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“A Future Full of Changes”

Darren O'Brien | Published on 2/24/2023

As they say, “the results are in”. Our club recently completed a membership-wide vote on how we wish to collectively proceed regarding the clubhouse and associated land lease with the Port of Port Townsend. On the ballot were two options. Essentially, Option A was to continue negotiating a new lease with the Port to try and mitigate their proposed substantial increases and changes in maintenance responsibilities. Option B was to allow the current lease to expire in February of 2026, while pursuing the potential sale of the building and researching new venues for club events.

For so many of us this was a very tough decision. One most of us wish we did not have to make. We have a lot of wonderful memories and equity – both financial and emotional – in our clubhouse. In a perfect world, we would happily continue in our home of many decades. Unfortunately, time and the real world had other ideas. Time in the form of an aging, waterfront structure that requires more and more high-dollar maintenance and repairs. And the real world manifested itself in terms of rental costs that reflect today’s market, not 1991 when the last addendum to the original 1985 lease and its associated costs were agreed upon.

The mechanics of voting included an online element and in-person secret ballots. Voting online via the PTYC website was open Friday, February 10 through midnight on the following Monday, February 13. In-person voting took place at the general meeting Tuesday night, February 14. Ultimately, more than 50% of our members cast votes, which represents a quorum as stipulated in our bylaws. The final tally, which combined the online and in-person ballots, totaled 74 votes (one vote per individual member). 58 members voted for Option B, with 16 members choosing Option A.

The next step is to identify and engage a commercial real estate broker in Port Townsend to assess the building’s worth. There are conditions we must deal with regarding any potential buyer. The Port has certain restrictions regarding the use of the building (the business must be “water-related”, such as a seafood restaurant for example), with the Port Commission having the final say.

Meanwhile, following the groundwork already started by some members, we will be reviewing Port Townsend area venues that we can rent or lease for club events and activities. Currently at the top of the list are the Northwest Maritime Center and the Pavilion building (formerly Pygmy Kayaks) at Point Hudson. However, we are open to all possibilities! If you have any connections or ideas, or if you’d like to join the committee researching locations, please let me or a board member know.

Our arrival at this important juncture in the club’s history is the culmination of a year and a half of hard work by the board and various members. In particular, we are fortunate that Jim Gorski and Eileen Baratuci have given so much of their time and legal expertise to the issue. Time and expertise we will continue to tap into as the coming months unfold. Thank you both!

Lastly, regardless of how you voted, let’s all keep in mind that even though we are a “yacht” club, we are in all respects a “people” club. A club full of great people. Moving forward, with such an engaged, talented, and passionate membership, it’s reassuring to realize we will always be in good hands – our hands – no matter where we meet.

“Always approach the dock at the speed you wish to hit it.” Commodore Darren

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