on next year’s regattas.
Weeknight racing saw the participation of over 88 boats. Our Spring and Fall Round the Island races were as popular and successful as ever, while the AHMEN series continued to have the majority of its racers coming from the NYC. On a national and international level, the NYC racing reputation continues to build thanks to the efforts and performance of several of our club’s top racers. Congratulations to Jeff Love, Kevin Brown and Mark Bird who placed 6th in the 71 boat fleet at the J22 World Championship in Newport, RI; Roland van Hazel and his team finished 8th in the Farr 30 worlds; and our Match Racing team ranked number 1 in Canada, number 4 in North America and number 46 in the world. We are proud that these accomplished racers call the NYC home!
The C&C Owners Regatta, which witnessed a decline of competitor interest and participation as well as volunteer engagement over the past few years, was retired. While disappointing, we need to acknowledge that this is part of the changing landscape of the Great Lakes sailing arena and we need to explore this as an opportunity to understand the challenges facing all sailing regattas and the need to keep them fresh, interesting and relevant. This change provides the NYC with the opportunity to welcome new ideas to create new regatta traditions for the NYC.
Looking at the some of the other changes that have occurred on the lake this year such as the grand finale of the Youngstown Levels regatta as we know it, and considering what the future may bring, we must begin to recognize that the overall sport of sailing and boating is changing. There are less racers and cruisers at clubs around Lake Ontario and long-standing traditional regattas both locally and across North America are either ending or going through significant changes. Even the grandest of them all, Key West Race Week, had to implement a number of changes to allow it to remain viable. To keep the sport vibrant at NYC, we are engaging new groups of boaters and younger, competitive racers through new programs, such as the Match Racing Club, who are joining the club and becoming very active very quickly. Additionally, right now within the various fleet teams, we have some great new ideas for cruises and club events and the 2014 schedule is nearly done. One of the ideas we are exploring is bringing back the NYC Annual Regatta that would include racers, cruisers and powerboaters so it is truly an entire club event that combines tradition with new events.
Our sport needs a little injection of revitalization and a big dose of enthusiasm to keep things going. The fleet portfolio went through a big and necessary transformation this past year where much of it was reorganized and volunteer positions were refilled, redefined or newly created to best position NYC for the coming years. We are not quite there yet, but with the great help of the amazing volunteers who have been so wonderful to work with, we are well on our way! Our vision is to solidify the reputation of the National Yacht Club as the premiere club for the sport of sailing and boating on Lake Ontario.
Vice Commodore, Fleet