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January Commodore’s Report

The 2015 Austin Yacht Club Board of Directors approved the 2015 budget, capital improvements plan, and race schedule for the year at our first meeting. This was the result of three half days of meetings prior to the board meeting to discuss the items needing to be replaced at AYC and the financial means available to pay for them.

The continuing management of upkeep and replacement of assets of the club is a major function of the board. We first evaluate what needs to be replaced or repaired as well as new purchases that make our club a better place to be for our members.

The first evidence of this can already be seen in the new board boat docks that are being installed on the Rylander Pavilion. These are the first of the new docks that will eventually replace all of the worn out board boat docks that have served the club for many years.  These four will allow the use of the IPE docks built by club members a few years ago to replace the most worn out of our existing board boat docks.

The last of the pipe/foam docks known as dock 5 will be replaced as well this year. This will be the last of the old style docks and will allow all of our docks to be connected to each other in the same manner.  This will allow them to be used in other arrangements as soon as there is more water in the lake. (Please continue to do rain dances or any other method you may think will help.)

We have been able to meet the safety requirements that the LCRA has asked us to do in the past years. All of our docks now have ramps that are safer to walk on. The junior dock, the main set of docks, and even the race committee dock all have safer new approach ramps.  The main docks are also able to be walked on without having to worry about falling through one of them. Plans are also in the works to provide metal stairs for access to the docks should the lake levels increase to make steps necessary.

At our first board meeting we also approved purchase of queen size beds to replace the futons in all of the cabins. The mattresses on the full size beds are also going to be replaced. The improvement in sleeping accommodations to the cabins should make them more popular and a better value. Other improvements are also planned but will come later in the year as finances allow.

The Long Range Planning Committee with the help of Doug Kern has completed a new survey of the club membership. We had a response from almost half of our membership, which is a great response.  There will be a full report later from the LRPC, but I wanted to address some of the results and comments members have made.

The impressions from those who responded to the survey of how well the club is meeting their expectations was generally very favorable. Meeting the goals of the club to provide a good experience for racing sailboats was very evident. The lower lake levels of the past few years have made this even more difficult. The board is very aware of the difficulties faced by those who trailer their boats and has done its best to address these problems. The board has spent over $200,000 over the last three years to improve the ability to launch and recover boats. The fact remains that we are limited to only doing some projects after the water has gone. Much time and effort has been given by many of our members searching for solutions to this problem. The metal ramp that was constructed by volunteers is the best solution we have so far. Other locations for placement of this ramp have been researched and we will continue to look for better solutions. Because we are now operating in what should be the bottom of the lake, we are unable to make permanent changes, for example paving, because of LCRA regulations and costs of doing this even if allowed.

Some other suggestions and comments in the survey related to providing electricity and water on the docks.  The costs associated with this as well as the difficulty when our docks are so far from their full lake level positions makes this even less possible. One solution for working on your boats is to borrow a generator that many of the HydroHoist owners have to power their hoists. These will make a repair project a bit easier to accomplish.

Present and likely future government regulations and codes have made the option of a third floor on the clubhouse impossible unless we totally replace the existing clubhouse.  Unfortunately many of these suggestions require huge amounts of money, and they are contrary to the basic principle of making the Austin Yacht Club as affordable as possible for anyone interested in the sport of racing sailboats.

Your 2015 Board of Directors is doing its best to make membership at the Austin Yacht Club as enjoyable as possible and a place you are proud to call your sailing home.

Please mark your calendar for March 8 for the Opening Day Brunch and Ceremony before the first race of the Spring Series.