Welcome Letter 2023

Distinguished Members and Honored Guests.  Welcome to the opening of the 2023 season the Beverly Yacht Club.  It is occasions like this that we realize our common passion for boating and the good friendships we have.  We remember the paths that our predecessors forged, which we now reap the benefits.  The goal of BYC has always been to bring the pleasure of sailing, being on the water, and the wonderful fellowship this club offers.
A few of you have inquired why we are holding Commissioning today instead of Memorial Day as in prior years.  Essentially, we began running at almost full operations this week, so it makes sense to commission when we are near hull speed.  Our season is short.  Commissioning today provides an additional full, three-day weekend for members to enjoy the water, and to observe the holiday with family.  Also, you may have noticed that we did not fire our cannon when the ensign was raised.  This is because we follow US Navy custom that goes back before the Revolutionary War, which basically states no gun salutes are fired on a Sunday. 
However, we will never lose sight of Memorial Day, its importance and significance: to honor those who lost their lives fighting for American ideals.  It is critical we remember the physical and mental sacrifices so many have made to ensure our freedom.  We are grateful and indebted, to the brave men and woman who fought, and continue to fight, for our Country, too many having made the ultimate sacrifice.  We have so much.  We owe them, and their families, our gratitude.  We thank you for your service.
I’d like to give a special welcome to our new members.  We had a wonderful gathering yesterday and many of you turned out to meet them.  This year’s Admissions class saw several our juniors aging out of their parents’ memberships and taking on their own.  They grew up in the Club and want to continue to be a part of it for years to come.  And, all of the families we welcomed, own boats or are in the process of acquiring.  We look forward to seeing you out on the water and in the Club.
One of the best lines I have heard about our club came from Commodore Cooney.  Dan would say: “We are a small club, but we punch above our weight.”  We operate three regulated industries on less than an acre.  It is amazing how much we do in any given season.    This year is going to be very active as indicated by the calendar that does not have many empty days on it.  Our club leaders and their committees are planning exciting activities both on and off the water.  Many people are working hard to make sure that the BYC season is filled with great racing, cruising, social, and junior activities.  They make sure you can go out and enjoy boating or just enjoy your club.  I thank each one of our fantastic Council members and their incredible hardworking committees!  
Just a few highlights:  
Fleet racing began early in the spring with the newest and growing Rocket Fulcrum Fleet.  This summer we have racing five days a week with our normally scheduled series and special races, as well as hosting a variety of regattas.  We welcome the return of the Marion Bermuda Race in June, hosting the Corsair Nationals in July, Beverly Junior Regatta and BullsEye Nationals in August, and Shields Nationals in September.  As we have said many times, BYC is well known for running exceptional regattas.  It is a great contribution to our sport, and we enjoy hosting them.  Whether you sail PHRF or one-design, please support these events by participating, volunteering, and/or hosting sailors at your home.  Our club continues to thrive because of your efforts and enthusiasm.  
Our Cruise Committee is organizing a number of exciting events, including a two-week summer cruise that will feature land-based gatherings easily reached by automobile for those unable to join by water.  They have a great evening planned for Battleship Cove in Fall River open to the entire membership.  Keep watch in Currents for information how you could attend this and other cruise events.  We are also hosting several clubs throughout the summer that want to take advantage of our beautiful waters.  Please say hello if you see them on the launch or around the club.
Our Junior Program Committee has a full schedule starting with young beginners to our experienced 420 Race Team.  Many of our sailors will be racing Optis and 420s at clubs around the Bay.  Also, come out and cheer them on at the Fourth of July Parade!  I’d be remiss if I did not give a big shout-out wonderful Junior Flag Officers!  Your passion for sailing and your spirit to excel is awe-inspiring!  Keep getting out on the water, sail, race, but most important, have fun and develop a life-long love of boating.  
House Committee, which hosted a number of events during the winter, have been busy planting and arranging flowers throughout the clubhouse.  They have plans for several fun filled land gatherings, including a B-B-Q on Memorial Day.  Please join us for this American tradition! 
We continue to explore improvements to our club’s infrastructure.  Like any home, we need to keep up with maintenance.  For example, we just completed work on the Junior Clubhouse to make it safe and more functional.  Last year we discussed pending improvements to the main clubhouse, beginning with our circa 1790 floor.  Further conversations with Council, staff, members, and the trades concluded that prior to starting any work, we evaluate the house and our needs, and take a holistic approach to ensure we will be able to accommodate our must haves.  Part of this process will be to survey the membership, and have focus groups, to ensure we provide the services and experiences you desire from our club. We will be communicating more to you in the coming weeks.  
I recently heard someone say that commissioning does not only mean opening of a yacht club.  It also reaffirms your commitment to our club.  And we are only as great as our volunteers.  We do so much in every season.  Your support by volunteering in any of our activities will help sustain this great club.  I ask that you reach out to any of these amazing Council members and raise your hand to help in any of our activities: race, cruise, house, and junior.    
For those missing our cannon salute, it will be fired tomorrow at 0800.  Followed by my dogs barking.  In all seriousness, I burst with pride any time I hear that sound, knowing that I am part of this wonderful organization.  
Our club is a special place.  We offer so much.  And something we simply cannot find just anywhere: a sense of belonging.  
With that, it is my honor to welcome you to the 151st season of THE Beverly Yacht Club!
Debra Gayle-Malone, BYC Commodore