Commodore: Peter Cohrs
Your Commodore here with a broad ranging “Currents” update on many KYC things from this rather unusual year. This “Currents” includes contributions from Board Mombers, Committee Members and others too.. enjoy..
It’s been a challenging year for us to say the least. Starting in January with the resignation of our manager, followed by the downdraft of Covid in March, and all of it’s stunning effects (membership numbers are down, activity was way down, revenue is down), has had a dramatic effect on your Club. I say with some pride and much thanks, that many members and all staff have come forward with their enthusiasm, creativity and generosity to help make this season a success, rather than the deep disappointment it could have been. There are almost too many to thank....the rampant volunteerism started in mid January and hasn’t waned a bit.. and the sailing season still has five weeks left in it! The future with a possible second wave of C19 could or will be a challenge too!.. that is to say, the volunteers and support will still be needed... and to those who’ve not stepped up or could not, please find ways to do so. Any and all help is both important and appreciated.
On the last day of May, following a double delayed launch, Brian and his crane showed up earlier than expected on the Friday afternoon, and with immense and impromptu efficiency we managed to launch all the boats from the yard. It was a jaw dropping success. Next day, we launched the balance of the breakwater boats and stepped all the masts. I recall some efficiency issues, but then, I may have been a bit too ambitious. Nevertheless, we got it done, and in doing so, the sense of accomplishment was palpable. Most boats had to stay put in the harbour for a while, but sail we did, and in decent time too. During this odd summer, I say “odd”, because among other things, there wasn’t the usual organized chaos and activity brought by our always effervescent learn to sail kids. Their energy was missed! But, don’t worry, we’ll be back, bigger and better next year... plans are already in the works. Our June 20 Commodore’s SOLpast was huge success. Weather was perfect, and over 30 boats sailed the SOLpast. A great way to unofficially kick off the sailing season.
Our ageing infrastructure received some much needed maintenance and damage repair this year, as much as we could afford and squeeze in...thanks to the levy from last AGM, we were able to substantially reinforce our breakwater. Brad and his crew built three new docks for our committee boats, and with the early spring threat of high water, capped the “gas dock”. Brad and crew were part way thru’ assembling the “duck boards” when the high water threat subsided- thankfully, and that project was abandoned. Happily, the level of Lake Ontario has been dropping all summer, and our fears have subsided... NOW, we are concerned that the water may be too low for some boats to be hauled into the yard! The fun never stops.. Brad and crews (paid and volunteer) also did great work on our inventory of outboards, fleet maintenance, breakwater range lights, and so on. Work done well by all involved. Maintenance budgets are barebone, necessities only, resourcefulness and ingenuity- a must! Hope and prayers are doing double duty this year as well. Putting any necessary money into our infrastructure will need careful planning and fundraising efforts to ensure the future of our club and of course, the agreement of the membership.
This year has NOT been kind to us. With significantly reduced revenue we will suffer a financial loss, altho’ it is hoped not a cash loss. That said, the picture is not rosy. We have taken advantage of every available program to reduce costs. Grants, deferrals, whatever was/is available, we employed. Still, beyond reduced and subsidized payroll, we have to pay taxes, account for depreciation and maintain our infrastructure. We have done the absolute bare minimum, and brutal, seemingly unfair measures had to be employed from time to time to get through. I can say with certainly, what we did manage to was exceptional, but is still not enough. All that we have had to defer, we still have to do, when we can afford to pay. What was a deep deferred pile of maintenance and upgrade tasks, is now even deeper.
The Future of KYC:
A committee was struck last fall to look at the future of KYC. As I mentioned at the 2019 AGM, everything is, or could be on the table. The survival and thriving of KYC is what is needed. The monkey on our back is our old clubhouse, what it sits on, and what we need beyond what we have.. It’s ancient, It’s crumbling slowly. It hasn’t been maintained like it should due to many reasons from the past. So, we’re between gravity and a mushy place. The committee has, or is doing a number of things.. building financial models of what we’ve GOT, and financial models of what we NEED. Those financial models would include costing of expanding what we have here. The vice(s) we are in are: a clubhouse too small to successfully host outside events (weddings etc) which pay well. Our harbour is too small by at least it’ full self, to moor members boats... members whose financial contributions fund much of what we do.. we simply need at least double (financial models pending) the boats and triple the members to make a long term go of it. Servicing the new clubhouse debt, along with everything else is expected to be flushed out. The Committee has also had exploratory discussions with the City of Kingston about waterfront assets and has asked for information on their current operations at Portsmouth Olympic Harbour (POH). To be clear, we are not in negotiations as we are still in the fact finding stage of options for our infrastructure and location. We will pay due diligence to explore all options to secure the future of our club. Regardless of where we end up, any scenario is a difficult job, logistically, financially, and comes with risk- lots of it. And of course, the proposed course of action will have to be member approved.
And....Lots of GOOD News!
Our new sailing chair, Tom Wilson, mentored by Ken Martin, has done yeoman’s work on getting us racing, within the restrictions of C19. Not easy, as C19 protocols were a moving target. Out of the darkness that is C19, a new cruisers race start evolved. Nice to see many cruisers racing their boats on race night. Since we’re into phase 3, we’ve managed to sail most of the races as planned, except for races that would send us into American waters- a potentially perilous adventure! Kudos to the omnipresent Ross Cameron who has rewritten, many times, our sailing instructions. Thanks to Tom, his committee members and all who have helped out to make a sailing season emerge from a potentially saison noir.
Learn To Sail
Despite a slight delay to the sailing camp season due to Covid, we were able to build a new online sailing program and get our 420 and 29er race team out on the water along with a few CanSail 3/4 summer sailing campers. We were even able to accommodate 6 new adult learn-to- sailors.
With the excitement to finally get out on the water, our community club had a terrific year with over 40 skippers regularly skipping our club sharks and Jessie. On Mondays, thanks to volunteer Erika Vines, we launched a very successful Monday Night Dinghy night with as many as 12 dinghys out there.
Although CV swept away the planned 2020 regatta program, the Club was able to host a fundraising Pageant for Easter Seals in July, and raised nearly $5,000 thanks to the generosity and efforts of members and sponsors. It is hoped that a more formal event will find its way into the 2021 calendar.
At the beginning of October, KYC will host FORK - a regatta for foiling kite boards. It should be a spectacle. Finally, an inaugural Frostbite series will take place through October (Sunday mornings, 1030 starts, nosh in the club after). Any interested racers - please sign up...
After a Cruising season of cancelled Cruising Events and postponed Musters (the monthly get together for the Cruisers at the Club, 3rd Wednesday of each month @5pm) we finally were able to put together an organized event at Jemmett’s that we named the Bigly Muster Corn Thingie on Labour Day w/e. We had 12 boats docked, rafted, moored and anchored. Peter and Wilma performed a spirited renaming ceremony for their new boat now officially, “Clipper”. After we boiled/steamed the corn for everyone, folks cooked their own meats and other things on the charcoal grill and then everyone relaxed to enjoy the fire, the good company, and the scotch making the rounds. The next morning Linda and Chris cooked 36 Eggs Benedict, an amazing and tasty accomplishment. It can't be said that Cruisers don't eat well. The whole event was a riotous success and there were calls for it to be an annual event. So, see you there next Labour Day.
F-101/ Canadian Foiling Centre
Way back in December at the CCCP (Commodore’s Commandeered Cocktail Party) John Angus and your’s truly “cornered” ace sailor Susan Fraser, and deemed her a "strategic corporate asset", in that she is a qualified “foiler” after travelling to a foiling centre in Spain to become a certified foiling instructor. One thing led to another, and between Sue, John, and Ross, the “Canadian Foiling Centre” was born. Once again, KYC is on the vanguard of an exciting form of sailing. Other than about 150sf of breakwall area, KYC has no skin in this game. The CFC is an independent operator at KYC. The hope is that the CFC will become a part of KYC once greater interest is developed. Several club members have had a "try to fly" as CFC is offering club members a greatly reduced rate. The F101 is exciting to watch. and probably even more exciting to sail!...
And, as a devout Canadian, I think the boat should be a CF-101!
Along with a new summer menu and Brandon's dazzling summer beer and cocktails on the best patio in Kingston, KYC hosted a local singer-songwriter summer music series that sold out 5 weeks straight. It was the place to be on a Wednesday night!
Winter Social Acitivities
It is hoped that we will remain in Stage 3 of CV lenlency. If so, we’re working on opening up the Clubhouse as much as is allowable to host... trivia night(s), perhaps some tastings, dining evenings... all of which will have to be Covid compliant.
I can’t say enough about the quality of our members. Many, many generous members came out to contribute to solve this year’s challenges. From Board members “zoom” meetings weekly for three months, to developing and implementing a C19 safe system, the launch, donation of C19 media and equipment, jigging of the racing setup, running ALTS successfully, to improvising the cruising schedule... not to mention all the behind the scenes activities, fleet maintenance and repairs, IT maintenance and upgrading and... helping out our new manager get into it in a big and unexpected way. Thanks to ALL... without your deep and dedicated efforts, this year would have been even more difficult than it has been. It girds my optimism that we can counter almost anything thrown at us.
Your staff have had a tough time of C19, but have endured very well in my opinion. Staff have been doing their jobs within the ranges that C19 protocols allow. And C19 procedures are sometimes contradictory, puzzling to understand, even harder and more frustrating to implement. So, kudos to our staff for making sure the rules were/are followed to keep us all safe. We all can’t wait for this to be over, as I know C19 fatigue has set in with staff and members alike. Thank you staff for being innovative, obedient to the rules, firm, and “calm, cool and collected" in these challenging times. There are more challenging times ahead, so you will need your wits about you. You have our collective support.
In closing, I’d like to once again thank all of our great and generous KYC volunteers who have helped get us this far, this year. Under the circumstances, and to our credit, we’ve done well. There isn’t a day that goes by that I am not grateful for many things. For membership at KYC and all that it brings, for sailing our beautiful waters and enjoying all that sailing in Kingston and KYC has to offer. We are indeed blessed. We’re not done yet. Much is happening to keep us going. Your ongoing support in every fashion will be needed. You are our best endorsers for new members.
And... please... do continue to support your club... it is greatly needed.
On behalf of the Board, and many other contributors,
N. Peter Cohrs,