I began the last Newsletter by mentioning that Rhone Kirby would be representing Antigua & Barbuda at the Youth Olympic Games in China. Rhone and his coach, Karl James, have just returned and whilst they did not bring back Gold, Silver or Bronze, Rhone proved himself worthy of his place, his best result being 7th. The Club congratulates Rhone on his efforts. Karl tells me that not only was he a very dedicated competitor but also that he was a good travelling companion on what was a fairly mammoth journey.
Also, I ended the last Newsletter by saying we had a little spare cash in the kitty for a project or two. Unfortunately, I spoke too soon. Tropical Storm Bertha, although passing well to the south, brought enough wind (but virtually none of the much needed rain) to tear the canopy over the upper deck, in several places. We had debated taking it down before the storm but felt, in its fragile state, taking it down may have caused more damage than the storm. Either way, it has resulted in us having to replace the canopy and the frame which is severely rotted in places. It was on our 'task list' just not at the top of it.
Something we did intend to address are the rotten floor boards on the upper deck. It made sense to also deal with the problem of the front stairs which have been altered, added to and varied so many times that people get lost trying to find their way into the club office plus, their location causes water to flood into the office during heavy rain storms. Club Sushi is contributing one third of the cost of renewing the stairs. The ground floor restaurant is taking the opportunity to alter its entrance at the same time.
Whilst on the subject of the new ground floor restaurant, the original chosen name of 'Clippers' was rejected by the Intellectual Property Office as the name is already in use. After numerous suggested similar names, all rejected, eventually a name was accepted. The restaurant will be known as 'The Rusty Pelican'.
One plan the Club has had in mind is to try to extend the yachting season into the summer and, to that end, the Board has been looking to hold events in June or July each year. The plan was to start in 2016. Quite unexpectedly, the yacht club has been offered the opportunity to host the Optimist North American Championships in July 2015. Provisionally, the Club has said 'Yes' although tentative budgets show a US$112,000 shortfall.
With the Antigua Yacht Club Marina Resort and the Catamaran Hotel offering accommodation at very reasonable rates for the 250 expected competitors and coaches, that shortfall is cut by around 20%. The Ministry of Tourism have indicated that they may be willing to also contribute substantially. As soon as we know the level of support from the Ministry of Tourism, we will be able to determine whether or not the event is viable. If it does go ahead, lots of volunteers will be required. In 2013, Bermuda had over 600 people attending and similar numbers are expected here.
On the same subject, the Venture powerboat organisation have confirmed their wish to hold the 'Round the Caribbean Powerboat Race', starting and finishing in Antigua, in June 2016. They will be doing their first recce next month. Also, the International Tempest Association, at their World Championships in Italy this month, are discussing an invitation from Antigua Yacht Club to hold their 2017 World Championships in Antigua. We hope their response will be a positive one.
The club had another successful Summer Program although it was partly shared with the National Sailing Academy with more active sailors operating from the Yacht Club and those out for a bit of fun going to the National Sailing Academy. Certificates were awarded to 17 students for various levels of achievements. Summer Camp is undoubtedly an area where the club will obtain new members including some of the parents.
Still on sailing, having hosted the Caribbean Dinghy Championships for the past three years, the Club felt it was time for another island to have the opportunity. Unfortunately, none has been able to step forward mainly due to the lack of available boats. The Club, together with the National Sailing Academy, has agreed to host it again for 2014 and the Championships will be held again on 15th & 16th November. Sponsors needed please.
Another request for sponsors. Some of you may have heard of Bart's Bash. Andrew (Bart) Simpson was an America's Cup sailor tragically killed whilst training - see www.bartsbash.co.uk. A foundation was set up in his name to encourage young people to use sailing as a means of developing life skills. To that end, it is planned to hold the world's largest regatta on 21st September and AYC along with the National Sailing Academy have agreed to join in. Full details will be sent out in the next few days but each competing boat is required to contribute EC$120. As many of our competitors are young sailors, we are asking our adult members to offer to sponsor boats. Anyone wishing to do so should contact the office.
Not so good news. Life Member and former Club Treasurer (and former ABMA Treasurer), Penny Tyas has been struck down, but not out, by Multiple Sclerosis. Always an ambition to sail around the world but never having managed to get past Antigua, she is hoping to join 'Oceans of Hope', an MS charitable organisation sailing around the world (see - http://www.sailing-sclerosis.com/oceans-of-hope/) and complete her dream. We wish her luck.
It's surprising how quickly a year comes around. Following some complaints that the AGM has been held too close to the Charter Yacht Show when many members are very busy, the Board has determined to bring the AGM forward a week to 24th November. Kathy Lammers has agreed to set up a Nominating Committee and former Club Secretary, Moya Williams is assisting her. They are seeking a third volunteer.
Members should be reminded that further amendments to the Constitution will be discussed at the AGM and any suggested revisions must be submitted by 30th September in order for them to be circulated to the membership well in advance of the AGM.
Finally, the Annual Dinner has been set for Saturday 13th December and the 'Dream Team' of the past few years, Dave Fitzmaurice, Brad Esty and Paul Smith have agreed to do the honours and organise it again. As a special bonus, any member who pays their 2015 membership by 1st December will receive a 10% discount on their dinner ticket.