Commodore's Thanksgiving Letter & Swan Song

November 22, 2018


Dear BYC Members and Friends;

We are now but days-away from the BYC Commodore’s Ball, featuring an old-world Spanish culinary adventure, salsa dancing, numerous awards highlighting the achievements of you and your fellow members of this past year, and of course, passing the leadership torch to our newly elected 2019 BYC Board of Directors. Please RSVP now to if you haven't already. ONLY 6 SEATS REMAIN AVAILABLE as of Thursday Evening 11-29. December 1st; 6PM, and $65/person.

And, out of courtesy to save you from suffering from a long “so-long” speech during the dinner, I wish to impart you with the following words, written in gratitude for an absolutely amazing year for BYC.

To use a sports colloquialism, this has been a rebuilding year for the Berkeley Yacht Club. To rebuild and renew an organization takes fortitude, an interesting word that the Oxford Dictionary defines as courage in pain or adversity.

We have much to be thankful for this year at BYC. Our accounting system was in great pain through our first quarter of operations, adversely affecting the club at many levels. Many members expressed their frustrations to myself and the rest of the Board about the member dues charges and subsequent billing mistakes. Our board stated a desire to leave a legacy of fiduciary and operational stability early on, and so we managed to work through the adversity of staffing and the accompanying accounting challenges to emerge in the fourth quarter with proud smiles. The Board believed that this accomplishment would then stage the 2019 Board for the opportunity to explore new programs that will continue to enrich the BYC Membership experience. Compare this to building a boat, in which laying a rugged keel is key, or the foundation for a new home. It’s not exactly pretty work that people can see, touch, and feel, but that which they will surely experience through reliable billing, well-run regattas, and enjoyable programs. The 2018 Board was basically working in the bilge’s of BYC all year, and the club will benefit for years to come now.

The staff we have at BYC is something to brag about, and scouting out these team players was a challenge for our volunteer personnel committee this year as well. Numerous hours were spent reviewing resumes and scheduling interviews, when all of us would have preferred to have been sailing or out on race course or cruising with you. Our work is now done, and our core team of Manager Philip Strause, Office Manager Rachelle Melandres, along with the Bar Staff led by Lisa Hawley and Alexis Hernandez, and Galley folks Chef Sandra Freeman along with the father and son team of Richard and Jasper Garcia strive to give you the best value possible for your BYC Membership. I hope you agree that time spent at the clubhouse is something that you look forward to, and enjoy.

The facility improvements at the clubhouse this year are the result of continued stewardship by many members, individually, and often working as a team to address repairs and upgrades, the most visible of which are the new room-darkening shades in our dining room. Finishing the sliding entryways is the result of members Mark Dallow and Tom Barr’s Efforts among others, and Tom and Mark have been instrumental all year long in assisting with the odd repairs that include plumbing at the bar, galley, and elsewhere in the club. Your response to our semi-annual work weekends at the club have also been key in helping us keep ahead of necessary repairs to the BYC Clubhouse.

The year ahead is not without challenges for our 2019 Board, including continued facility stewardship, and locating volunteers to serve on all of our various committees including Finance, Long-Range Steering, Capital-Campaign, Marketing and Communications, Race, Regatta-Planning, Membership outreach, City Government Liaison, Events, and more. My message has always been that it takes a village to steer Berkeley Yacht Club, a village of people with unique gifts of time and talent to navigate the Club to new levels of achievement. My hope is that you’ll read this message and reach out to Mark Bird, 2019 Commodore-Elect, and help him and the new board achieve another wonderful growth year. The City of Berkeley is preparing to begin construction, renewing access into the marina along University Avenue as well as addressing parking. This will bring new and interesting members to BYC, and we’ll be ready for them with your help.

Finally, A note of thanks to Louis Benainous for all of his work on the BYC Web site over these past years and assisting the office in all things data related; Louie Gonzales for jump-starting the club newsletter Now Hear This; Colin Thompson for his technical support at all levels throughout BYC as well as on the Race Course; Mark Bird for leading us through numerous amazing club member dinners and race committee contributions; David Janinis and Fran Stateler for Friday Night Beer Can and Chowder Race Management plus Fran’s work as our Port Captain (i.e. “guest dock wrangler”); Directors Tom Loughran and Joe Cunliffe for running an amazing BYC Swap Meet last April and all of their other amazing contributions; Treasurer Paul Boatman and Director Steve Colitz for their assistance on the Personnel committee and accounting oversight, Director Bob Bratton for his support at all levels including race management, working projects on the Bobbi Tosse (the boat, not the human), and of course the Commodores two right arms, Staff members Rachelle Melandres and Lisa Hawley, to which I attribute all successes at BYC from this past year. With their caring and thoughtful oversight, every event at BYC this year has been without question, a total success, something to which we can completely attribute to these two wonderful women. Your Staff Commodores including Betty and Bob Gray, Bobbi Tosse, Patrick Hind Smith, Falk Meissner, Mark Dallow, and Steve Crawford continued behind-the-scenes with their contributions and support of the Board, which were all instrumental to keeping BYC humming along as well.

Finally, to you, our members, for entrusting your Board leadership with the power necessary to guide our corporation through these interesting times. Without your belief and support, we would not have been able to claim any success at all.

Too many words to say “thank-you”, I know; Except one more individual who deserves all of my attention from Dec 2nd of this year and on after this ride as your commodore; my wonderful wife Lisa. She’s been as you can imagine, my partner through it all, and to her, a world of thanks and appreciation.


In Respectful Gratitude

Captain Charles R. Bullett, III;  Commodore

Berkeley Yacht Club, Berkeley CA 94710