Our yachting year is ending, and believe it or not, so is my time as Commodore!  I took over in December of 2019, at a time of great uncertainty for our club.  We were mired in a seemingly intractable problem with Post 291, and it was a very difficult time to enjoy the normal parts of managing a yacht club.  We somehow managed to get Valor into the Christmas Boat Parade, and the spirit of our members (and a lot of hard work) pushed us to a resolution with Post 291 and a SCYA Club of the Year award.  

Just as things felt back to normal, we found ourselves in a global pandemic.  Yet even with that, we had moments that just stood out as remarkable.  Who could forget the M Street Band, performing live via Zoom with our members dancing in their homes.  We also found a young movie producer who created his own sailing movie and came to talk to us about it via Zoom.  Those indelible images will forever be linked to that year.  We also won a second Club of the Year Award, this time in the Senior Class.  We won that by finding ways to just go be a yacht club, even in the face of this pandemic.

This year did actually feel more normal, even though it started under that COVID cloud.  We had a full racing season, managed most of our major cruises and events, and ultimately did have an in-person Opening Day (just three months late…).  With the theme “The Good Old Days,” it certainly felt like we were back to some normal times as we listened to the Swing Kittens and their 40’s music style, and enjoyed some fine food prepared by the chefs at Post 291.  We also kicked off the first annual “Battle of the Paddle,” a paddleboard race throughout the harbor that was so popular it sold out well before race day.

For 2022, we have a similar year planned, and we also have more of you to enjoy it.  Our membership has swelled to the highest level since 2019, with ALYC reaching more veterans and their families with our unique mix of activities and connection to military families.  It’s that part that I personally take as my most gratifying memory of service to ALYC.  We get to play around on the ocean, but we have a chance to change lives with our membership and our connections to our military community.  It is a tremendous honor and privilege to think that our work may have impacted the life of a veteran who desperately needed to know somebody cared.  It is humbling to think that a simple activity that we plan, could provide that connection opportunity for one of you to meet another, and that meeting could have a lasting impact.  We saw that time and again, like on July 4th when the young Marines and Soldiers met up with Lt. Gen H.R. McMaster.  

I am fortunate these past three years to have served along some of the finest veterans and volunteers that you will ever find.  This group of dedicated servants has worked tirelessly and sometimes thanklessly on projects, and they do it because of that impact they also feel when giving back to their club and community.  They’ve put up with working with me, which I’ve been told is not always as much fun as I think it is!   They also listen and learn from many other leaders in ALYC and are well-positioned to lead this club this year, and in the future.

I will likely talk more about all these things—and a few other key moments--at the Commodore’s Ball and annual Change of Watch ceremony on January 22, 2022.  I hope you plan to attend as we missed that one in 2021.  I am profoundly grateful for the support provided to me by our Staff Commodores, who helped me get started in 2019, and for all of you that encouraged me to not give up the fight for ALYC.  It has been an honor to serve as the Commodore of ALYC.

Fair Winds and Following Seas,

Bruce Batcheller

Commodore 2019-21


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