Golden Gate Yacht Club may have been making the news last week because one of their
But guess which yacht club just won the US Sailing One-Design Yacht Club Award for "administrative excellence, fleet growth, creative programming, regatta support and member contribution at regional, national and international levels of the one-design."
Massapoag Yacht Club in Sharon, Massachusetts.
What? Who? Where?
Regular readers of this blog may think they've never heard of Massapoag Yacht Club. But really you have.
I'm not a member of MYC but I have sailed on their lake, and participated in some of their races and one of their regattas in the last few years. It was MYC's Sunday racing that I described in Laser Sailing at Lake Whippersnappper, even though I used a nom-de-lac "Whippersnapper" rather than the real name of their lake, Massapoag. It is the home of the Saturday afternoon informal Laser racing I wrote about in Just Six Laser Dudes Racing Round a Sausage. And it is the place that I sailed in a Laser regatta on my 60th birthday weekend, recounted in Just One of Those Days.
So, although I'm not a member, I have a special affection for Massapoag Yacht Club. It's my kind of place. And I was very pleased to see that they received the recognition they deserve in winning the 2009 US Sailing One-Design Yacht Club Award.
What's so special about this club? I can't provide a better answer than to quote what US Sailing said...
Isn't that what it's all about? (Well, apart from that bit about the club being in the shadow of Gillette Stadium which isn't literally true unless the stadium casts a shadow over four miles long.)
• A small, all-volunteer club comprised of 70 member families, located in the shadow of Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots.
• MYC hosted their 63rd annual regatta including Flying Scots, Day Sailors, Sunfish and Lasers.
• They organize five racing series’ during the year, including over 150 races over the course of the sailing season.
• The self-help spirit of the Club has allowed MYC to keep dues at a minimum while maintaining the ability to host several regattas a year.
• Their Flying Scot fleet is one of the largest in the country. They’ve crowned several National Champions. MYC has hosted the Flying Scot Nationals twice. A number of MYC members are represented as Officers in the Flying Scot Sailing Association.
• MYC hosted the “Area A” eliminations for the U.S. Men's and Women's Sailing Championships, and sent two boats to the Finals in 2009. A club member won the sportsmanship award.
• For nine years the MYC has hosted a Women Skippers Regatta to get more women at the helm position. They also host a singlehanded regatta, in which boats that normally have crew are raced single-handed to test the raw skills of the skippers and improve their understanding of the crew’s responsibilities.
All-volunteer club with low fees making the sport of sailing accessible. One design-racing in a variety of boats. Encouraging more women to participate in sailing. Pursuit of excellence in regatta organization and race management, running national championships and US Sailing Area Eliminations. Family atmosphere encouraging families to sail together and facilitating mentoring across generations.
Isn't this exactly the kind of solution that Nick Hayes is promoting in his books and talks about Saving Sailing? I think so.
Massapoag Yacht Club reminds me in many ways of the last club I belonged to in New Jersey, a club which shares many of these positive features, Hunterdon Sailing Club. People don't join a club like these ones to dine in the restaurant, or play tennis, or swim in the pool. (Mainly because they don't have restaurants, tennis courts or swimming pools.) It's all about the sailing.
So kudos to Massapoag Yacht Club for winning this prestigious award. And every success to all the clubs like them across the country (and the world) that are promoting and encouraging sailing at the grass-roots level. They are the future of our sport.