Thank you to the Board of Directors for placing your confidence in me as your Commodore for 2022. I promise you that I will do my very best to demonstrate that your confidence is well placed.
A little bit about me: I grew up in Gulfport where I spent many happy summer days at the Gulfport Yacht Club. It was there that I learned to sail when the teaching platform was the Fish Class Sloop. I remember them having wooden spars, coarse twisted jute lines and being constantly in need of bailing. I really wasn’t much of a racing sailor, but I love to tell people that I had the most important crew position on a Fish boat: Bailer! I had a little yellow Sunfish that we kept on the beach there at the club that I loved to sail around on while dreaming of something bigger. When I hear Jimmy Buffet sing “One Particular Harbor”, the GYC and Gulfport Small Craft Harbor in 1968 is what I picture in my mind.
I didn’t really get into sailboat racing until finishing engineering school and moving to Houston. While there I met a co-worker who was the main sheet trimmer on a Tartan 10 racing on Galveston Bay. Every Monday I would ask how they did and he would say: “Oh, we got first place.” After about the third time, he studied my skeptical look and offered to prove it by inviting me on to the crew. He was right! We had an outstanding skipper named Roy Newberry, a fast boat and a good crew; and, truthfully, we never finished worse than second in a race. I was hooked! A job opportunity got me back to Mississippi in Jackson and I continued sailing at JYC on Catalinas. Eventually I joined the club and now I sail in the J/22 fleet there, on the Viper at GYA events and long distance races on big boats whenever I get an invite (yes, that’s a hint).
Enough about me. The Board of Directors meeting Sunday, January 16 was our first ever effort to do it virtually. Although I missed the face to face interaction, as I’m sure many of you did, I must say it went off well. All credit for that is due to the technical prowess of Robbie and Jennifer Schmidt. Thank you Robbie and Jennifer! The fall out from the meeting going virtual was that we didn’t get to have the Awards Banquet and distribute the awards that were earned in 2021. As Commodore Ruthven noted, we have already started on Plan B. In addition to having the privilege of hosting the Annual Meeting and Opening Regatta, it will be my honor to host the 2021 GYA Awards Ceremony at Jackson Yacht Club! So, it will be a full and busy May 14-15 weekend at JYC this spring but I have no doubt that the members and staff of Jackson Yacht Club will make it fun and memorable. So, I look forward to seeing all of you then for an “Opening Regatta of the highest latitude”. Until then, I wish you fair winds and following seas.
Gary Rogers, Commodore
Gulf Yachting Association