Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The New Commodore

And so the yacht club has a new commodore. Many of the members are excited about his election. And it has triggered me to make an important decision...

To be sure not all the members are welcoming the election of our new leader. Some are concerned that he is a body surfer from Hawaii. We've never had a body surfer from Hawaii as commodore before and some of the crustier old members can't handle it. I say, get over it. Body surfers are sailors too. Or something.

Some even say he used to pal around with cat sailors. So what? Maybe he learned something useful from hanging out with cat sailors, though I can't imagine what.

But, as I said, most members are thrilled about our new commodore. To be sure he has a tough time ahead of him. As my friend Greg Andkris said, the previous commodore "nearly bankrupted the club over the past eight years, pursuing international domination in events that were not recognized as important by our club members." However, there's every reason to believe that, with support from all the members, the new guy will be able to correct the course the club has been sailing and steer us into calmer waters.

And now I have a confession to make. I'm not really a member of this club. Sure, I've been sailing here for twenty years but I never applied for full membership. I have one of those weird provisional memberships which lets me participate in all the club activities, and I do have to pay the same dues as the rest of you. Only difference is that I don't get to vote in club elections, which is a shame because I would love to have cast my vote for the new commodore. Here look, here's my membership card. No, it's not green. Why would you think that? It's pink.

I'm actually still a member of UKYC. That's that quaint little old club on the other side of the lake. It was quite a fine institution in its day but has fallen on hard times recently. The commodore is that doddery old girl who has been in the job for over 50 years. They say that when she kicks the bucket her crazy son with the big ears will take over. What a way to run a yacht club!

I have no real excuse for not applying for full membership of USYC before. I love the club. The members are very friendly, the grounds are magnificent, and the sailing waters are second to none. And I have long admired the ideals that led the founding members to create this unique society.

But the truth is that, much as I love the club. I haven't had a lot of faith in its leadership while I've been sailing here. At least, not until now.

The 41st commodore was an accomplished fellow, but he always seemed a bit of a wimp to me. After he promised that he would never raise the dues, and then went ahead and did exactly that, I lost all faith in him.

I had high hopes of the 42nd commodore. He seemed to have a lot of good ideas and he certainly put the club finances on a sound footing. But I could see right from the beginning that he was a bit of a lady's man. And he totally lost my respect after that unfortunate incident with the young female sailing instructor in the locker room.

What can I say about #43? I suppose the members elected him because he was a good chap to have a beer with in the club bar. But what kind of qualification for leadership is that? I think most members of the club are now relieved that his term is over. I hear that he is going to give up sailing for good and take up riding horses instead.

And so we are all looking forward to #44. He has promised change for the club. God knows we need it. I wish him well. And now that the club has a leader whom I admire personally and whose philosophy I share, I think it's time I signed up for full membership.


Mal Kiely [Lancelots Pram] said...

Time to submit ur membership to a certain 'club', perhaps? lol

I'm loving ur analogies - thanks!!!

Mal :)

Joe said...

Oh hell yeah! We want you as full voting member, then maybe we'll finally get some good beer.

The O'Sheas said...

Ahem, Joe the Geographically Challenged Cervisaphile, there's plenty o'great beer out here in Stumptown. You show up and I'll tour you around our fair city and buy you at least one in some of my favorite brewpubs.

Just ask somebody where Greg Andkris lives when you get to town.

The O'Sheas said...

If it helps bring more solemnity to the situation, we could refer to the body surfer as a former Ocean Sports Elective student.

anchorh said...

Membership has its responsibilities and also its benefits.The work weekends tend to go on forever for the hard-working members. I think that the new Commodore will do a lot to grow the membership (a great buffet at the club for new members, especially those who are transferring from smaller clubs with fewer amenities).

David said...

Tillerman, Tillerman, yes, please join the club. May I be your sponsor? My Momma finally gave up her UKYC membership after nearly 40 years milking her "racing member" status in our club over here.

Anonymous said...

I did it with a lot of reservation a couple of years ago. Partly for tax reasonss, partly cos this is where I live but mostly cos I wanted to vote. I figured after 2004, that it might not make much difference given that I live in NJ but dammit enough already. I never imaggined that my first vote for a president woube in such a historic election.

I am finally, nconditonally proud to be a full paid up memmbr of the US Club!

PS: Although I will still be shouting for England in any world cup in any sport.

Fred said...

Great post Tillerman!
Coming back into the blogging world after a lot of caretaking the biz, the baby, the boy, the house and such I was absolutely pleased to read this great piece of text. Lot´s to catch up on yours and other sailing blogs, I guess. Many entries ready in my head but just no quiet moment to put ´em down.

Anonymous said...


As a member UKYC i'm a bit hazy on your club politics but your insight and analogy have been both illuminating and entertaining - Long Live Proper Course.

Id just like to pick you up on one aspect of my club (UKYC) you are correct in your analysis that the current commodore is bothe elderly and femail and that the commodore elect, though quite amusing, is more plant than human. However we at least had the sense to remove all executive power from the commodore some years ago and retain the position purely for ceremonial duties. Mind you don't lets start on the commercial director or membership secretary for UKYC!

Tim Coleman said...

Well if I were you I would do the deal. I had the privelage of sailing with the USYC for a few years and it was fun and there is much to commend it. Mind you I think all YCs re going to have some rough weather ahead and I think we all need to turn our attention the state of the lake before we have no lake to sail on.

Dr J said...

Tillerman, you made me cry, again. When the new Commodore quoted from Lincoln's Gettysburg address, I totally lost it.

I am so proud to be a voting member of USYC.

If you need a sponsor, count me in.

EVK4 said...

The USYC should be proud to have a member as upstanding as you. But you do know the rules, right? You can never be Commodore. It's unfortunate because I'd probably vote for you.

Pat said...

Ah but I can remember some years back when we had a Club Secretary, Henry, who though not eligible to become Commodore, still had immense clout and respect. History remembers him far more kindly than the Commodore he served.

Good luck and Godspeed on your application.

Tillerman said...

Thank you Edward. I am well aware that Article 2 of the club rules would not allow me to serve as commodore. I think that's a very good thing because, at all the other sailing clubs to which I have belonged, sooner or later somebody tried to twist my arm to become Fleet Captain, or Commodore, or some similar thankless office. At USYC I will have the perfect excuse.

And I am also pleased to note that Article 2 of the rules also prevents that frightful Arnold chappie who hangs out on your side of the marina from becoming commodore too.

Tillerman said...

Ah yes Pat. Wasn't Henry something of an expert on aphrodisiacs?

In any case, I don't want to be club secretary either. I hate taking minutes.

O Docker said...

It's been a happy week at USYC.

They've been singing sea shanties on the docks. Old seadogs have had tears in their eyes. And now you've given us a new reason to smile.

I just hope you like your beer cold.

Vigilante said...

The Club, USYC, will soon be on the proper course, no long holding to an improper course.

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