Thursday, March 08, 2007

----------Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 6 Mar 2007 22:16:52 -0700

MARCH 10-11, 2007,
B FLEET (84.1+ DPN)
trophies for top two yachts in each fleet

1:00 pm 1st warning/gun
6:30 pm Social AT CASA TACO
preceded by board meeting

A and B Fleets scored on Portsmouth with wind modifiers/
B Fleet with the addition of headsail modifiers.

Series awards :
Etchells Class - top two/
A fleet - top three
B Fleet - top three
OVERALL - top two yachts ( overall scored on D-PN only)

Larry Jessee

April 26 -- fleet social at Perry and Barb Abernethy's home

Don't forget ... dues were due Feb. 28th and any unpaid dues are now overdue.
RGSC, PO Box 13953, Albuquerque, NM 87192.


Lake conditions as of Wednesday, March 13th

Elephant Butte Lake at noon was at elevation 4,347.38 feet above benchmark and had 605,624 acre feet of water. It was up 1.2 inches and 1,436 a.f. in 24 hours, and up 3.1 inches and 3,727 a.f. in 71 hours. Spring irrigation has not yet started, with only 12 cubic feet per second trickling from the dam. Rio Grande flow at San Acacia is 651 c.f.s. (621 cfs minimum, 709 cfs maximum within past 71 hours).

Heron Lake is at elev. 7,134.99 feet with 162,304 a.f. as of 10 a.m. this morning. It lost 241 a.f. and 5/6" in 24 hours and lost 2.6 inches and 762 a.f. in 71 hours. The marina is in about 9 feet of water (and ice).

E-mail from Buzz.
(a couple of editorial notes: since the time of the survey, the Elephant Butte Inn has asked for a fee of $87 for us to have either skippers meetings or dinners there. The DamSite patio has been torn up for renovation, and the Dam Site is unable to host our skippers' meetings at this time. Also, were the club to dissolve, our by-laws provide that our assets would be given to US Sailing or a suitable nonprofit.)

Hello Everyone!

A couple of months ago I sent out a survey to members. I needed to know what you felt about things and that would give me guidance for the direction to lead the Club. The results of the survey are below. We are at a critical junction for our Club. We have several directions that we can go, including continuing with Status Quo. I have tried to remove all the names of the respondents to protect some anonymity. I included all responses and they are in random order. Please take a few minutes to read them.

This weekend, per our By-laws, there will be a Board Meeting and a General Membership meeting after the Spring Series 1 Race on Saturday night. The meeting will take place at Casa Taco in Elephant Butte. The Board will meet at 5:30 and the General Membership meeting will take place at 6:30 during dinner. If you would like to attend the Board Meeting, please feel free to do so.

Please try to attend the dinner, the majority of the meeting will be discussing the survey and your input is important to me and the other members of the Board. If you won't be able to attend and you have any feedback on the survey, please feel free to email, or call me!
The weather looks good and it should be a great weekend for sailing and racing!
Hope to see you Saturday!

Survey Results:


* No. I think one of the points of the club is that we have boats or have access to boats. If we have a boat, it would be more like the flying club we used to belong to, where we owned part of the planes. I, for one, have no interest in arguments over club-owned boat (we have issues right now as is) or maintaining a boat thru the club. We have enough taking care of our own boat.

* To me it seems that the Club needs something now. Real Estate would be great, that's a big commitment. A boat on the other hand would be a much smaller commitment. Now that the Club has a mast up storage area and has done fine with it, a larger commitment seems to be in order. A boat could be kept at the mast up storage easily accessible. And while it is true a boat does require maintenance, not nearly the amount that a property and building would require

* I don't think we need a boat. I think most people would like to do committee boat work on their own boat. Initial price, docking costs, maintenance, insurance, and damage by multiple operators would weigh down the club and suck energy from other projects. Often it is not a question of whether an idea is good or not, but how the idea fits in with all the other ideas, projects, and obligations that the club serves.

* A good committee boat would be a plus. One that could move marks and provide assistance if needed.

* Why does the club need a boat, every body in the club should own their own boat. Also the club may find it difficult or at least an added expense to cover the Insurance liability of a club owned boat loaned out to others. Who will store and maintain this boat? Not knowing why the club would need a club owned boat my vote would be NO.

* I am against buying a boat for several reasons. Having been in a club situations ( Albuquerque Soaring Club, and a couple of air plane clubs) that were different but at the same time similar, I know first hand (having been president) the headaches that go along with such an enterprise. First, only a small % of the club will use it - these folks usually are the "takers" of the world and more apt to tear up things and not fix them. Secondly the liability that goes with it is too great a risk, and even though the club members would be protected, the club could lose all assets. Thirdly, a great % of the members would be subsidizing a few ( people break things and don't own up to it). Fourthly, scheduling is an ever present pain. Fifthly, once a club buys anything, it literally becomes the property of the state. If ever the club is disbanded, the State of New Mexico becomes the proud owner

* Sure. Make it the committee boat for races and rent it out in between. How about getting one of the rental places on the lake to provide a committee boat (flag pole and buoy hoist) based on our guarantee of renting it a certain number of times?

* If anything, I think the club should wait for something to be donated. Under the right circumstances, I would donate my Etchells #438 and my Oday 15’.

* Yes

* I don't believe the Club should buy a boat. I'm not certain if anyone knows what the purpose of a boat would be. There are many who would gladly make their boat available if it is to be use in races; to give those not sailing and opportunity to experience the thrill of sailing; whatever

* My thoughts it seems it would be great to have a building/yacht club. That would be my vote. Of course it would have to be close to the water or at least a lake view! Need some where to have a cold beer after the regattas. Or better a House Boat on the water.

* Possibly but the total cost needs to be considered. To include insurance, maintenance, liability, who will in charge or the boat. Will it benefit the entire club and how... I am for this under the right circumstances..

* Depends upon what you would use it for, the price, location, etc.


* As far as to what kind of boat the Club gets, I don't think it really matters much there will be a lot of opinions on that later if it comes to that.

* Ideally, the club should have a power boat (pontoon) for committee and socials, a large racing sailboat (Etchells), and maybe a couple training dinghys. Obtaining the boat is the easy part. At this point, it seems there is always availability for people to crew on someone’s boat. It would be real easy for these boats to be abused, and may prevent someone from investing in their own boat.

* I think that if the club is interested in a boat it needs to one that promotes/supports the club activities. Therefore, if it were to be a sailing boat, it should be one that would promote class growth, currently j24's or Etchells. If the club was interested in buying a power boat, it needs to be one that could/should be used as a committee boat like they have at the Arizona yacht club (pontoon type). This could be supported by the use of a small fishing/ski type boat that could be used to set the inflatable marks that the club already owns.

* Houseboat (just saw one for sale that is licensed for up to 40 people - more than we usually have at any event - and has a 115 hp outboard) Rich & I are going to look at it this coming weekend.
Advantages: cheaper than a building; if on a mooring, is readily accessible to all sailors & less accessible to non-sailors; could support a power boat for races and emergencies; could be maintained by club members and their collective knowledge; can be moved, if necessary, due to lake conditions. There are probably more but those are for starters.
Disadvantages: no parking - you actually have to have a boat or a dinghy to get there; some maintenance on pontoons, locks, motor will be required, but that would also be true for any facility.

* If purchase of an appropriate "learning boat" would work toward that end, then I'd support purchase of a boat.

* If you were to buy a mine! Just kidding...depending upon why the Club needed a boat would result in the type of boat purchased. If for racing or training folks to race...a racing boat. Otherwise, get a boat like you and I have....again....mine is available for the right price as I'm sure yours would be too.

*Maybe a small sailboat which could be used for racing, and teaching. Then, who is certified to teach. More questions about insurance and Liability.

* One that could be used for training or teaching potential sailors.


* Not interested in this right now either. And what would happen if many people decided to drop out of the club, who would be left paying for the building?

* I suppose if the financial base were such that a building and property were feasible for some time to come, it would be worth it to go that way. However since I have been here not much has happened in that direction ( I think because the financial base may not be here yet.)

*The issue of a building is a much big issue, I think that the club needs to figure out a way to work with the state parks to establish a club facility. This could be the expansion of the mast up storage, club owned docks, hoist, club house ect... I believe that until the club has the ability to "offer" a benefit for club dues there it will always be difficult to grow the club. As the club stands at this point, the club membership is aging and membership is declining with fewer members actively involved. Now it is true that there have been a few new comers but in my 13 years of attending club events there has been a significant decline. I attribute this to two major reasons. First the club has nothing to offer other than a few boats racing (and I am a die hard racer). The boats that do race often engage in bickering that does little to encourage newcomers and when newcomers need help I see no one other than Rich Strasia lending help.

* To bring this back to the issue of a building, I think that if the club actively promoted jr sailors, power boats and multiple types of sailing craft we could approach the state parks as a non-exclusionary club that was truly "friends of the butte", we could gain the ability to have docks, mast up storage, a club house, hoists ect... We might need to be viewed as a concessionaire or perhaps we would qualify as another type of entity. I think that Richard Ditmare did a great thing in getting club control of the mast up, but lets not rest on our laurels there is much more work to be done.

* I'm "brand new", and therefore lack perspective on degree of involvement, age composition of membership, available time of members, etc. So, I'm reluctant to express anything more than the following: A building which is less than optimally utilized is a drag on the resources of the owner. Unless there are enough "active" members who will both use and maintain the facility, its acquisition would be dubious.

* A 'Yacht Club' house would be a good foundation for the RGSC in that we then would build on it and gain substance in the sailing community. This also would bring the club together in a more meaningful way other than a paper club with a box of Fog Horn news letters as our legacy.

* I don't think we need a clubhouse. Unless things have changed under the new owners, the Damsite has virtually been our clubhouse. The Damsite has food and drink, and it has a dock. Those of us who are trailersailers can have dinner and a pitcher, and stumble down to the boat. If we withdraw our business from the Damsite, it makes them less likely to supply the freebees that they have given us in the past

* What might be the pros and cons of some sort of floating clubhouse, as a sort of part-way step toward a permanent on-land clubhouse?

* In years far long past, the club had a couple (one and a half?) of small improvised houseboats that blew away in storms. But, the NMSC has had its floating shed and pavilion for about 18 years at Heron, and people such as Bob Ellsworth have kept floating houseboats at the Butte for many years. The cost of a marina mooring would be reasonable, and perhaps we could keep at least a few small dinghies on a rack or tie a small club keelboat alongside, or even have raftups.

* One potential disadvantage is that a floating clubhouse would not have the life expectancy of an on-land home, and would not likely appreciate in value or be as salable. And, houses on land are typically less likely to sink, even though they suffer from other problems. But, if the floating clubhouse were cost-effective, it could serve its purpose for long enough to help grow the club for quite some years.

*When the club has access to the restaurant and hotels as well as other places to meet, then I do not see the need for a club owned building. What would we be doing that is not permissible in these places? Before the club buys a building why not rent one of the vacant spaces at Elephant Butte. How about working out an alliance with the Moose lodge, American Legion or other organization that could see a benefit as well.

*As long as the Strasia’s are happily sharing their home, there doesn't appear to be a need. It seems the club should contribute $ towards things at their home (i.e. paying for Internet, phone, and possibly some utilities). If we had bought a couple years ago, the property would have almost doubled in value. I'm not sure we can expect that anymore. I think if an opportunity arises, we should take it, but not just buy something to have it. I really haven't seen a big need for a clubhouse

* Be sure to buy cleaning and maintenance service contract to go with the club house (and the boat). Will the club house have a kitchen, bar, cook, bartender and waitresses? Will it be smoke free?(slipping only slightly into sarcasm mode) I think the Damsite is the perfect location, maybe we ought to run the whole resort and marina? We're a Yacht Club after all.

* No (see above)

* Buying a building is easier to agree with than purchase of a boat. If we are truly a sailing would be nice to have a place to go and relay, hold potlucks, invite non-club members too. However, this is one heck of a commitment and raising the membership fees (while I wouldn't mind the increase to $100 annually -- it would still be a bargain) it might -- in fact I think you could expect -- that the membership would drop by at least 25 to 35%. So, you need to keep that in mind.

* My thoughts it seems it would be great to have a building/yacht club. That would be my vote. Of course it would have to be close to the water or at least a lake view! Need some where to have a cold beer after the regattas. Or better a House Boat on the water.

* Not at this time or in the near future. This raises all the other question above. Cost, insurance, maintenance, and who will run it. Did I mention COST. A $100 a year would not touch the costs involved. There was a survey of most of the member, which I have the results. The majority thought it was a good idea, or they needed more info... However, the large major would not support it thru and increase in Dues. There are other comments which I will share with you, if you want.

* Sounds like a good idea if there are enough club members who would use it on a regular basis and if the money for purchase was available. It may help to recruit new members, and increase the interest in sailing.


* Not interested in $100 dues!

*The dues would then be a support toward an investment and therefore would be very acceptable at anything in the $100 or $200 per year range.

* As a very casual member of the club I will not be a member if the due’s go up that high.
* As for raising dues, I would balk at $100 a year. I try to support both clubs here in the state even though my sailing time is limited.

* I've saved $thousands from reciprocal privileges. Any reasonable amount is fine, however, I'm not sure there is still a need to raise dues with the new mast-up income.

* I'd probably just sign up for a membership that would let me race but not provide clubhouse rights. Maybe just pay "Non-member rates" at the races. But that's just me. I've got other outlets for socializing.

* Not enough money.. many would drop out. Who would maintain it? who would fix meals? clean up? Before and after events?? In my opinion we are not San Diego, La or the such. Therefore I am not in favor at this time.

*I would certainly not object to the increased annual dues.


* Powerboaters? What the…………? My vote is HELL NO.

* Could be interesting, but they aren't sailing. I think we should encourage sailing. We should also encourage education for powerboats on how to safely share the water with sailboats.

* No. I believe the membership only states that they own a boat, not sailboat. I see no need for a separate designation if they desire to be a member of a “sailing” club.

* Isn't this kinda like a private firm "going public" to raise cash? Might have to please shareholders that have very different fundamental values than sailors. Then again, you might have to recruit power boaters if you must have more facilities.


* I don't think creating a powerboat associate membership is feasible. It would be like trying to combine "oil and water". We're different! What advantage to powerboat owners would it be to be part of the sailing club. Now, perhaps if we had a might work...but I'm not certain that it makes sense.

* Power boater is a different breed, and the By-Laws would need changing.

* I would need to think about this question - pros and cons.

* As for the power boat people. Why??? Sorry to be so callus, but that's how I see it.

* No - power boaters bring noise, drunks, and other associated problems. No thanks!, but we could raise it to $50 to support the houseboat.

* I don't think creating a powerboat associate membership is feasible. It would be like trying to combine "oil and water". We're different! What advantage to powerboat owners would it be to be part of the sailing club. Now, perhaps if we had a might work...but I'm not certain that it makes sense.

* If we are a secure and recognized member of the sailing community, than a power squadron would be acceptable within the RGSC.


* As long as there are interested instructors and kids. I see burn-out in a lot of clubs from the members being asked to work too much. I really think that extra work from membership should be compensated in some way, not necessarily with money.

Very much for! The younger they learn, the better.

* Does the lack of junior/family style events exclude families and juniors?

* Yes

* Absolutely! I think a "Junior Sailing" program is highly advisable and needed. Widespread publicity to get juniors to participate by contacting the 100 or so school systems throughout the state would be a great way to secure the future membership of the club.

* Again how would this work? Who would Be in charge? What are the costs involved??

* I am in favor of donations and other activities with any not-for-profit organizations. But I am not sure what specifically you are thinking about.

* Good idea providing you can find qualified instructors.

*The JNROTC is a good example of where our efforts should be directed. This will be especially important if there is a Maritime Academy started up here in Albuquerque and we are in association with it.

*JRROTC/Collegiate sailing programs -- haven't seen much interest from these two other than the presentation a couple of months ago on JRROTC. I think the club has had difficultly getting NMSU students to get involved in sailing -- that's my recollection. Now, can we initiate a more effective involvement...perhaps!

*The club needs a strong focus in the promotion of sailing and youth programs. This will brings us up to the expected standards of a real sailing club and one that supports the sailing community instead of riding the shirttails of others

* Yes

Other Comments:

* In another vein, recently we have had several past members pass away, ie John Bristol, Darold Rhodes, and others. Some before my time, never the less, their effect is still felt by the club. Here is a suggestion, Rather than having the "Governors' Cup" (Who incidentally could care less as to how much water we have) or some of the other generic named or seasonal acknowledged racing events, the events or races could be named after them. These individuals who have done much for the sport of sailing in NM could be honored, as to having a Race Cup named after them.

* If the Rio Grande Yacht Club restaurant is no longer working, we should secure the RGYC and keep the name in reserve for the future.

* I think a concern should be that only a few people are doing most the work. We are now financially capable of growth, but I haven't seen much effort from most the membership. Basic things like the Ship’s Store, web site, treasurer’s position, race committee, etc. should be looked at long term before additional commitments are added. Do most the members want to contribute anything? Do they just want to show up occasionally and go sailing? What would happen if the Stracia’s and Byrne's’ weren't around? If we're spread too thin, everything will suffer.

* Here is my concern....I think we need to take some giant steps in expanding the activities of the club. Some of us (ME) have not been as active as we might like because of other family concerns and events taking place. My BIGGEST concern over sailing at Elephant Butte is the lack of overnight slips for those of us that might show up on a Saturday morning, setup our boat, sail in the afternoon and then have to take everything down and do it all over again on Sunday. If there were "visitor slips" available at the existing marinas for a decent rate $5 to $20 a night; if the club had a section of a marina dedicated to its members so that those members not having a slip could use a slip overnight (perhaps for two or three nights at a time -- perhaps limiting use to a sailor to no more than three consecutive nights at a fair rate), this would result in more of us going to Elephant Butte. I would think that all the marinas would have vacant spaces that could be used for this purpose -- especially during the season that the sailing club races (late fall to April/May).

As a matter of fact Buzz...the underlined comments would probably benefit the club more in terms of membership, etc., if it could be accomplished. As an alternative, having 3 or 4 spaces in the mast up area for overnight guests would certainly make it more inviting for me and other club members to show up and participate. As it is now, I don't want to spend 1 1/2 hours putting up the mast, pull the boat out of the water at night and then spend time taking down the mast, only to go thru the whole thing the next morning and evening. That's what is so inviting about the Herron Lake group...they have spaces that can be rented for $10 a night.
That's my 2-cents worth!

* My thoughts it seems it would be great to have a building/yacht club. That would be my vote. Of course it would have to be close to the water or at least a lake view! Need some where to have a cold beer after the regattas. Or better a House Boat on the water. Really, I'm happy with the club putting on races…. Anything else is bonus.

* In summary I have found there are a lot of good ideas, that are not practical for our club at this time. Many suggested idea do not get support from the club. i.e. participation. It has been difficult to have board member and officers show up for board meeting. Creating a non-profit sister organization, might help in many of the things, you are considering.

* Here's my $0.02 worth. (amazing what two cents can buy these days).
I have experience with another club that was in a similar state that RGSC seems to be. We were an official University Climbing Club that acted like a small group of friends that got together every couple of weeks for some climbing and went on trips during vacations. We were very close and for the past 20 years the club had been able to provide all the climbing service that the UW needed (a few lessons and comradery). Turns out that lots more folks wanted more service (lessons), and one of the other clubs (the Outing Club) started giving lessons to anyone who asked. The climbing club lost it's source of new members and is now dead. No meetings, no trips, no people. just shriveled up and blew away because we weren't willing to modify the club to meet the needs of the group it serviced, EVEN THOUGH the individuals in that group changed every year.

I think that you ought to think about the RGSC from a "fundamental issues" perspective. Sure we've got some additional cash now from the mast up and we could just up and spent it, but that is micro-managing the club. As lordhighmuckymuck I think that you ought to be looking at the big picture first (a "Vision" if you will), then move towards executing that vision by doing small tasks like building a clubhouse or buying a boat. Yes these are the small things. The big difficult task will be getting long-time members to buy into the changes. Keep in mind that the Commadoragrande may need to do some unpopular things that are in the best interest of the club as a whole.

So, I think you ought to start here: The real underlying question really is "What kind of growth do we wish the club to have and at what cost ($$ and social/personal costs)?"

You might get folks thinking about it by outlining four different conditions the club could be in, or growth phases the club could go through, in the next five (ten?) years.

1) Dissolve - Shut the club down. Let Rich run the mast up to his profit. (this option is usually included in this sort of chartering just to keep folks remembering the full range of possibilities).

2) Status quo - Small group of friends that get together every couple of weeks for some messing about in boats. Hope that enough folks seek club to maintain census.

3a) Slight growth - More friends involved, more races, more cruises. Actively seeking to increase census.
3b) Slight growth - More toys, more services. Providing an increased but low/basic level of facilities/services.

4) Moderate growth - More friends and some more service available. Actively seeking to increase census plus providing an increased but low/basic level of facilities/services

5) Large growth - Lots more friends and service/facilities available, like a big-city ocean-front Yacht Club, compete with Dam site resort and the Butte motel, Get Dennis Conner to join.

Once you reach a consensus on which "Vision" is appropriate (this could take months) then the answers to your questions below may already be answered. but basically you still have to develop a plan to achieve the Vision. Take into account that you need to ensure the longevity of the club by exercising lots of prudence. If the club takes a giant leap, there must be mechanisms (not just persons) in place to support the changes several years in the future. (fyi...I've heard that the club used to have a boat)

* I believe powerboat owners are already entirely welcome to join the RGSC and we don't really have anything in the by-laws that excludes them. One of our southern fleet captains was a powerboat owner several years back (Lee Attaway and Art E.). We do say single and dual (full) members need to own a yacht as defined by US Sailing ... but then I've searched and can't find anywhere in US Sailing's web site where they define a "yacht", and US Sailing doesn't require yacht or boat ownership for US Sailing membership. All I have is the dictionary definition of a small water vessel, owned privately and used exclusively for pleasurable purposes including racing, cruising, and other recreation.

What we could do for powerboat owners is create a fleet for them, design activities to appeal to them, and invite them to help us with our other activities, such as raft ups, committee and safety boat service, etc.

The closest example of a club that's somewhat like the RGSC that has gotten a clubhouse that I know of is the Dillon Yacht Club. It has a modular building that's about 40 x 24' and is adjacent to a privately operated bar and marina on land owned by the Denver Water Board. I imagine the land is leased from the Water Board.

Differences and similarities: medium-sized club, seasonal operation, moderate population in-county but huge population an hour and a half away. Marina slips are much more expensive (partly due to short season). NM State Parks might or might not be as supportive of a yacht club as the Denver Water Board is. DYC membership dues for full resident members are $180. Social members pay $100, non-state-resident members $75, jr. members $25, plus new member initiation fee of $50 (waived in 2006). Race fees can be paid at $250 for the whole season (about 10 weekend regattas plus some mid-weekers). The DYC pays $300 for a yacht club directory listing for reciprocity purposes.

The Arizona Yacht Club does not yet have a clubhouse. It charges $115 per year member dues, and a $140 initiation.

Buzz Biernacki
Realtor, Allstar Realty Office 505.934.7253 Fax 1.888.249.7614
P.S. if you know of anyone who would appreciate our services, please call or email me with their name and number and I will be happy to assist them.


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