Welcome the month of May and the spring winds. Actually, spring winds have been a little less than hoped for, but we still are havin’ fun. Racing is in full swing and we have Mother’s Day and Memorial Day social events coming soon. Come out and enjoy the fun at Eagle Creek Sailing Club. This article was posted a few days late in order to wait for results of the May 10 Board of Directors Meeting. There was a very busy agenda to report on. It seemed important to use this article to talk about the significant work underway. The Grounds Committee completed a significant assessment of all facilities to assess condition. This will guide capital and maintenance plans over the next few years. Overall, we see a need to accelerate maintenance in some areas. We are queuing up structural work on the lower shelter and upper shelter deck. The Emerald Ash Borer killed several ash trees that need removal. The L dock rebuild is nearly complete. We will likely purchase a new outboard motor for our second committee boat known affectionately as the aircraft carrier. Also, some picnic tables are in line for repair or replacement. Some lighting improvements are also in the works. We have a punch list of additional improvement opportunities. In consideration of the maintenance opportunities, our Board approved an additional 15 hours of work credits in 2017 to be applied to 2018 dues for incremental work above the usual 15 hours. These apply to Harbormaster and Grounds work only. We want to fully support the volunteer spirit that does so much to improve ECSC. Look for a list of opportunities in the near future. We will also supplement with outside help as appropriate. We also met with Citizen’s Energy last month about lake levels. Citizen’s is under contract with the city to maintain the dam and lake level. You may have noticed the average lake level has been higher the last few years. This has contributed to shore and seawall erosion. They now have a better understanding of lake level impacts. One less popular item is the approval to increase initiation fees by $250 starting January 1, 2018. This fee has been stable for many years. Our facilities are at capacity and our capital improvement assessment has shown the need for additional funds in the near future. Accelerating maintenance and capital replacement is a less fun, but important part of continuing the outstanding experience for members of ECSC. Sailing season is now in full swing! Be safe, have fun, and sail fast. Larry Conrad
Welcome spring! The first Saturday of April was filled with activity at ECSC. It is always encouraging to see so many people working to have our club ready for the season. The kitchen area was completely cleaned and organized. Another crew pulled everything out of the upper storage area and re-organized it. The boat lift, safety boat and R/C boat are in the water and ready for the first race on April 12. The grounds are cleaned of leaves and other debris. Stairway lighting is re-installed. Some sections of dock have been completely re-built (this project is ongoing and will continue until completed – see Harbormaster article) I probably missed a few items so a big THANK YOU goes out to all of the volunteers and organizers. It is our members that make Eagle Creek Sailing Club the best sailing club on the planet. We are seeing a steady stream of new members. Many members are busily cleaning and prepping their boats for launching. Some boats are already in the water. It is time to start sailing. For me, the winches have been cleaned and re-greased. The temporary sail loft at my house is closed after sewing a new tri-radial 155 Genoa kit. Hopefully S/V Delightful will sail a little faster in light wind and no longer need to take a 3 second penalty for oversized sails. The cruiser fleet is growing and getting more competitive. It is always fun learning to sail just a little better every year. Hope to see you soon at ECSC. Your Commodore, Larry Conrad
Sailing season is getting closer every day. Spring will be here in less than a month. The first race of the season is just a month and a half away. We are all getting anxious to go sailing. Speaking of warmer weather, our past Commodore Perry Cameron wrote last year about sailing in March to take advantage of the strong winds. Rumor has it that he beat March by a month this year. Club spies have given me reports that his J24 was seen out sailing on some of the warm February days we had last month. Now that is real dedication to sailing. Sailing soothes my soul. There is something special about gliding through the waves using only the wind for power. Tweak a sheet, traveler or other line and feel the speed change. Tune everything so the tiller feels good and the windex points just right. Feel the boat get in that groove and just go. Worries fade away when I focus on sailing. Our Eagle Creek Sailing Club makes sailing even better. Social events, regattas, education programs and racing all enhance our experience. Drop the hook and raft up with friends for a relaxing day on the water. Watch our youth learn to sail and represent our club at regional events. Learn new skills from fellow club members. ECSC members are always ready to welcome and help each other. Are you ready for the season to begin? I know I am. Larry Conrad
Just when thoughts of sailing entered our minds, January turned cold again. However sailing season is only two and a half months away. Board members and Committees are busy making plans for an exciting 2017 season. Sailing related opportunities are ever increasing as the time draws near. We encourage all members to submit their membership renewals and enjoy the many advantages of being a part of our sailing community. I stopped by the Club on Wednesday before the first race seminar. The boats all looked secure as they quietly waited to get back into the water. It was nice to see a bald eagle fly overhead. The eagle seemed to be watching over our gear and making sure all will be ready for spring. I also attended the race rules and tactics seminar held at ISC last month. The wind was up and halyards were making their music. They slapped against masts anxious to hoist sails once again. It was good to see so many ECSC sailors enhancing their knowledge on all things racing and getting ready to go sailing once again. We’ll be on the water sooner than you think. Larry Conrad Commodore
Happy new year to all ECSC members! We all hope you had a safe and happy holiday season. A special extra welcome goes out to all new members in 2016. The days are already getting longer, and we can start thinking about the 2017 sailing season. Maybe it will be a new sail, bottom paint, or even a new boat. Some will attend a sailing seminar, or go to the boat show in Chicago. Even better is to go south to keep our sailing skills sharp in warmer waters. My bucket list includes winch maintenance and other needs. It is never too soon to dream about the next sailing season. Our Board approved a good 2017 operating budget at our December meeting. Our January meeting will start detailed planning for our 2017 season. It will also start updating the long term plan for capital replacment or improvement needs. Please feel free to contace me or another board member with suggestions. Larry Conrad Commodore
Sadly, the colder weather is upon us. Most boats are out of the water. Some members will be continuing their sailing adventures in warmer climates. The rest of us are a bit envious, but we wish you safe and happy sailing. This is a good time to reflect on the season behind us and start planning for next year. All will agree 2016 was a very good year for ECSC. We had the benefit of a great leadership team and generous volunteer support. Social events were great. The racing and education programs enjoyed high levels of participation with many new sailors and racers. Boat trailer parking improved with the removal of several derelict boats. The web site is better organized with a new look and feel. There are many more. Please give a big “thank you” to the 2016 team and volunteers for the many benefits we enjoyed as members of ECSC. The 2017 team will work hard to make next year a success next year. We are already working to complete 2017 budgets in December. We will work to preserve and improve on the 2016 successes. We want to continue making ECSC a fun and safe place for sailors of all ages. We will also work to have an adequate cash reserve for major capital replacement projects. Past Commodores have projected the timing of major capital replacements. Some of those replacements may be drawing near. We have heard concerns about the condition of the boat ramp. Dock board replacement may be accelerating soon due to general age. Lighting maintenance and lighting improvements can further enhance security. The Board and our new Grounds Committee will be carefully reviewing the capital plan. Recent Bylaw changes will have their first impacts next year. The most significant change clarifies responsibility for buildings and grounds that are not part of the Harbormaster responsibilities. ECSC had an on site caretaker for many years. We do not have a caretaker now, and there are significant challenges associated with having another. A review of the Bylaws revealed a need to more clearly establish responsibilities for buildings and grounds. Your Board added an new Grounds Committee, chaired by the Vice Commodore. The detailed responsibilities are available in the Bylaws on our improved web site. We hope to improve online access and items to our Ships Store in 2017. Many sailing clubs are starting to use online services that will put our logo on many more items than we can keep in our inventory. Les Miller has agreed to lead this worthy initiative.
We have finally arrived at the dusk of another sailing season. The Hornback Regatta (this weekend) has traditionally marked the beginning of the end of the season. The leaves fall,; the coats come out; some days are nice and some days not so much. Activity around the club begins to increase as it did in the spring. Boats begin to fill up the parking lot and the blue tarps appear. This will be the first year that Sailboats Inc. will no longer be around to assist people in removing and storing boats. I have received several emails from folks wanting help in this matter. My only recourse is to forward their email in hopes someone is willing to help. I am confident that some of the many wonderful people at our club will be happy to assist. It is a good thing our Harbormaster increased the parking space around the club. It appears we will need it to store all the extra boats. Perry Cameron Commodore
Imagine that you are cruising along as smooth as a Cadillac on a newly paved road. You can hear the ice softly rattle against the side of your cup as the puff subsides and the smooth ride shifts gears. The sun feels wonderful on your face this cool day. The coat you are wearing is light but easily keeps you warm. As you feel the heel of the boat subside, relaxation courses through your body, you know that every one of your muscles can just let go and unwind completely. Puff on! You take a sip and feel the pressure increase as you realize intuitively that this girl wants to rise higher to the wind. The more the wind blows, the more she rises until you are in the grove. You love that feeling, the same one you get when a singer leads up and finally hits the high note. The boat heels, the wind whistling by your ears is deafening. The ride is a thrill! Sooner or later the puff relaxes and you take another sip of your drink. It is a sad feeling knowing that sailing season is nearing it’s end, but the last vestige is a good one. It is a windy one, a cool one, a time when hot chocolate sounds better then beer. It is football season, a time for chili and fall leaves. Welcome to September. This sailor’s favorite month of the year! If you like September you may like joining the ECSC board! Let me know your interest. email@example.com