February Notes from Commodore


This year’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) is summarized best in three words – friends, fun and forward! As always, it is fun to see sailing friends and meet new ones throughout the SAYRA region.  This year, 160 people attended the SAYRA AGM, which is a terrific turnout -- more than in recent years! Thank you to all who came.  The content from keynote speakers Ron Hopkins and Nick Hayes was excellent and thought-provoking, the energy level was high throughout the weekend, and lots of ideas were exchanged.


Not only was the weekend fun, but several of the speakers, including Greg Fisher (College of Charleston) and Art Molitor (Atlanta Yacht Club) shared how to make sailing fun for people of all ages and abilities.  It starts by setting up a good, fair race course and not scoring the results.  Of course, sailing rules remain intact, and turns are expected if the rules are violated, but the emphasis is more on fun than on finishing!  In Charleston, they execute this strategy on Tuesday evenings with consistently great results, and at AYC last summer, this strategy was adopted under the banner of “Rally Mentality” once a month with very good results as well.


Looking forward, Nick talked about the sailing club of the future and how clubs may have to adapt to appeal to millennials.  Ron discussed race management and shared his insight as to how clubs can better attract volunteers and effectively train people for race committee.  We took Ron’s advice to heart at our club and just completed a one-day race management seminar with 36 participants, and a one-day club judge seminar with 18 participants. 


The next seminar at our club will focus on powerboat training. Like many clubs, we have an aging volunteer base and see the need to actively engage younger and newer members for certification.  SAYRA has several outstanding club RC and club judge trainers, so this year make plans to offer training sessions at your club.  Please contact me at brycedryden@yahoo.com or (678) 977-9777 for further information.


Speaking of race committee, Carolina Yacht Club-NC (CYC-NC) is looking for people to serve on RC and behind the scenes for the 2018 U.S. Junior Championship, scheduled for June 23 - 27. The last time a SAYRA club hosted this event was 14 years ago. Regatta Chair Elizabeth Schuett shared at the SAYRA AGM how their club won the bid and is preparing for the event. Please reach out to her at tewschuett@gmail.com or (910) 625-7450 if you can help or have a boat the club can borrow.  


In addition, SAYRA congratulates CYC-NC for winning US Sailing’s prestigious St. Petersburg Yacht Club Trophy, emblematic of excellence in race management. This is a tremendous honor and very well deserved for CYC-NC’s management of the 2017 Lightning North American Championships.


Congratulations also to this year’s SAYRA award winners:

  • JD Rosser won the John B. Bonds Service Award
  • Sarah Ashton won the Willard Davis Service Award
  • Tommy Harken won the SAYRA Sportsmanship Award


We are honored to have so many great sailors in our region who embody Corinthian values and servant-oriented hearts.


We recognized winners of the SAYRA Junior Grand Prix Championship at the AGM as well.  Congratulations to our top junior sailors:

  • C420 -- James Renneker (Hobcaw YC) and Jack Sutton (ChYC)
  • Laser Radial – James Thurlow (SCYC)
  • Laser 4.7 – Jacob Usher (CYC-NC)
  • Opti Green – John Spirosa (CYC-NC)
  • Opti White – Arabella Duer (BYSC)
  • Opti Blue – Benjamin Usher (CYC-NC)
  • Opti Red – Rohan Patel (LNYC)


In case you were not able to attend the SAYRA AGM this year, we recorded the main sessions. The audio will be available on the website to SAYRA members soon.  If you are not a member of SAYRA, you can join here. The cost is only $15 for individuals, and you will receive access to member-only content as well as to the SAYRA member directory.


Planning is already underway for the 2019 SAYRA AGM, so if you have any content or speaker ideas, please let us know.  Also, the survey feedback about both the meeting location and hotel was very good.  If you have any other suggestions, please send me a proposal to share with the 2019 planning committee.


Commodore SAYRA