2017 April Commodore Column: “Yes, Virginia, there is an Opening Day!”

It’s a big deal. It’s done all over the world. It’s been practiced for centuries. And, this May, you can be part of the greatest annual celebration on the planet. No, not the Super Bowl, not the Oscars, but Opening Day! We ain’t talking about that Johnny-come-lately baseball thing, either. We’re talking about yachting and the truly noble pursuit of fun on the water.

How did it all start? In 1720, the Royal Cork Yacht Club was founded. I know, Gerry, it happened in Ireland. Other clubs followed and, eventually, they began to celebrate the start of the boating season. This tradition remains with us today. Not every club observes Opening Day, but they should! The timing varies by region. Northern locales, like ours, practice the tradition in May. Areas with better weather, like San Francisco or Dallas, celebrate in April. South of the equator, the season opens in October. Clubs that sail year-round also maintain the tradition—they get it!

A boat parade is often part of Opening Day. San Francisco has been doing this for 100 years, Seattle for 96 years. Modern parades in these cities are huge, with hundreds of boats participating and hundreds more out on the water. There is an annual parade on Lake Havasu, in the desert. Last year the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania celebrated their 136th Opening Day with a parade of 250 boats. Freakin’ Tasmania! Who lives there? There are clubs on every continent doing something over the course of the year. Shenanigans, El Duano? Check out the Ross Island Yacht Club of Antarctica. Just because their water is frozen…

The PTYC measures its contribution in decades, not centuries, but that’s OK. We are doing our part, and that part grows every year. In 2017, how about 50 boats in our parade? Let’s set a record. Big, small, power, sail, row or paddle—all are welcome. It can be done. Are we not sailors? Do we not go down to the sea in ships? Do you want to make Debbie cry? Hoist your burgee and cast off—you were born for this!

Commodore Duane Madinger    Time and tide wait for no man.



2017 March PTYC Commodore’s Column: “Ship’s Survey Report”

Owners and crew, it’s time to endure El Duano’s “State of the Club” assessment, conducted in accordance with all inapplicable USCG regulations and guidelines. For those about to tack, your club is shipshape and Bristol fashion. For those holding a steady course, here’s the rest of the story.

Unlike Congress, our board passed a balanced budget in 2017. It’s a doozy, with a heavy emphasis on the “fun” in funding. Our liquid assets are substantial and invested wisely. We have no debt. We own our building. We rent the land under it from the Port at a reasonable rate. The club house is due for maintenance, and we’ll kick this off in March with a piling survey.

Sailing on, the club continues to grow at a steady pace. We must be doing something right! Good people are crafting plans to deal with this expansion, so, rest assured we’ll have a true course at the next waypoint. Fleet Captain Deb planned a great year for us, but volunteers are still needed for some cruises and events. Contact her if you can help. We’ve also fleshed out the standing committees, and right now only the scholarship committee needs extra hands (hint).

I’m hoping for a big turnout this year, with lots of new faces at the gangway. You’ll be able to travel to many of our destinations by “land yacht”, so there is no need to miss the revelry. Remember, you cannot not have fun at the PTYC!

Commodore Duane Madinger    

Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy a boat.


2017 February Commodore’s Column: “Give Way Together”

Fellow crew, in this column we’re going to catch, then drive our way through the importance of teamwork. But, before the race starts, let’s recognize those who worked so hard in January. Their contributions were vital, and much appreciated. We acknowledge this on the Bravo Zulu page. If you look at nothing else in the Baggy, go there and see who works for you.

At the last meeting, I broached the subject of volunteerism. Clubs like ours deal with two challenges. The first is a dearth of volunteers—not enough people to make things happen. The second is the rise of super volunteers—a handful of people assuming ever more responsibility. Either condition can undermine an organization. The sweet spot lies in the middle, with the coxswain setting the pace and the crew following the stroke.

Right now, with a strong varsity team, it’s time to get the juniors up to speed and start training the freshmen. We don’t want to end up with a scratch crew next season. So, metaphors aside, let me simply encourage participation. If you are new to the club, attend some meetings and get on a watch. Been around a bit longer? Volunteer to help on a committee or cruise. The next step, run an event or cruise. You get the picture. Uncertain about the process? The veterans will pull you through.

Sharing the load is the best way to keep our organization vibrant. If you would like to help, contact me or a member of the board. And, don’t be surprised if we approach you. In fact, your new commodore is a shameless recruiter. For starters, take a look at the What’s Happening page and notice the gaps in next year’s schedule.

Finally, remember, if we all pull together, we’ll find our swing.

                                                      Commodore Duane Madinger    

                                        One spirit, one stroke!