President's Letter for Issue 203
By Chuck Millican

Thank goodness 2020 is now over and better times are ahead of us. Clubs are beginning to schedule regattas and hopefully we will be back to normal by summer. I've traveled thousands of miles in the past three years and am ready to get behind the wheel and travel to more regattas.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank retiring President, Mike Wyatt, for the past two years of leadership. He has established procedures and committees that will serve the AMYA for many years to come and leaves the incoming committee a blueprint for the future. Thank you Mike!

Jack Ward has also made a great contribution with his years on the board and hopefully he can now spend more time sailing and take a rest from his VP and District 7 duties.

Of course, the glue that holds us together is Michelle Dannenhoffer, without whom it would be difficult, if not impossible, to run the organization.

I have been involved in many committees over the years, everything from the US Olympic Yachting Committee to Class President of the US 470 class. If there is one thing I've learned is that no organization can function without a dedicated group of leaders. So thank you in advance for the work that everyone will do over the next two years.

I would like to welcome the new members to the board.

Phil Tonks from Stowe, Vermont and Punta Gorda, Florida, takes over as Vice President and I look forward to working with him over the next couple of years.

John Skerry continues as Treasurer, the position he has had for many years. I'm confident that under his guidance AMYA will continue to have a sound financial future.

Ron Sieloff continues as Executive Secretary, and with the new By-Laws becoming effective January first, Ron is now a voting member of the board. Ron has a strong background in the tech field and leads a committee dealing with the new Web Page and data base.

The AMYA couldn't function without the many Volunteers we have had over the years. We are always in need of people to help on various committees. If anyone is interested please contact the AMYA office or any of the officers. We will gladly accept help.

I'm sure many of you have heard of the new software, Member Clicks, to help with membership, regatta scheduling, Web Page and many more necessary functions that our organization requires. Ron has been spending a great deal of time interfacing our current data to the Member Clicks site. We should be up and running somewhere in the first quarter of 2021

One of the questions that we have been asked this year is "what are we". Are we a hobby or sport? Each one of you will probably have a very personal answer. I have traveled many miles over the past four years, from Stowe Vermont to Naples Florida and when I ask that question, the answer is that we are a Sport. Admittedly, I go to regattas where all are racing sailors, so their view point is biased.

Our growth in the future is coming from what I refer to as the Plug and Play classes - Boats that require simple assembly. Fleets are popping up in Yacht Clubs all over the country. The new sailors tend to be from dinghy classes and big boats. These sailors have a strong racing background and are demanding quality race management and competition. The DF 95 class is the prime example and has large fleets, good competition, and excellent regatta management at a very reasonable price.

On the other side of the coin, the J class is growing by leaps and bounds and boats are being built all over the country. You have to admire the sailors that build a J from scratch, a true piece of art. If you talk to John Stoudt about the US Vintage Model Yacht Group, you'll be amazed at the numbers and quality of the boats they are sailing. I see a schooner in my future.

If anyone is interested in learning how to build a boat from scratch, I would encourage you to sign up for the "Building a Pond Yacht" course at the Wooden Boat School in Brooklin Maine. It's a wonderful experience and you come out with a great boat.

By now everyone has seen the on-line Model Yachting magazine - I hope you have enjoyed it. We will continue to send out the printed magazine for the foreseeable future. You should also be receiving the Bulletin which comes out once a month. It's our plan to have race results in the bulletin, as it's timelier than the Model Yachting issues.

John McClun has organized the webinar series this past year and each one is drawing more and more attendees. The latest one, with Don Hain presenting, had 50 sailors attending. All the webinars are posted on the web page under "Members Only". Check them out.

I'm looking forward to the next couple of years and also look forward to meeting many of you at regattas in the future

Chuck Millican

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