The St Thomas Yacht Club has just completed one of it’s most difficult and frustrating years in our 60 year history, recently marking the First Anniversary of the two Category 5 storms that dealt the Territory a devastating blow.
The Flag Officers, Board, Employees and Members have been working hard over the past year to deal with the fallout of this crisis. The immediate goal after the storms was to make the club safe and habitable. Our focus then was redirected to our sailing programs. We were thrilled to offer a safe place for junior and high school sailors to train in the immediate aftermath of the storms. Thanks to an impressive effort by the team, adults and juniors alike were sailing in our IC24 fleet on schedule in November. Our summer series lasted well into June and many members were disappointed to see the majority of the fleet moved to the hard in mid July. This is a wonderful example of the resilient community and home away from home we have built together over the years at STYC.
While the repair list is long we have worked diligently over the last 12 months to triage maintenance and renovation while we work with our insurance carriers. When at all humanly possible we did not want to do work twice. Ultimately, hurricane repairs for window, doors and roof work present an opportunity to help our 55 year old building which is badly in need of new plumbing and electrical systems as well. The board has taken a conservative approach and currently is developing a full repair timeline.
Immediately after the storms the board went to work on dock repairs. Following our general meeting we had every expectation that the dock rebuild would be completed by late August 2018. After months of back and forth with several different contractors we have yet to receive a contract. Conversations are daily and ongoing with small local contractors and engineers as well as larger organizations that are headquartered stateside. STYC is committed to the dock rebuild and hopeful that a contractor will be selected in 2018.
The frustrating lack of response from our insurance carrier forced us into legal conversations and the possibility of filing suit against them to move the claim forward. In recent days we have seen significant forward movement on this and we are anticipating a settlement soon.
Despite these issues, there is a great deal of good news. We have solidified our ability to borrow from the SBA much of what we will need to fill the gap between insurance money and final cost of repairs and upgrades at low rates with no increase in dues to the membership. Our sailing program is running at full speed and new programs are being rolled out all the time. The restaurant is open and the food and service are excellent. The mooring field is in great shape. Both squash and tennis are very active. We welcomed new tennis pro Jonathan Atkins to the club just this month and the courts have been moving at full speed.
Finally, and maybe most importantly, membership has stayed strong and we continue to be the place people come for recreation, training, world class competition, good food, drink and the network of friends and family that make the time and effort working on recovery worth it.
I am constantly in awe of the STYC and the wonderful community around it. Enjoy happy hour, catch the sunset, or get out on the water, we are truly fortunate. As we continue to recover, I look forward to seeing you at the club.
-Commodore Margo Lynch