UNIVERSITY YACHT CLUB HISTORY

CHAPTER SEVEN – 2014 - 2016

COMPILED  by Jim Hale

The commodore for 2014, Matt Tyser; 2015, Ken Odum; 2016, Rick Smith.

Lake Levels:

2014 and 2015 saw the lake at or near full pool throughout most of the year as more normal rainfall levels returned to the watershed area. Late 2015 and early 2016 saw substantial rainfalls resulting in a lake level reaching 1075.54, the highest in years. This caused significant flooding but no major damage. Part of the club road near the cottage was under water while power was interrupted to several docks. Water levels reached the junction boxes feeding electricity to these docks. Also, some dock ramps were under water making access difficult or impossible. All services were restored after water levels dropped back towards normal. Levels as of March 1, 2016 still stood slightly above full pool with more rain forecast.

Storms:

2014-15 were relatively quiet with no major storm events. Several lightning storms repeatedly damaged the entrance gate’s electrical mechanism.

Fire:

An electrical fire occurred on the connecting ramp between the two sections of F Dock, caused by chafing of the wiring connecting the two dock sections during dock movement. The fire was discovered by dock residents who extinguished it. Subsequent repairs were made to the wiring and conduit thus preventing a repeat incident. All UYC dock wiring was inspected to detect and fix any similar problems. F Dock boats experienced a short period of electrical service interruptions from the incident and repair.

Facilities:

2014 saw the addition of a new flagpole/yardarm surrounded by a compass rose. The design for the new compass rose, surrounding benches and landscape lighting was developed by Facilities Chairman Bret (BB) Benninghoff, PC Doug Eddy and PC Andy Sparks. The Compass Rose project was fully funded by donations from UYC members who subscribed to pavers engraved with members’ names, boat names, and memorials to past members. The inner circle of pavers honors past Commodores. The Compass Rose replaced shrubbery which previously surrounded the flag pole and yard arm which were retained at the center of the Rose.

2015 saw the installation of a large ship’s anchor, a gift from the Atlanta Athletic Club, to a place of prominence just outside the UYC front gage. The anchor was permanently positioned on a platform with lighting from nearby trees. The landscape lighting was designed and overseen by BB Benninghoff. A lighted open water navigation buoy was also repositioned near the gate. (Red Right Returning)

Junior Sailing:

The summer sailing camp continued to be a big draw. In 2014 and 2015 two sessions were held with full enrollment (20) at each session. Junior sail races were also established to keep up enthusiasm, learning and the participation level following the end of camp sessions.

Adult sailing:

The club and inter-club races continued to draw UYC sailors. Participation increased with new sailors joining the membership roster. 2015 saw an active LARC series. In early 2016, the UYC team finally overcame its unofficial title of “gracious host” by WINNING the UYC sponsored Lanier Cup regatta for the first time. Team members were presented with traditional red caps to commemorate their success. The UYC winning Lanier Cup Team consisted of Rick Smith on Layla; Robin Terrell on Marmotta; Kent Rogers on Magic; and Russ Marshall on Ishtar.

The 2014-2015 Intra-club Racing results:

2014 Fall series: 1st - Kent Rogers, 2nd Russ Marshall, 3rd Robin Terrell 2015 Spring series: 1st- Rick Smith, 2nd Russ Marshall, 3rd Kent Rogers

Special programs:

UYC annually hosted local Wounded Warriors and their families as part of community support and patriotism efforts. Under the leadership of Bill Brunetti, American flags were purchased through donations “in honor of” or “in memory of” past service members. The flags are to be displayed along the club drive from the gate to the clubhouse on holidays and other occasions honoring our country’s history and service men and women.

Events and Parties:

The formal events, Commodore’s Ball and New Years Eve Ball, continued to be very popular and well attended by members in 2014 and 2015. Light up the Docks continued as a Christmas tradition in 2014 and 2015. In 2015 the prize for the best decorated dock went to I-Dock for their very popular Peanuts Christmas theme. I-Dock residents dressed up as Peanuts characters. To everyone’s delight Charlie Brown’s Christmas movie played on a big-screen TV on the dock. Each dock served refreshments The Family Christmas parties in 2014 and 2015 featured a puppeteer with related gifts for all the children attending. Both years the “special guest” arrived on a Hall County fire truck.

A summer highlight in 2015 was the “Chastain at UYC” concert on the lawn by Joe Grandson and his band. Club members and guests gathered on the lawn between the clubhouse and the stone wall to dance while listening to big band sounds and music featuring Sinatra favorites. A great time was had with many good comments from attendees.

A service of lessons and carols was held in , 2015 with candlelight service. A UYC choir of 22 singers, several soloists and a brass quintet led the congregation in carols and hymns.

A repeat of Chastain at UYC in 2016 featured the A1A Band, a Jimmy Buffett tribute band and drew a similarly large crowd.

UYC Maritime Foundation:

The UYC Maritime Foundation continued its support of education, awarding scholarships for several graduating seniors from Flowery Branch High School. They also provided support to the UYC employee tuition fund, supporting employee as they pursue higher education. They underwrote the publication of Lake Lanier Chart Books distributed for free through the Club office. They continued to sponsor the UYC summer Junior Sailing camp. The Foundation remains involved in presenting a special “day at the lake” in late summer or early fall for area individuals with developmental handicaps. This event includes boat and golf cart rides, cotton candy and popcorn, lunch, music, dancing and entertainment.

Other noteworthy actions:

At the 2015 Annual Meeting the election of bridge officers was contested with an alternative candidate for the position of Vice Commodore nomination. Section 3 Article VI was invoked and a secret ballot election was held. After the results were counted Bill Brunetti was elected by a margin of a single vote.

In October 2015 the first woman ever elected as a Flag Officer on the Bridge was Lisa Wilson as Treasurer. Gin Willis was appointed as the first female Fleet Captain Power. Donna Mathis is serving her second term as Fleet Surgeon after serving two years on the Board of Governors.

In November, 2015, the Hall County Tax Assessor advised the club of a substantial increase in tax valuation on UYC property. The club appealed, pointing out that most of the property is not owned by the club but is leased from the Corps of Engineers. The valuation was successfully reduced to an acceptable level which should remain frozen for three years.

In early 2016 our highly respected club manager Ted Koerner announced his intention to retire later this year and a search committee was formed to find a replacement. Ted indicated he would remain in his position until the new manager is named and trained. Ted will be greatly missed. He has been highly regarded and a source of managerial stability for the club, as well as a friend to all the members.

The search process and hiring of the new club manager took place during July and August. A search committee, chaired by PC Odum, was charged with reviewing the resumes of applicants, checking references, and conducting preliminary phone interviews to narrow the field to applicants who seemed to fit the job requirements and experience. A Selection committee was formed consisting of the bridge officers and Ted Koerner (for his deep knowledge of the responsibilities of the club) to perform in depth evaluation of the selected candidates including in-person interviews and ranking of the final candidates in order of preference. The top candidates were brought to the club for a “meet the candidates” cocktail hour and breakfast. This get-together allowed club members an opportunity to meet and talk with the top candidates. A recommendation was then made to the board of the preferred candidate.

The club manager position was offered to and accepted by Chris Ferris. Chris will be relocating from the Boston area with his wife and daughter. Chris has an extensive background in club management, restaurant operations, and marina operations. Chris joined the club in August, working in tandem with Ted Koerner to learn all the details of UYC operations. Ted will officially retire the end of September and move with his wife Cathy to their home in Blue Ridge, GA. Chris’ family will be joining him and moving into the Club Manager’s residence at UYC.

In other changes at the club, Executive Chef Ronnie Bennetti resigned in June to take a position with Waffle House corporate management, with his replacement to be named after the new club manager is on-board. Following Chris’s arrival, a decision was made to elevate former UYC Sous Chef Phillip Carruthers to Executive Chef. A new Sous Chef will be selected later. Long-time UYC employee, Courtney Escobar, was promoted to Dining Room Manager and Anna Bates was named Assistant Dining Room Manager.

Summary UYC 2014-2016

  • The club remained in a strong financial condition.
  • A smooth transition in club management and dining room management occurred.
  • Membership was stable with several new members added to the rolls.
  • The club initiation fee for new members was raised from $7 500 to $9500.
  • Social events continued to draw large crowds.
  • Several enhancements and improvements were added during the period.
  • We look forward to good times at UYC on a lake maintaining navigable levels. As of late September, 2016, lake levels were approximately 6 feet below full summer pool.

Additional information