When Kathleen and I launched into our year at the helm, we set out with a three-phased vision: create opportunities to put more members on the water, welcome and attract new members by referral, and burnish our reputation worldwide. Throughout, we kept Kathleen’s concept of “Nautical Adventure” at the center of our efforts.
Fortifying our brainstorm was a calendar replete with a record number of on-the-water clinics and activities that included new opportunities for women to go sailing (all of which sold out) and multiple on-water training sessions that served all aspects of competent seamanship and race management. The St. Francis Yacht Club has an extremely strong culture that is becoming stronger by implementing a collaborative approach that includes not only training opportunities but also practical application immediately and in parallel with those trainings. With the extraordinary growth in small keelboat match and team race activity, we are on a track to long-term success in not only hosting a plethora of events but also competing at the highest level ever, nationally and internationally. Our Challenge group has set a new high-water mark in putting more sailors out in more races in more formats and I surely hope we continue that trend. The St. Francis Yacht Club is evolving as a leader in this respect and our most prestigious reciprocal clubs look to us as a beacon, thus burnishing our reputation.
A second goal was to cultivate processes and community through which existing members could actively refer new members who share our core values and love of being on the water. Personally, attending the monthly new member receptions was incredibly gratifying. Kathleen and I got to observe a fundamental interest in sailing and cruising from a diverse new cohort. We welcomed new juniors, adults, racers and cruisers, all of whom shared an interest in becoming better yachts-people and contributing their unique strengths and enthusiasms to the rich fabric of our Club. Throughout those receptions, the commitment to contribute was palpable.
Looking back on the year, it is clear to me that the strength of our institution is directly attributable to the creativity, energy and commitment of hundreds of member-volunteers who serve on our 40+ committees. Our volunteers, in conjunction with our dedicated professional staff, are wholly responsible for the creation and execution of a grand scale of interesting cruises, parties and races. Notably, the proof statement of those efforts is the fact that we experienced record attendance in all areas this year. The unsolicited compliments Kathleen and I received and continue to receive regarding those various efforts were numerous and heartfelt.
Finally, I am pleased to announce that we have officially renewed our relationship with Rolex, our wonderful long-term partner with whom we have developed an excellent mutual vision for expanding the Rolex Big Boat Series experience for sailors. The reason we have experienced such success in this regatta is the commitment of our event volunteers, combined with the incredible passion that sailors bring to the racing, visiting from all over the world to experience our great conditions and world-famous hospitality. The Rolex Big Boat Series is the pinnacle of our year and I am proud to see that tradition continue and strengthen.
Many members have asked Kathleen and me what we will do next year. It is our intention to continue to support the membership and the greater sailing community worldwide and, most importantly, to support our new Commodore, Theresa Brandner, and her leadership team. We look forward to active participation as the Board of Directors forge new vistas in 2018.