Commodore - Paul Cairoli

You can contact the Commodore at
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August - Film maker, Bruce Brown, made an award winning documentary in the early 70’s about a group of California Surfers titled the Endless Summer. It followed these surfers through a summer that seemed as if it would go on forever. Nothing is forever as I find out year after year. We launched in spring and with 16 Wednesday night races I thought summer would never end but, just as for those carefree surfers, I look up and it’s the second week of August and we have but a handful of races left.Where did the summer go?

Speaking of summer, it has been a very busy summer at the Yacht Club. Let’s take a moment to talk about some of the things that have taken place and need to take place before year end.

There are a number of sitting sub-committees that have collectively put in a lot of hours on various programs and issues. We have a group reviewing Bylaws and a group reviewing Work Hours. Not because anything is hugely broken in these areas but simply because there is room for improvement. These groups will be providing recommendations as to how to operate the club more smoothly and more fairly for all. It is hoped we can refine and clarify the existing way we do things. Both Committees plan on putting out a report in advance of this year’s AGM.

Last week, the Executive Director of Ontario Sailing visited our club to review with us some plans for our proposed Youth Sailing School for 2018. Glenn Lethbridge was so very complimentary about the CIYC, pointing out that we were way ahead of many clubs in that we were working with a Vision Statement and Strategic Plan. He said clubs without these were in serious trouble. He also spoke to us about the need to keep adding members as yacht clubs (and we are no different) are plagued with aging and declining memberships. The message is clear, if we do not attract new members then enrolment will dwindle and a few will be left to carry the burden and the costs of the club.

Given Glenn’s words, it is going to be critical that we rethink our club and invest in future membership. To those who want to simply remain the way we are with no growth I ask you rethink your position and embrace the idea that the legacy of the great CIYC is ours to preserve . We need programs that reach out into our community and expose potential new members through great community events such as Explore the Shore, Cop Camp, Island Girls and (what I hope to have in place next year) our Youth Sailing Program.

In the fall, we will start round two of our strategic planning session. Last year we put together a simple but effective plan that was a good start. Not everyone, not even all the members of the Executive have fully embraced it, however it is something we must keep working at. Without a strategy, we cannot hope to guide this club according to the members’ wishes. Without a plan, we are like a ship without a rudder - we have no idea what direction we are headed and may end up somewhere by accident. Our plan is on the website. The long term plans are in a binder in the yacht club for all to see. If you have not looked at either recently then please do so.

Have you ever complained about how the club is run? If you are honest with yourself, you probably have. If you have not, then you are probably not being honest with yourself. The VC has a nominating Committee set up to put together a slate of officers for next year. If you want to sign up for any position please do so. You can make a difference. If you are reluctant to run because someone has been nominated, that’s not a problem. Please run ..... please get involved.

A Committee has been set up to look at the purchase of property next to the clubhouse. As details become known we will keep you up to date. There are a lot of pro’s and con’s to consider and somehow, whatever transpires, we will turn it into a positive for the club.

I have mentioned the AGM about 10 times in this article. To that end in early September, we are going to send out a comprehensive survey asking your opinion on many areas of club activity. It will include a comment section and I ask you to carefully and honestly fill this form in as it will provide your Executive and membership with a lot of direction required to run this club in accordance with your wishes. Please attend the AGM this year. There will be a lot to discuss, a lot to vote on as alluded to in the above. Sitting back and not attending will do nothing to improve our great club.

Finally, for all you silver haired types in the club, watch CIYC News for the Annual Silver Hair Cup to run on a weekday in September. The prize again will be the undying adulation of thousands and the right to walk around the club with a swagger knowing your have won sailing’s ultimate prize. If you sailed it before you will not want to miss it. If your have never sailed it before, get ready for the experience of a lifetime.

I hate end of season!

June 15 - A Call to the Membership

The Great Cedar Island Yacht Club needs your help and we need it urgently. Should our request go unanswered, the future, the future you want, will be altered.

What am I talking about? Simply, last year at our planning sessions and throughout the year you, our membership, sent out a strong and clear message in that you wanted beautiful grounds, improved facilities and cleanliness. This message was taken seriously by your Executive. Comprehensive plans and budgets were put in place that were presented and enthusiastically approved at the AGM.

Taken into this plan was that our membership is required to perform work hours. These work hours are what largely make the plans and dreams of the CIYC happen . . . or not. This year, our Property, Dredging, Social and Docks Officers have asked repeatedly for your help and, to date, many of the projects planned (like a roof over the BBQ, redoing the deck on Toot, etc. etc.) have not even been started. People had volunteered for some of these jobs and then not followed through. Whilst we all recognize life is busy and priorities change, the CIYC needs your help.

This Club enjoys the lowest membership fees of any comparable yacht club in the province and frankly, if we cannot get some of these projects done, we will have no choice but to raise our dues to cover them. An example of these costs can be seen in last year’s deck project. It was anticipated we would build it ourselves. Property could not get any work hours from members, so a deck (which we could have built for about $4500) cost us $7,000. $3,000 would go a long way for new water lines and hydro stations at the dock. Will we have to do the same with other projects?

What is really frustrating is, at the end of the year we have many members in a panic to fill work hour obligations in order to avoid being charged. The result of which is, we have about 20 people all show up in September/October to rake the lawn. We do not need 20 people raking.

So what do we do? Over the next few weeks our Phone Committee is going to call you and ask you to help where help is needed. Please look over your schedule and sign up. Help make your dreams for the CIYC come true. Even better, contact any of our Officers and see what they need - they would appreciate it so very much. The alternative, like I said, is again to listen the message you are sending us and that seems to be “Many of us do not want to do work hours” which is also fine but comes with a cost. The choice will be yours.

To those who have done your share, and to the few who are always there and have done so many more hours than the minimum, we, the Executive, thank you so very much. To the rest, let’s fix this thing. It’s easy. The rewards will be great and you will have fun doing it.

Thanks for your understanding.

Paul Cairoli

May - Well the boats are in the water so it’s time to start talking about the main reason we are part of this great yacht club....... you know it..... racing..... oops, I mean sailing (did I type that out loud!).

I would like to think the solid week of miserable weather after launch was just to get it out of the way. So hopefully it’s sunny skies and good wind until fall.

There is so very much going on that I am sure you will be sitting down with your calendars to start planning a full and busy sailing schedule.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the goings on. Firstly, racing starts next week and looks like we will again have a full start line for Wednesday Racing. Greg has done a fabulous job of organizing this year’s races. This year, the Kingsville Reporter will be publishing race results. Will race winners be able to handle the fame and notoriety as the paparazzi start following our sailing heroes around town?

Cruisers are getting ready for the annual May 24 Trek to Pelee, a laid-back, not too serious weekend that is fast becoming an annual tradition.

In June, we have our first Regatta - the CF. This event originally started by Frank and Wendy Foote and run by Mike and Ally Lippmann has turned into the club’s premier fundraiser of the year. Over the years. tens of thousands of dollars have been raised for CF. So worthwhile and so much fun is had at this event that I encourage each and every one of you to join in. Get your boat out on the start line, fill in a pledge form and have a good time. If you can only do a limited number of events, then this is a must do. The racing is secondary to the good time and good food.

In fact, to encourage participation by all the Executive, I have challenged them to a “Race within a Race”. The Exec has made a side bet with all proceeds going to CF. Details of this Challenge with a Twist can be seen in the What’s New section of the website.

Let’s see if we can have a record year for CF donations in 2017.

Club Officers are still working hard behind the scenes to bring you a great 2017.

Today is warm and sunny so enough of me writing and enough of you reading. Go get your boat ready. A lot of water is going to go over your keel this year.

See you soon


- It Monday and to tell you the truth I am bit tired as it seemed everyday last week there was a meeting about something at the CIYC. The tiredness comes from the high paced excitement that was the norm at the meetings. They were just so full of energy and great ideas.

On Thursday morning Captain Dredge our Docks Officer called a meeting with the owners of Melton Brothers and Erie View Marine to discuss a proposal for our all important channel dredging. Warren Ritchie has been putting together an agreement which needed input from all the partners in the process.

The meeting went very well and it so great to see these guys together and get their input . The exchange of great ideas made the process so much easier. I don't want to steal Dave and Warren’s news so I will leave the rest to them to talk about on their blogs.

The second meeting took place on Thursday night ( I really should book meetings a bit more than a few hours apart) was with our new Youth Sailing Committee. The Committee consists of Warren , Mike Lippmann, Jyllian Mackie, Wally Hogan and me. I have long wanted to be involved in a youth program and after last year’s strategic planning sessions it became clear that many of you wanted it also.

We need a youth program for a number of reasons. Firstly, I am not sure if you have noticed but the average age of our members is climbing. We need to kindle interest in young sailors so that the legacy of the great Cedar Island Yacht Club is guaranteed. Secondly, we have a to support our Community, and after all we are a Great Lake based community at that. We need to get our town involved too. Thirdly, how great would it be if we could home grow a future Olympic or World Champion Sailor .....I would be over the moon.

I get ahead of myself, as always. First we have to have a great committee to get this great idea off the ground.... and what a great committee we have. Look at the experience they bring. Along with me and Warren we have racer extraordinaire Mike Lippmann former OSA Director Wally Hogan and in Jyll we have a woman who grew up in local youth sailing programs and who went on to become a sailing instructor within the OSA program.

The ideas at the meeting just kept flowing. Poor Jyll sometimes had a bit of a problem speaking over the more “overbearing” members but when she spoke her eyes lit up as she waxed passionately about how the programs worked, why they were exciting and what we needed to do to get them moving.

I cannot give any details right now other than to say this dynamic committee will be great to work on. We need to develop a strong strategic plan with measurable milestones. In all likelihood we will start in the summer of 2018 with the OSA Boom Program, a kind of rent a sailing school for clubs like ours who want to get involved without a great deal of risk. We will share details as they become available. We have tons to do.

Other club Officers are getting ready as well. Property under Barrie Brewin is just waiting for the weather to break so he can start his long long list of projects to improve our clubhouse and grounds.

Dave Prince seems to spend every waking moment at the club measuring docks, meeting with contractors as he too is going to make many improvements to our docks. He does not know it yet but I am pretty sure he is going to have make accommodations for our youth sailing program.

Check out the Web site as Richard is constantly up dating it with new and improved information.

Auntie Social, Wendy Foote has already given us a taste of what fantastic events will be taking place this year. I think our next event is the Nautical Flea Market in April. Have I got junk to sell ...oops .....I mean have I got some fantastic surplus sailing items to sell at give away prices!!!!!!!

Learn to (2) Sail is already signing up members.

And, whilst you do not see it, our Treasurer and Secretary ... Ilene and Carol work tirelessly behind the scenes doing the hard work that goes on unnoticed by many of us. Next you see them thank them or better yet buy them flowers.

No I did not forget racing .... I would never forget racing. Greg has been ordering flags thinking about ways to change up racing and have even more fun this year on the race course. We still have too many members who do not get out on Wednesday nights. To help with this Greg and I are going to put on an evening course on “ How to Get Started in Racing” or “ Finding out that Racing is not a Complicated as Everyone lets on”..... that is right .... come spend a few hours with us and we will make you feel comfortable enough to have a go at Wednesday nights. If your not racing your not having fun. This course will be open to any Skipper with less than one years racing under his/ her belt and open to any crew-members. Watch for a date in early April.

Well enough of this I have to go write up my committee minutes, go pick up VC 17, order race shirts and paint a wall...... oh well ..... soon we will be too busy sailing .....

February - The last few months the Executive made some decisions. As with all decisions some of these pleased some and not others. The problems arose from the fact that to make these decisions we turned to the Bylaws and Policy and Procedures of the CIYC. As an Executive we can only follow what is written and that sometimes is not clear. That is not to say they were not well written but they have been around a while and have been updated changed and or added to. The problem becomes they are now, in some areas, a bit unclear. The Executive decisions were based on what was written.

A lot of people told me that you cannot always apply the rules as written because the original intent was different than what is now written. I have a bit of a problem with that as I cannot see how you can enforce an intent. Ask four ex-Commodores about the intent of a specific bylaw and you will get four different points of view.

Given the steeped history of the yacht club and the fact that many of these “ intents” maybe sound we need to see if we can fix a few things. It is not the responsibility of the Executive to question what is written in the rules every time we make a decision. It would take too long , debates would go on forever and mostly it would take our hard working Executive Officers and turn them into sea lawyers. Not the job they signed up for and not in the best interests of the club as they should be focused on making the club better for all its members. To this end, I am setting up a special committee of three Past Commodores. There job will be to review current Bylaws and Procedures and prepare a report outlining what the original intent of some of these rules were. In particular they will focus on sections where contradiction exists as written. They will interview Past Commodores and review old minutes so that they can give clarity to the intent of rules and make recommendations.

This report will be reviewed by the Executive and from that there are a numbers of ways we can use it. We can clarify and clean up wording in our rules. We add or eliminate rules as required. We can use it as a guideline to follow for future Executives. It does need to be done.

The other thing I am doing is setting up a Youth Sailing Committee. This has been something near and dear to me for a while. We need to promote more youth sailing and ensure the future of our club. If you are one of those who think our club is not in need of young blood consider that I heard a new member refer to Mike Lippmann as the “young lad with the Hunter”. Whist not exactly true, we are all getting older and some of us are dropping out of sailing.

The Committee right now will be made up of Jillyian Mackie , Mike Lippmann , Wally Hogan, Warren Ritchie and myself. We look into various options open to us from Sail Ontario's Boom Program to running our own fleet eventually and hope to make some recommendations soon.

As to the other Executive Officers, I am still in awe over the energy and the talent they bring to the club. If you don't believe me just take a look at the Strategic Plan Binder now in the clubhouse. It will give a quick look at some of the great projects that are planned for this year and into the future.

With the February weather what it is I say we launch the first week in March and start racing by the 15
th...... do I hear a seconder?
January - Today I am more grumpy than usual. The weatherman has revised his winter forecast and says it is going to be a milder than normal winter. Great, now I can’t even complain about the snow. I am ready to launch. The brightwork has six new coats of varnish, sails are back from the loft - what is a guy to do? It’s going to be a long time before the season starts.

What makes it harder is I know what neat stuff the CIYC is planning. Think about it. Island Girls is back for another year, racing under Greg Switzer is going to be a blast as he is going to add even more variety and fun than last year. Social is really excited about the great events they are putting on. Wendy is making Social events a year-round project and with new and varied themes as she will share with you on her page on the website. Kevin Alles will be organizing some long needed cruising events ....... I just can’t wait.

Did I mention racing will be a blast this year?

Other less glitzy things are the huge projects that the rest of the Executive is undertaking. Carol, our Secretary Extraordinaire, is compiling our Vision Statement and Strategic Plans in a binder to be kept at the clubhouse for all to see. I encourage you to take a look as you will see all the short and long term plans the Executive has put in place. There are a ton.

At the AGM I promised even greater transparency into the running of the Club. The binder will do just that. Also starting in February new monthly financials will be posted on the Members’ Page so you can see exactly where the Great CIYC stands at any moment.

The Officers of the Club will be updating the web site regularly so visit it often as they will be giving you more detail on the things they are planning for 2017.

The plans are ambitious but the Exec will come through. What a fine hard-working group they are.

Racing will be great too!

Its not too late for you to become involved. Sign up for a committee or volunteer to help with an event. We need your help. Our great Club is an organization that works best when we all get involved. If you are unsure how to help, give me a call and we will get you on the right path.

Anyway, enough for now as I think I will put another couple of coats of varnish on my teak. Working on a boat is almost like sailing, isn’t it?

How many days to the first race?


Firstly, it will be both an honour and a privilege to serve the membership of the CIYC. This pleasurable task will be made easier by the fine Executive that has been assembled. Together, I believe, we will accomplish much.

We will continue to build on the considerable work done by the previous Executive. In particular, a thanks to Beth for setting the stage.

With a strategic plan firmly in place to act as our guide, we will endeavour to make our yacht club the finest it can be, both for current and for future generations.

Immediately we will work on providing the membership with more transparent and detailed overviews of the Executive's projects and progress. There will be in place short term and long range plans to ensure that the needs of the membership are met with no surprises. Financial reporting will be more readily available. We will continue to improve social, racing and cruising programs and, to support these great events, we will concentrate on making improvements to the grounds from both an ergonomic and aesthetic standpoint.

Projects that I personally want to give consideration to will be the establishment of a Youth Sailing Program. This is essential to ensure the future success of the club and provide a means for some of us to pass our skills and love of sailing to the next generation.

To make sure we adopt the best of yacht club practises, I would like to benchmark ours against other clubs and allow others to benchmark against us.

Yacht clubs (and good yacht clubs like the CIYC) are precious. They have traditions to preserve and dreams to turn into reality. Together we can do this.