CHAPTER SIX – 2010 - 2013

COMPILED  by Jim Hale

Lake Levels:

In late 2010 Lake Lanier suffered from a prolonged drought. By December lake levels had fallen to 1057.77 and predictions were for continuing drought and low levels. The lake high for 2012 stood at only 1065.93 in April, still more than five feet below full pool. Prospects for 2013 seemed dim, but rains finally came, and came, and came, with the lake reaching a high point of 1073.68 by May, more than two and a half feet above full pool. The lake held at those levels through most of the rest of 2013 despite efforts by the Corps to lower the level to normal winter pool. It finally dropped slightly below full pool in early November. The lake was back and looked great. The only problem was that with such high levels, there were very few beaches left forcing planned UYC raft-ups to utilize the buoys and club beach area rather than the usual Wedding Island location . It was a small price to pay for having a full lake again after so long. The extended rainy period also delayed the completion of the new deck and gazebo behind the beach house. However, by Opening Day all work was completed and members enjoyed a handsome new deck and gazebo along with a full lake.

As 2013 came to an end, following one of the wettest months on record, the December lake level still stood above full pool for the first time in several years.

2014 saw lake levels holding near normal levels, while 2015 and early 2016 saw unusually large rainfall amounts which raised lake levels above the full pool level. In early 2016 the level rose to 1075.5, the highest it had been in several years. This resulted in some flooding with part of the road near the UYC cottage being under water. Electric power to some docks was interrupted when lake levels got close to the junction boxes serving those docks. A few docks became inaccessible when their ramps were under water. These issues were resolved as soon as the level returned to normal levels.


UYC membership remained constant from 2011 – 2013. We had 240 members in October, 2012 and 241 in October 2013. By 2014 total membership had declined to 228, but by the end of 2015 it had rebounded to 246. The upward trend continued into 2016, despite losing several members to relocation or death. The increase was due in part to the improving economy, but also to some special incentives to new members. January 2016 saw the addition of a special reduced initiation fee for children of life members.

Some notable losses due to deaths included long time members Gene Myler, Jeff Weekly and Lyle Diamond along with more recent members Dick Royston and Jason Wrape


June 2011 saw several strong storms including one which caused “E” dock to break away from shore. During another storm a houseboat, caught by strong winds while trying to return to dock, was stranded on the “rock island” near the entrance to the south cove. She was rescued by a tow from Polo. During this same storm a tree fell on the club gate. Following the storms, the club adopted a new policy of periodically adding/replacing the dead man dock anchors.


“A” dock was reconfigured reflecting the shift in club boats from sail to large houseboats, adding several 100X22 foot open slips on the outer part of the dock. Also, new flotation was installed on “I” and “J” docks. In 2013 the older part of “F” dock was reroofed. Several anchors for docks were also replaced. The gas dock had been improved in 2010.


The mooring buoys in the North cove were updated by replacing old buoys and adding several to replace missing ones. By late 2013 the buoy count stood at 15 of the 17 authorized by the Corps. Buoy anchors were installed.


The main project of 2013 was the construction of a new deck and gazebo on the lake side of the beach house. As noted above, this project encountered unexpected delays due to the prolonged rains during the spring of 2013. It was completed by Opening Day. Members and Guests were treated to a much improved deck that eliminated steps that existed in the middle of the old deck. The new deck also received an undercoating of weatherproofing to allow for covered storage of the junior boating sailboats. A fire pit with hardscape next to the Beach House added another lakeside gathering spot.

During 2012 renovations were made to the guest cottage and A-frame to make them better suited and more comfortable for member rentals. In 2015 the carport on the manager’s house was rebuilt.


Several safety improvements were put in place at UYC during the 2012-2013 period. Lighting was installed on dock ramps. Safety ladders and throwing rings /lines were installed on docks for quick access in the event of accidental falls into the water. New automatic defibrillators were installed near docks to reduce the time required to access them from the docks.


In 2010 the annual Holiday Parade of Lights was replaced due to low water dangers by a “Light up the Docks” event. Each December UYC boat owners and dock residents decorate their boats and docks for the Christmas holidays. Judging for the best decorations takes place with awards presented at a club dinner. Pontoon boats carry members and guests around the docks to show off the decorations. This new tradition continues despite the return of normal water levels.

August 2012 welcomed the return of the UYC Little Spoleto festival. This event showcases the artistic talents of members in painting, photography, hand-made jewelry, and other creative efforts. The art works on display are of the highest caliber. The 2012 edition of Little Spoleto included a Broadway Cabaret featuring UYC talents as soloists and chorus. In addition, members displayed their vintage and exotic cars. In late April 2016 Little Spoleto returned to UYC adding a choral performance of music from films.

UYC continues the annual fall tradition of the AADD “day at the lake” under the guidance of Dave Erickson. Many developmentally disabled people in a broad range of age groups are entertained with rides on power and sail boats, snacks, lunch, games, dancing and music. Tee shirts and hats have been distributed to participants. The UYC Maritime Foundation sponsored this event.

Many UYC member families support TREAT THE TROOPS, a program designed to send, several time a year, cookies, candy and dog treats to American forces stationed overseas. UYC bakers have contributed countless home baked goodies as well as their time and energy to pack the cookies and send them off to be enjoyed by our overseas fighting men, women and canine soldiers. Members also make cash contributions to cover the postage for the shipments.

2013 saw the introduction of a special event to honor Wounded Warriors, service men and women suffering from physical or mental problems, such as PTSD, related to their service in the armed forces. To honor these veterans as well as provide patriotic decorations for other events (Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Veterans’ Day) club members purchased American flags on poles designed to line the entrance drive to the club. Members dedicated each to a veteran or family member who had served in the military. The original subscription was oversold and additional flags were ordered.

The Lake Lanier Association was active in 2013 with the annual shore sweep that collected 30 tons of trash, equivalent to the weight of a 747 aircraft. The LLA to which many UYC members belong, also installed solar powered lights on several of the navigation hazard markers on the lake to provide improved safety for after-dark boaters.

UYC presented the traditional parties including New Years Eve, Family Christmas, Easter egg hunt, Fourth of July events and fireworks (now considered to be the premier display on the lake), Labor Day, Salute to the Commodore, Commodores’ Ball, Valentines dinner/dance, and in some years a themed Halloween party. In 2011 an annual Oyster Roast event was added to the line-up of parties. This is usually a sell-out each January and presents an opportunity to invite prospective members.

2013 saw the addition of a new program for those interested in live theater. A joint effort was started with the Gainesville Theater Alliance for members to participate in theater evenings and theater events as a group. UYC members purchased discount tickets to GTA plays. Theatre nights begin with an early dinner at the club followed by a trip to Gainesville or Buford for the show. GTA players performed skits promoting their productions at UYC during several ladies luncheons.

Sailing Program:

The junior sailing program established by the club in conjunction with the UYC Maritime Foundation continues to be very popular. In 2013 sailing camp was expanded to two sessions to handle all the campers. Professional sailing instructors teach the children. Regular youth sailing events were held throughout the remainder of the summer. Young sailors were also invited to sail with members on the “big boats”. Additional sailing prams were added to the training fleet now stored underneath the new deck for protection from the weather. UYC Sail Fleet provides support to the junior program. Over 75 UYC members have contributed time and/or financial support to the building of the Optimist Prams. This effort was inspired by John Hopkins and contributed to the overall success of the junior sailing program.

"The most fun for the most people" was officially adopted as the motto for the UYC Sail Fleet and became a guiding principle for organizing events. Sail Fleet captains Rick Smith (2010-2011) and Kent Rogers (2012-2014) organized a variety of intra–club and inter-club regattas and race events. The Lanier Cup Regatta, a popular annual inter-club regatta on the lake was organized by UYC in 1990, and is annually hosted by UYC. Each of the five sailing clubs on Lanier sends their best four boats to this event. The club with the highest total score wins the Regatta. In 2010 through 2013 the Atlanta Inland Sailing Club was the champion. UYC finished 4th in 2010, 5th in 2011, 4th in 2012, and 3rd in 2013 (our best finish through 2014).

Other key sail events include the Hot Ruddered Bum Regatta, one of the longest running annual regattas on Lanier. For at least 40 years UYC has hosted this winter regatta and featured a post-race party with hot buttered rum! The Commodore’s Cup Regatta (intra-club) requires each boat to have a UYC non-sailor crew member. This race was won in 2010, 2011 and 2013 by Ishtar and in 2012 by Layla.

The spring and fall intra-club race series consisting of 5 races each, won in 2013 by Rick Smith in Layla with all the remaining series won by Rachel and George Lipscomb in Ishtar. The spring 2011 series was cancelled due to low water.

The LARC racing series, hosted by the Lanier Auxiliary Racing Council is an inter-club series of five races in the fall and another five in the winter/spring. Each of the five sailing clubs on Lanier hosts one of the races in both series. Series champions representing UYC in their respective classes during 2010 through 2013 included Rachel and George Lipscomb in Ishtar, Robin Terrell in Marmotta and Rick Smith in Layla.

Summary UYC 2010-2013:

  • Facilities improvements completed on docks, buoys, deck, gazebo and fire pit
  • Membership numbers remained steady
  • Financial stability remains strong
  • Junior Sailing programs thrived
  • UYC programs reflect community support and patriotism
  • Social activities remain popular; participation growing


Additional information