Words from the new Commodore



It is with great humility but also tremendous excitement, that I take the helm of SAYRA.  Having been involved with this organization for many years, I’ve seen waxes and wanes, but it is my good fortune to take office right as things are humming, thanks to the efforts of our many volunteers who have graciously put their strength to the winches.


It is not false pride that leads me to say that your organization is doing great work, but rather feedback from our national body, the US Sailing Association.  Give yourselves a pat on the back because US Sailing views SAYRA as a shining light of what Yacht Racing Associations (YRA) can and should be.  By no small coincidence we have several SAYRA members deeply involved with US Sailing, starting with our own Martine Zurinskas who serves on the Board of Directors.  Other members playing significant roles include David Loring (US Sailing Foundation Board), Randy Draftz (Chair, Race Administration Committee), Sarah Ashton (Chair, Judges Committee),  Kathy Lindgren (Chair, Umpire Committee), Tarasa Davis (US Sailing Board of Directors), Boo Caraway (Chair, US Youth Championships), and Anne Allen (Chair, Sports Medicine Committee).   Bryce Dryden assisted in the development of US Sailing’s long range strategic plan.  Yours truly also assists the Foundation Investment Committee in its good work.  Our Helen Hanley Memorial Fund, which supports SAYRA sailors in their pursuit of national championships, is the envy of YRAs.  SAYRA volunteers are supporting our sport at a national level – we thank you.


Several years ago I complimented a former SAYRA Commodore on his work and his response was “it’s simple – don’t screw up the convention!”  With that in mind, plans are well underway for the 2019 Convention which is going to be held at the Sonesta in Hilton Head once again.  Although the agenda is being finalized, I am extremely excited to announce that our keynote speaker will by Cory Sertyl, the new President of US Sailing.  A rock star sailor in her own right, Cory is going to speak about her vision for US Sailing and the roles we all play.  We will have the very popular US Sailing Regional Seminar on Friday, an educational session on scoring, the result of very strong feedback I got last year, as well as several other sessions.  Mark your calendar for January 25-27th and stay tuned.


No initial communique would be complete without thanks to a predecessor.  Bryce Dryden from the Atlanta Yacht Club was simply phenomenal in his two years of leadership.  It is fair to say that the thoughts and lessons that have come out of the last two conventions have been inspirational and practical.  In addition, Bryce has done a fantastic job with the nuts and bolts behind the scenes – thank you much!


Be on the lookout for news on the Convention - please save the date and encourage your club leadership to participate.  


Robert Key


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