BEFORE THE YACHT CLUB
Way back in the 1930s, competitive sailing on St. Croix started to develop when a friend of Anton Teytaud (a founder of the St. Croix Yacht Club) built a Snipe from plans published in Rudder Magazine. Anton then purchased another Snipe in Puerto Rico so that there could be some spirited racing between the two every Sunday. A class of similar boats grew to four and a competition with St. Thomas Snipe sailors was undertaken. Unfortunately the St. Croix sailors were thoroughly beaten both at home and over at St. Thomas. Not to be daunted, Teytaud acquired a larger craft and organized races with the Gallows Bay fishermen in Christiansted harbor and in Frederiksted with fishermen of the West End.
In 1940, Teytaud purchased a Comet and joined the Club Nautico of San Juan to be able to race there. He earned a fifth place in the Midwinter Comet Regatta, which was won by the national champion of the class. (By 1965, representing the St. Croix Yacht Club, Teytaud won first place in San Juan for this regatta, beating the same national champion).
Then, about 1949, a group of sailing enthusiasts started the Comanche Sailing Club to institute some organized sailboat racing for the island. The intent was to develop a fleet of one-design small boats to race in the harbor. The prime mover of this was Ted Dale. Others actively participating were Anton Teytaud, Bob Sloan, and Willfted Allick (Bomba).
The plan was for seven boats to be built named for the seven dwarfs of the Snow White story. Only four were actually built and used for racing.
By 1952, the group of men were meeting at various bars in Christiansted for sociability such as the Jungle Casino off of Sunday Market now called Times Square and Joe Rosenau’s bar at the corner of Strand Street and Queen Cross streets (which became Frank’s Restaurant and was eventually destroyed by Hugo). Anton Teytaud’s native sloop “Intrepid” and Joe Rosenau’s “North Star” competed against Bomba’s charter sloop in the waters between Christiansted and Buck Island.
Founded in 1955, the annual Memorial Day Regatta is the oldest and longest in the Virgin Islands. Racing starts at the St Thomas YC, and boats race to Christiansted Harbor on day one. On day two, a long race approximated 18 miles, off the Buck Island channel and on day 3, all boats race back to St Thomas for the awards. This race was held for many years...
The Club’s facilities were established in a two-room apartment above the Cable Office (now Chase Manhattan Bank) on King Street next to the Scale House. The apartment had a spacious gallery overlooking the harbor, lunch was available, and to the joy of the group, restroom facilities were present. There were monthly meetings and the Club maintained an informal ambiance and was occasionally referred to as the “Cruzan Cruisin’ and Boozin’ Society.”
In addition, financed with a loan from one of the members, the Club leased the land at the end of Queen Cross Street with the aim of constructing a dock to allow a place for small boats so that the member’s children would have a place to sail and swim. Due to limited funding this was never accomplished nor was the opportunity to build a pier north of the King Christian activated.
Membership in the St. Croix Yacht Club was open primarily to males only with dues set at $15 per year for resident members and $10 for nonresidents. There also was a category called Women Auxiliary Members at $10 and Junior Membership was $5. The initiation fee was $10 for any membership category. The policy of male membership only remained in effect until the 70s when wives achieved their rightful status and the bylaws were amended.
The Club’s burgee design is the result of a contest held soon after the Club’s incorporation. Cyril Marshall, director of the St. Croix Museum, judged the fourteen entries received. Harry Neuman’s design won and the first burgees were manufactured in Denmark.
The burgee is clearly based on the Danish flag, 0 I d Dannenborg. The squarely intersecting white dividers have had the vertical one displaced so that it is one-third the distance from the fly, and the shape has been changed to a 2:1 triangle.
The truncated cone of an old Crucian windmill is at the intersection. It appears to have a road leading to it. Looked at another way, the intersecting lines appear sword-like with the mill as the hilt.
In 1971, Bill Chandler, managing director, (CEO) of St. Croix Marine, purchased a forty foot piece of Douglas Fir (12″ x 12″), for the Club to make a most needed flagpole.
The future pole was shown to an old ship’s carpenter and was told the base needed to be 12″ in diameter and tapered up to the top with a diameter of 8 inches. The design was fashioned after a topsail for a schooner, complete with cross trees, topmast and gaff. When finished, St. Croix Marine, in honor of John Olmeis, donated the completed pole.
In 1974, the flagpole was erected under the direction of Bill Chandler and the Commodore at the time, Lawrence Carlson.
Originally, the flagpole was varnished and mounted in a tabernacle, so it could be lowered for storms and maintenance.
Over the years, the flagpole has been painted white and encased in steel. Recently, a dedication plaque has been placed on the pole in honor of John Ohmeis.
THE MOVE TO THE EAST END
After World War II, land on the East End was put up for auction for between $4-$6 an acre. It was considered almost worthless land for it was too dry to grow sugar, cotton was no longer a viable crop, and it was marginal for raising cattle. However, the auctioned acreage was picked up by some local families as well as by visitors. Among the buyers were names familiar to us today: the Skovs, the Hendricks, and the Roebucks.
Bob Lodge and his financial backers, the East End Development Co., bought the land in the Teague Bay Valley from Joe Luttrell with a vision of establishing a community development for the valley. Lodge started construction on a community center that was to serve as the clubhouse for a residential group of houses that he intended to build.
The building was partially finished with the stone walls and stone fireplace in place and the roof framed in. Hard times fell upon Lodge, his backers pulled out, and the partially constructed building lay fallow. Warren Young, who was involved in all the legal transactions, recognized the potential of the site as a permanent location for the yacht club. The Club bought two one-acre lots on the water on 10/15/59 for $35,000.
This purchase and subsequent completion of the building was approved and ratified at a special meeting of the membership in 1959 and a mortgage was arranged with the Chase Manhattan Bank guaranteed by loans from two of the members.
In 1965, an additional plot was bought from Fairleigh Dickinson consisting of two and one half acres along the road and a corridor along the eastern perimeter at the price of $15,000.
To get out to Teague Bay from the Buccaneer there was only a narrow dirt road curving along the sea. Club members were helpful in finally securing government agreement to pave the road from the Buccaneer all the way out east changing the route slightly to be more practical.
The clubhouse was finished by July 1961, and a housewarming party was held on August 1, 1961. The landscaping was designed and planted by Dick Hookanson, a landscape architect, and many of the original plantings are still in place.
DEVELOPMENT OF A RACING FLEET
In 1959, Jimmy Isherwood and John Burr built two wooden Penquins for racing. Paul Voytershark later won the Governor’s Cup for that year. Wooden Sailfish were then added to the racing fleet. The first sailfish one design series took place in August of 1961 with Dick Newick emerging as the winner. In February 1962, the second series was held and the sailfish fleet had grown to twenty-five. John Burr won the series with Warren Young trailing by only half a point. During 1962, Anton Tetaud ran other races with a Class A win in the Spring races, Bill Chandler in the Summer and Paul Voytershark in the Fall Series. In Class B, it was Bobby Tetaud, Jimmy Isherwood, and Jan Henle.
In 1963, the first professionally built Snipe Class sailboat arrived on St. Croix. Howard Finch, a member of the Club was traveling in Portugal when he came across a Snipe being built in a wooden boat building shop. He was impressed with the quality and price. He bought one on the spot and had it shipped to St. Croix. Thereafter, St. Croix Marine brought the boats in and now St. Croix Yacht Club had a fleet of internationally recognized sailboats. The Snipe fleet was extremely active and was directly responsible for starting the International Sugar Mill Regatta. These regattas drew sailors in from other islands and the United States. Interest in the fiberglass Sunfish grew and so did its fleet, becoming the largest fleet around. In 1972, the Yacht Club hosted the Caribbean Sunfish Championships in which 56 Sunfish raced. Jens Hookanson went on to win the North American Championships and a 13th by Al Lang. Later, Peter Stanton earned the title of Top Junior Sunfish Sailor for the 1999 Worlds.
The birth of the Junior Sailing Program began in the mid 60’s. Barbara Manz was the organizing force behind the development and urged the Club to acquire five plywood Optimists Prams. Dick Newick built the Prams from official plans issued by the Optimist Club Association. Sailing classes were conducted every Saturday &om 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, during the months of October through May for five years. Jean Hookanson took over from Barbara for the next three years. Bill Chandler taught advanced sailing Club owned Widgeons. These boats were a donation to the Yacht Club through individual donations, boats obtained at cost from St. Croix Marine and earnings from Las Vegas Night. This unique fundraiser was a first for the Virgin Islands and was inspired by Bill Manz.
Las Vegas Night also funded the first Sugar Mill Regatta involving the Snipe fleet. The proceeds were used to fly the national champion and his crew to St. Croix and put on the Regatta.
Luke Baldauf represented the Virgin Islands in the 1988 Summer Olympics held in South Korea. He competed in windsurfing, which was a popular sailing class at the time.
Off island racing was crucial in the development of our Junior Sailing Program. Nick Castruccio was instrumental in getting our junior sailors to these regattas. New equipment and boats were needed for our sailors to be competitive. So, fundraising continued on in the Junior Sailing Program.
In 1997, Karen Stanton and Donna Ford hosted the first of many benefits to raise money to replace our aging fleet of boats. The “Black and White Ball” raised over $7,000.00 for new equipment. In 1998, “Calypso Beat” raised over $15,000.00 for new Sunfish and each year thereafter, the proceeds grew. In 2000, “Go For The Gold” netted over $30,000.00 in profits. The Junior Sail Program was no longer running in the red. In 2003, the benefit “Let The Good Times Roll” finished the dream. All boats have been replaced without any expense to the Club.
DEVELOPMENT OF THE PIER
With increased membership and a slight increase in dues to $40 and an initiation fee of $50, the Club’s income allowed the $252 for the survey and plans for the new pier. The first dock extended out only as far as the present angle dock and was supported by cable reels from the telephone company. These reels filled with cement were still in place until hurricane Hugo. The pier was extended from the start of the angle dock to the end in 1973 and the T-dock was added during 1981-82. As we know, Hugo destroyed the dock just leaving the pilings in its wake and a new pier was constructed during 1990s.
ADDITIONAL LAND PURCHASED & CLUBHOUSE RENOVATED
In February, 1986 the Club was able to purchase the 1.22 acre lot to the west of the clubhouse for $51,200 which has allowed additional privacy and storage areas for the boats, dinghies and parking.
A RECORD OF FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY
During the 60 years of the Club’s existence, property has been bought, facilities have been constructed, expanded & renovated, training boats have been built or bought; money has been raised through increased dues and initiation fees as well as loans and mortgages. All obligations have always been met. From 1993, when the final loan was repaid, through 2007,when an $80,000 capital improvement loan for fence and utility upgrades was taken out, the club was debt free.
From the very beginning, the success of the St. Croix Yacht Club has occurred through an active and dedicated volunteer involvement. The racing, training, and social programs continue to grow and the Teague Bay club has become filled to capacity.
1993: Membership roster was filled and waiting list established. Junior and Senior sailors were in a racing frenzy. Boats were entered in almost every class of Club sponsored races & several entered the CORT series. We had a big turnout for the Mumm’s Cup & Memorial Day weekend Regattas.
The 3-stool bar that is now the Ship’s Store was replaced. Friday night Sunfish races & Happy Hour replaced Steak Night. Honors went to Mike Spencer as Fleet Captain & in-house lawyer. Ditto to Manuel Gutierrez & Caesar Goderich for their arduous 24 hour preparation & roasting of their authentic pig roast. This was their last effort of many years.
1994: Ever popular sailing instructions expanded to include seniors. This was sadly the last of the President’s Day Cruises. Ended with the 2nd cruise to Great Salt Pond; what a party. Membership roster was still filled and waiting list in place. Another very successful Mumm’s Cup Regatta. The Waschulls introduced the first road rally. It’s been held every year since, recently with potholes to add to the fun.
1995: This was an active year for small boat racing. Rhodes 19, Lasers, Sunfish, Optimists & 420s all competed in a 6-series event. Bob Marcey’s presentation of “The Extravaganza Around the World in 80 Minutes” a 2 night performance drew 200. Our Globe trotting blue water sailor Duncan McGregor announced plans to circumnavigate the North American Continent aboard NORDICA, which had taken him safely around South America. Hurricanes Luis & Marilyn struck within a week of each other in September. Marilyn destroyed the dock.
1996: By the end of February of the new year the new dock had been rebuilt as well as the entrance hall. The Ship’s Store expanded with glass display cases. A new stainless steel freezer was purchased. Hurricane Hortense brushed our shores, but did no damage to the Club. Membership committee tried to come up with a solution to the noise level in the main dining room. Duncan McGregor returned to SCYC to thaw out having spent the previous winter iced-in in Desko Harbor, Greenland. His slide presentation of the event was outstanding. This was the first year of the Junior Sailing benefit programs. A three day Olympic Solidarity Course was held at the club. Cam Lewis, 1993 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year, was the instructor. Many sailors from all the Virgin Islands attended.
1997: Buck Island Picnic once again restored, a Marilyn cancellation in 1996. The former STARS & STRIPES renamed VI CHALLENGE visited STX. Junior members Eric Cusin, Chris Stanton, & Allen Sun sailed aboard her to SIT. Mike Foster & Frank Rhodes volunteered to do a pig roast Carolina/Cruzan style. Jean Hookanson donated her Rhodes 19 YELLOWBIRD to the Club to be used for sailing instructions and for the use of qualified members to practice their newly acquired skills.
There were 32 resident memberships available in 3/97. Birthday Fridays was instituted. Acoustic panels were installed. SCYC hosted Caribbean Dinghy Championship races. USVI team won back the trophy from Barbados. 5th annual Mumm’s Cup Regatta.
1998: Jan Kliejunas resigned as caterer and Lee Harrigan took over. Another successful fundraiser for the Junior sailors & another pig roast called Pig Pickin’. And yet another Hurricane, Georges.
1999: On January 1 Bruce Milliken became our new club manager. He holds several marine licenses, is skilled as a scuba diver, and has had extensive training in other fields that benefit the Club. The eastern dinghy dock was restored. Though not covered by insurance, there was enough money in the budget to pay for it without causing a shortage of funds. February 27th to March 3rd SCYC hosted the Hampton Virginia Sailing Team. We also sponsored the Umpire & Match Racing Clinic. The seventh annual regatta was held, now sponsored by Vitel Cellular. To end the year in the usual manner Hurricane Lenny hit us, with 29 vessels driven ashore and the dock severely damaged.
2000: Lee, our caterer presented Saturday night BBQ and Prime rib dinners. The question was brought up as to how to repair the dock. Should we raise it to the tune of $180,000 or design it as break away. An alternative, floating docks, was discussed. Considering the possible loss of insurance, etc., it was decided to rebuild it as break away. For the first time in many years the Around St. Croix Race was extended to two days with a pit stop in Frederiksted. The sudden passing of Duncan McGregor on 4/15 then followed by Kent Ellis on 4/23 was a double whammy. May 1 saw the completion of the dock repairs.
2001: This was an active year for social events and racing. We started out with a welcome back dinner for the “Snowbirds”, and in February, a Valentine’s Party. The Eighth annual STX International Regatta was held in February and once again sponsored by Innovative. The 46th annual Memorial Day Regatta was held in May. In July, we again staged a terrific 4th of July BBQ and Fireworks demonstration. The One Design racing series continued to be a popular event. The Hugo Memorial, KATS St. John and the Caribbean Match Races went off as scheduled without interference from hurricanes. At Christmas, a very appropriate Red, White, and Blue tree was a Trish Rhodes smash. It was a very good year for racing, social events and entertainment.
Unfortunately, we experienced the loss of two of our long-time members, Jerry Bourne on March 5, Richard Robbins in late March.
Due to a generous loan from a member, the Club was renovated in 1987-88 and an additional room was added on the western end of the clubhouse. Both the pier and the dinghy dock were resurfaced.
2002: Skyrocketing insurance fees forced the Club to Self-insure the docks for hurricane damage. The docks later became a Lego design. In the advent of a hurricane, the docks are now removable in sections. A new trophy case was added to the clubhouse and the Ship’s Store was able to expand. Anchor Catering was hired on as the new caterer. Doug DeReu came on board as the new Club Manager. The Sixth Annual Junior Sailing Benefit was a great success and new Optimists were purchased. The Club acquired a new mascot, Anchor, a brindle colored sassy little cat. Stateside bands and Wednesday night dinners dominated the entertainment scene with great turnouts by our members. Several social events were hosted to honor New York City Fireman who were involved in the 9/11 attack. These firemen and their families were brought to St. Croix through the efforts of Chuck and Karen Ulrich. Posted sailing events were held without interruption from hurricanes.
2003: A great year for membership, as we near our maximum limit for the club. The Rhodes 19 fleet is getting organized, but big boat racing still remains in a slump. The 7th annual Junior Sail Benefit saw success again, providing the club with all new 420’s and dollies. This benefit finished the replacement of all club boats. The St. Croix International Regatta provided exciting racing this year. Squalls and high winds made it a challenge for most of the racers and race committee. The Around the Island Race also experienced high winds and put many boats to the test. Multihulls dominated this year’s race with Charis coming out on top. The summer sailing program remains popular, with the Optimist being the most popular class. Anchor Catering continues to do a good job and Wednesday night dinners are well attended. In 2003, we had no threats of hurricanes, but our leggo design docks are ready.
2004: The St. Croix International Regatta, under Director Julie San Martin, added a new racing class to the agenda this year — Optimist Racing. Race Chairs Bill Chandler and Karen Stanton said it was a great success and will remain on t he regatta’s racing schedule. One Design remains strong with participation but big boat racing continues in a slump. We4dnesday night dinners are as popular as ever. The Board voted to raise the dues for 2005. The “Lego” docks went into action this year, spurred by Hurricane Ivan. The docks remained out of the water until storm activity dies in the Atlantic. A water-skiing Santa (Jim Lehman) was a first for Santa Arriving at the Yacht Club. It was a big hit with the kids and their parents. At the Hop, the eighth annual Junior Sailing Benefit, brought in much needed funding for new equipment for the program. Repairs to septic and driveway are on-going issues to be dealt with in 2005.
2005: The Yacht Club membership voted on an assement to fund the paving of the parking lot and driveway at the annual meeting. The Junior Sail Auction grossed $25,000.00 to be used to purchase additional Optimists, dollies, the rebuild of two 420’s and summer camp scholarships. The Memorial Day Luau, was a great success. All members were leid at the door and the pig roast and buffet were marvelous. We welcomed a New Club Manager, Kiomie Pedrini, in June. Kiomie started in the Junior Sailing Program when she was 8 years old and now returns to her home port and looks forward to making a difference. The CROOD regatta saw 43 entries with Jae Tonachel bringing home the gold in optimists. The 4th of July fireworks display was a bitter sweet success as this years display ended with an injury. October brought the launching of our NEW website. November brought the beginning of the paving of the new driveway! Santa (Mike Melusky) arrived at the club via club whaler, ably assisted by two elves (Challis Diaz and Billy Gibbons). Fun was had by all.
2006: International Regatta registrations were submitted online this year via our website. The event was a huge success and the ship store did excellent in sales. The Commodores Ball had members kicking up their heels to the sounds of the Mellowtones. Insurance renewal for the club was contingent on hiring an outside contractor who carries their own insurance, to do the 4th of July fireworks display. New Fleet Captain, Alan Mallory implemented his new Boat of the Year program. The club house is made wireless thanks to BroadbandVI. Members can now bring their computers and work on the beach if they like. The Junior Sailing Fundraiser “Magic of Sailing” raised $13,000.00 to upgrade equipment and continued scholarship support. The Summer Sailing Program was expanded to 4 sessions and saw record registration numbers. Many repairs and upgrades were made to the kitchen including a refrigerated condiments table new floor in the walk-in freezer and new beer cooler. The ship store is made elegant with new cabinetry, The ladies bathroom also received a face lift and we have three new dock carts! The Club welcomes Lisa Lord Price, and Wild West Catering as the Club’s caterer.
2007: Under the leadership of Commodore Vicki Bandola, the first priority of the year was an evaluation of the septic system to determine the cause of noxious odors. Inspections revealed multiple deficiencies. Over the year, under the fine direction of Aldo Pedrini, the following corrections and improvements have been implemented: cleanout of the drain field distribution box; overflow connection of the men’s septic tank to the lift tank; installation of a pump timer switch; larger piping and new flush valves in the men’s room; new sealed lids for all tanks; new grease trap; new lift pump. In the galley, a new Ansul R-101 Dry Chemical Restaurant Fire Suppression System was installed. One of the more memorable events for 2007 would have to be the rainy Buck Island Picnic in April. It definitely goes down as the Yacht Club’s wettest Buck Island picnic on record. Notable triumphs included the 2nd Annual Maritime Mixer Party – an event to meet and greet new members, and when all members are encouraged to find a volunteer role to support club activities, meet folks, and have some fun. Also, the First Annual Wine for the Holidays party was a remarkable success socially, and as a fundraiser. The Rhodes 19 Fleet has also been resurrected thanks to the hard work of many volunteers to launch both private boats as well as the two club boats, Puppy Two and Yellow Bird. Special thanks to David Letson for the donation of Puppy Two, to the YC sailing program. After much research and planning, the Board approved the addition of a staff position of Waterfront Coordinator. In October, Krista Siino was hired and comes to us with much experience in program development and waterfront management.
2008: The beginning of this Yacht Club year was spent getting ready for the International Regatta, which was a great success. Our very own champions “Devil 3” went on to win the CORT series…again! We also hosted a race clinic for our Optimist racers to get them prepared for the many regattas to come in their future. 2008 also saw amazing growth and development in our waterfront education programs. Under the direction of Krista Siino, our new Waterfront Coordinator, we have seen the addition of a new Little Mariners program, Adult Learn to Sail, Full Moon Sails, ladies Night Sails, knot workshops, regular first aid and CPR courses etc. The High School Sailing Committee presented to the Board guidelines for the operation of High School sailing, whereby 420 sailing by various High School Teams can be formally organized. Two high schools are now fielding teams, we plan to increase that to three teams next year, with a calendar of competition here on St. Croix. The flag pole and tabernacle were refurbished; we saw the completion of front fence line, front gate and lighted pillars. East dock slip moorings were installed; as well as the channel markers reset. Thanks to Ron & Sue DeCosmo for spearheading the Family Fun Day on the 4th of July. The Club now owns a Phillips HeartStart Onsite Defibrillator and the Restroom facilities saw a complete overhaul with the removal of old cast iron, crumbling plumbing and the installation of low volume flush, handicap toilets. The Scuttlebutt went electronic; special Thanks to John Ellis for his years of dedication to the Scuttleubutt. Finally, we end 2008 by welcoming Hurricane Omar, on October 14th.
2009: The Yacht Club moved firmly in to the 21st century, converting to email billings at the beginning of the year. In January, 7 members of the Wellesley College Sailing team and their coach trained in SCYC 420s for a week. About 20 pilings were replaced on the tee dock, post Hurricane Omar of October 2008, and the dinghy dock was completely rebuilt. The 16th Annual International Regatta saw a smaller turn out of 29 boats, with the Stanton brothers Devil 3 taking 1st in Spinnaker Racing 1. The simultaneous 6th annual Valentine Optimist Regatta was sailed by 27 youngsters with the largest group (11) coming from the BVIs. In April, the CROOD Regatta in hosted 30 competitors and the St. Croix Country Day high school sailing team placed 7th out of 16 teams at the SAISA regatta in St. Petersburg. Peter Stanton placed 4thout of a field of 72 at the Sunfish Worlds in theBahamas. In May, Kate Diaz of POSH (Port Out Starboard Home) Catering and a long time Yacht Club member took over the Club catering concession. In June, 13 members were honored at a special Wednesday night dinner for their seniority of over 30 years. A diesel generator with a substantial building was constructed at the SW corner of the property. The summer sailing program trained 100 youngsters.
2010: The International Regatta was affiliated with the National Hospice Regatta Association and hosted 33 boats plus 19 Optimists in February, with Robert Armstrong’s Bad Girl winning spinnaker racing. Challis Diaz was one of two Virgin Islands sailors selected to attend the 1st Youth Olympics in Singapore and placed 20th out of 32 in the Byte class. David Kleeger and Ryan Hunter placed 1st and 2ndin the Green Fleet at the Scotia bank Regatta at the St Thomas Yacht Club in June. The summer sailing program again trained 100 young sailors. Caitlyn Connolly was hired as Waterfront Coordinator as the program entered its third year. Custom license plates were offered at the club and a number have been spotted in the parking lot. Chris and Debbie Schreiber organized a very successful Junior Sail fundraiser in November, netting $30,000 for the maintenance or the Yacht Club fleet and regatta entry fees for the junior sailors. The three year program to completely fence the property, upgrade the sewage system, and eliminate overhead wires is nearly complete.
2011: In January, John Holmberg conducted a well attended local wind and current seminar for the benefit of the junior sailing program. Five past Commodores and incoming Commodore Bill Dunne were spotted on a cruise on the lovely Maine schooner, the Roseway. In February, all overhead utility lines were removed so that boats could be transported from the ramp on the east side of the property to the storage area without lowering their masts. Vicki Bandola took over as Director of the Hospice Regatta, with a much smaller turn out of 17 boats plus 21 Optimists. In March, St. Patrick’s Day was celebrated with an Irish Jig contest and Rosie the chicken was relocated to Gallows Bay, after attending one too many lunches at the club house. At the end of April, our young sailors dominated the Laser competition at the 2011 BVI Youth Championships with Challis Diaz, Mack Bryan and Pete Stanton all taking 1st place in their division, made possible by past commodore Nick Castruccio, who sailed them to Tortola in his beloved Annick II. June saw the revival of two Yacht Club traditions, a teenage dance and Fathers Day multigenerational racing with 16 teams entering. Summer sailing attendance decreased slightly, with about 90 young sailors including a new group, Sea Squirts, open to 5 year olds; classes were extended from 2 weeks to 3 weeks. The CROOD Regatta in July saw 40 participants this year. A SUP fundraiser benefiting the East End Marine Park attracted 40 competitors and 150 spectators. Unfortunately, 4 summer races were cancelled for lack of interest, but one design racing was well attended.
2012: For the first time in Club’s 60 year history, the Alternate Slate, lead by past Commodore Charlie Fischer, was elected at the Annual Meeting in February. Immediate cost reductions were implemented to correct the Club’s dire financial condition, including a reduction in staffing. The 20th Annual Regatta, originally scheduled for March and cancelled in February, was rescheduled for November and funded, after the election. In March, a monthly electronic Scuttlebutt began publication, augmented by frequent broadcast emails, with editorial duties returned to volunteers, headed by Julie San Martin. In April, former SCYC junior sailor and J24 Worlds champion Jens Hookanson was hired as manger. Fleet Captain Peter Stanton began weekly one design series races. The CROOD Regatta took place in May this year, with 20 participants in Laser, 420s, and Sunfish. Labor Day weekend was busy with the 2nd Annual East End Marine Park Stand Up Paddle Board Event on Saturday and a heavily attended memorial on Sunday for Past Commodore and master sailor Bill Chandler; many sea stories were told. Hurricane season passed uneventfully. At the beginning of September, Optimist Friday afternoon sail training began as a weekly program with enthusiastic hands on support from the Optimist parents and Fleet Captain Peter Stanton as coach. The 20th Annual International Regatta in early November, honoring Nick Castruccio, was a great success with 25 entrants and 2 classes wining the rum (Bad Girl, skippered by Jack Bishop, and Rhodes 19ini skippered by Peter Stanton). Ending the exciting year of 2 012, Santa arrived by Seaplane, accompanied by his elves!
2013: The 2013 New Years party was a huge success, along with the Commodores Ball, which was held in March. Kim Sanford, Commodores trophy winner for this year, headed up the popular Friday night Opti races along with Fleet Captain Peter Stanton. Charlie Fischer, obtained Hurricane Insurance for the club’s dock. Premium of $4800 was paid from our Dock Rescue Fund. Docks are insured for 200K with a 100K deductible. Karen Stanton headed up the Jr Sail Fundraiser and raised 11K,which went towards maintenance on our sailing programs boats. Karen also secured 5K in sponsorships for the Crucian Open Regatta. The Little Mariners Program which was held last summer, was voted down to run that program again this summer. The Board felt it was a liability issue, since the sailors are ages 5 to 7 years of age. The issue of non-members attending our club was noted at one of the Board meetings. The current rule is 6 visits per year for a non-member, when accompanied by a Member. Karen McCoy headed up the yacht club yard sale – Profit $900. The Summer Sail program made $8K clear this year. Dues were increased this year by $50. The Bank of St Croix loan, in which we used those funds for projects at the Yacht Club, was Paid off.
The St Croix International Regatta was held November 15 to 17th and Captain Morgan sponsored the Rum this year. Sailors were not happy, they wanted Cruzan Rum!
2014 - Denis Durand, long time beloved employee of the St. Croix Yacht Club, passed away this year. Denis served our club for close to 50 years! He loved gardening and as a tribute to him, a Memorial plaque was placed in the yacht clubs front garden as a tribute to him. Jay Bryan came in as a new temporary manager, replacing Jens Hookanson. OSHA did an inspection of the yacht club and we were fined $4320. The workshop behind the office was culprit and the area was quickly cleaned up. Our fine was reduced by 50%. Dock committee headed up by Moose Silver, reported the decking and the tall pilings west of the dock needs replacing. Commodore Stewart reported health insurance for
the employees will continue, but not for the dependents. With this change, it will still cost the club $400 a month. POSH catering was replaced by Teddy in September. The CHIT system was eliminated, Cash or CC only.
St Croix Youth Sailing Association, a 501C3 made a proposal to the yacht club,
as to provide a coach for a competitive sailing program. YSA would facilitate this and provide boats as well. A separate meeting was held in regards to this proposal. The SCYSA program must follow our By laws and Club rules. Summer sailing program was well attended. Dept. of Tourism continued their
sponsorship for our STX International Regatta in November. Entertainment budget was restricted a bit due to the loss of membership with the refinery closing.
2015 - soon come..
2016: The St Croix Yacht club entered into an agreement with Youth Sailing Association (YSA). YSA, a 501c3, was headed up by yacht member, Steve Hardee. This sailing program focused on the competitive sailors. Smokey Odom was hired as a full time manager to replace Jay Bryan. The gin pole at the end of the dock was removed, since it was a hazard and liability to the club. Doug Armstrong set up Wild Apricot, an interactive system, in which members can pay bills on line and keep up to date on what events are happening at the club.
2017: September 5th – the yacht club hired Brian Cayne as Manager. September 6th Hurricane Irma hit the Virgin Islands, but St Croix saw minimal damage. Two weeks later, September 20th, Hurricane Maria hit St Croix. Volunteers along with our manager, secured the club the best they could. The club sustained damages, but was up and running by December. We lost Kaza House, our caterer, after the hurricane. The employees of the caterer kept the kitchen open. The club had insurance on the dock, club house and outer buildings. With help from club member/contractor, Dave Folman, inspected the property and the club filed a claim.
2018: Applied for the permits to replace the docks and repair the buildings started in January. The Jr Sail fundraiser held in January brought in $9600 plus 4 sailing scholarships. Chris Hanley set up the Go Fund Me account to raise money for the yacht clubs July 4th fireworks. The summer sailing program is very popular and this year we had a wait list. The yacht club received the monies from Marshall & Sterling for our insurance claim. Monies were put in restricted funds account
2019: Amy Dempster, president of Bio Impact requested info from the club for CZM. She stated a Major permit is required, due to the scope of the work that needs to be done, especially the rebuilding of the docks and replacing the damaged pilings. The St Croix International Regatta was sponsored by VI Tourism. Karen Stanton secured the sponsorship with tourism, and Julie San Martin ran race committee. Lots of social events this year everything from kids movie night to wine parties. Major work was done on the kitchen- new freezer, fire suppression system and dishwasher. The club is now running the kitchen, no outside caterer. New kitchen manager was hired along with staff. Busy year for sailing events- the club hired a water front coordinator, Meg Deegan and a sailing coach. December 31, 2019 contract with YSA was terminated, and the club resumed with their sailing programs.
2020: The 27th St Croix International regatta was held in February and again funded by tourism. A month later, March, Covid 19 pandemic hit and everything was shut down. We were one of a few yacht clubs, that held a regatta in 2020. No Commodores Ball was held, all social events were cancelled. Happy Hours were held on Friday nights. Kitchen workers, bar staff and all club members were required to wear masks. Seating was limited to six people per table and members could not congregate at the bar. Social distancing was enforced. Brian Cayne, our manager, was on top of the ever changing rules set forth by the VI government, in regards to the pandemic. Brian made sure the rules were followed or the yacht club would be shut down.
The summer sailing program proceeded, but with limited participation. Our first regatta after Covid 19 started, was the Bill Chandler regatta in November, followed by the Commodores Cup in December. Santa did arrive at the St Croix Yacht Club and Covid restrictions were followed. No hurricane this year, just a pandemic we will never forget.
2021:The pandemic continues to dominate the level of activities planned for the year at the yacht club. Masks are required to be worn in the club, except when eating and drinking. The staff must wear masks at all times and be tested periodically for Covid. Parties at the club were limited to yacht club members only, no guests. The 24th annual Jr Sail Fundraiser was very successful this year with one member donating ten thousand dollars. Covid procedures were in place for this event along with others held this year. 5 New Sunfish were purchased this year – Peter Stanton placed 4th in the Sunfish Worlds and St Croix was awarded to host the 2026 Sunfish Worlds. The yacht club had submitted an application to the Sunfish World Council, in hopes of hosting this event. Lucy Klemplen made All American for sailing at her college. The St Croix International regatta was held as usual, but a decline in attendance remains. A 5-year Fleet Replacement plan was voted in for our fleet at the club. Still working on dock permits to rebuild the docks. This process started back in late 2017, after hurricane Maria hit. A vote was taken to raise dues for 2022. The increase will help projects around the club, salary increases and sailing coach.
2022: The Covid pandemic is officially over and the yacht club returns to their normal activities. Movie nights were held, wine tasting parties, auction, corn hole games, Friday night bands and holiday parties. The kitchen is now being managed by the club, no caterer. New sailing coach, Zac Steuer was hired. Karl Gruber secured a source for health benefits for our employees and members. A big membership benefit. TS Fiona was the only threat this year, weather wise- No Hurricanes. The Sunfish Worlds were held at Lake Garda, Italy this year. Members Peter Stanton, Beecher Higby, Scott Stanton, Meg Deegan and Dave Walworth represented the Virgin Islands. CZM permits were verbally approved, still waiting for written approval. The dock is in very poor condition. Inflation- food costs and employees wages, had a negative impact on our profits. Yearly dues were increased again to offset this deficit.