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View from the Bridge, Commodore Mark Cetta

December 31, 2014

Commodore Mark CettaSubmitted New Year’s Eve, 2014

It’s been quite a year here at the Harlem Yacht Club!
Let me give you a recap of what went on…

First and foremost we put the club on a sound fiscal basis. PC and Treasurer Bob Fleno, PC Brian Hendricks and Finance Chair Joe Morris spent a great deal of time straightening out our filing issues, arranging for auditing services, and bringing our reconciliations up to date. These should keep us on a firm footing for the future.

We did a lot of work on the house. Frank Cavacini, RC Bob Richardson and George Gibbons were all over (and under) this place, cleaning ducts, fixing sprinklers, installing a new furnace, repairing the balcony railing, cleaning the sewer line, patching our ancient plumbing, keeping the refrigeration running, installing new phones, assembling new deck furniture and replacing whatever else needed to be replaced. We redecorated the ballroom. Thanks to new member Doug Smith for his help in making decorating choices and finding the installers for the new window treatments. All these folks worked hard this year and because of them this old house works better and is prettier than ever.

Additionally, as a result of all this, we are in compliance! What does that mean? It means we have managed to get in step with the requirements of just about all the relevant EPA, FDNY, and NY Building Department regulations, no mean feat in a building that will be 100 years old in the coming year. Our fire alarms, fire extinguishers, kitchen hood systems and sprinkler systems are all up to date, monitored and certified. We have one more issue to clear and we’re well on our way to that. Thanks to Walt Tyler, who kept our pollution monitoring up to date, Frank Cavacini, Bob Richardson and new members Ed Williams and Ron Mangione. They did a terrific job!

And speaking of Sandy (well we were kinda) we’re prepared for the next storm. We went over our insurance policies,had the land surveyed and the buildings appraised. With an eye to getting the most coverage for our buck we solicited a second series of bids for coverage. In the end we felt we got the most value from our current company so we stayed with them, however; we tailored our policy to take our current replacement costs into account and saved the club some significant money.

As all of you noticed, we restructured our restaurant too and put it on a viable fiscal basis. Opinions were mixed but we gained some valuable experience and we developed a very strong and functional restaurant committee, one that will help us build for next year. They’ve done a good bit of canvassing and have some strong candidates for next year’s steward. Thanks to Restaurant Chair Rick DeBenedetto, PC Anthony Rosco and committee members Melanie Williams, Mike Solomon and Art Koenig for their time and effort.

I’m sure you all also noticed we rebuilt our dock. The Dock Committee deserves credit for this (with a special thanks to VC Jeep Califano and Frank Cavacini for the engineering and project management) and thanks to you all who tore apart the old gazebo and put the new decking down. Look forward to a new gazebo in the spring. PC Bob Fleno organized a fund raiser for it and is spearheading the planning for construction.

You may have also noticed we’ve reached out to the community around us. Our flag officers met with the flags of the other three clubs on the island. We began providing launch service to our neighbor, the Stuyvesant Yacht Club; we developed a relationship with the City Island Theatre group; and we began an affiliation with the Sound Sailing Club, one which will provide a great benefit to both organizations in the coming years.

The Marine Committee did its usual superlative job. Thanks to them and to chair George Morstatt, the boats got launched in the spring and hauled in the fall, with only a minimum of fuss. George had it down to a science. The launch ran flawlessly this year (with the usual occasional breakdowns of course). Launch Chair Bill Clancy deserves our thanks as does our head launch operator Dave Sandoval and his crew.

Vince Pirrone managed to keep the Lockers and Grounds business up to date while giving us a great deal of legal help as well. Thanks Vince, your penance is over. Go in peace.

We went to the New York Boat Show and we held a bunch of open houses to follow up on the contacts we made there. Thanks to Membership Chair Rob Murphy. We did mailings, hung banners, and used our website and our new blog to spread the word and we brought in a host of new members. We also made one of our members, Vincent Nicoletti a Life Member. He’s been here 40 years, think of that! Thanks to all of you; as I have said before, you are all the HYC’s best advertisements.

And last, but certainly not least, we had a fun year here. After all, that’s what we’re here for. We raced in the Twilight Series, cruised to destinations far and wide and had some of the best BBQ I’ve tasted in a long time. Thanks to Fleet Captain Marcia Leeds, Entertainment Chair Walt Tyler, Race Chair Roy Smith and Twilight Organizer Paul Beaudin. And thanks also to Paul’s house band. Rock on fellas, rock on!

So that’s it. I have one more day to go until the gold stars on my sleeve morph to silver. It’s been a great year working with great people. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of flag officers. Ellen Murphy did a wonderful job as Secretary keeping the minutes, meeting notifications, membership applications, membership cards and directories all up to date. It’s a big job and she does it well. Jeep Califano was a steady and supportive VC. He will certainly have my support right back as he takes over in the coming year. Bob Richardson has served this club well in many capacities. He made a fine RC. You ask Bob to do something, it’s done, no drama. That’s a rare and much appreciated quality. Thanks Bobby. And lastly, Bob Fleno was a terrific Treasurer. He was the man of the hour and a terrific consiglieri as well. My thanks for your hard work and wise council, Bob.

So now the time has come to go. Partings should always have some good and dramatic words to mark them, so let me leave you with some words that are worth saying:
First, from John Paul Jones:
“It is by no means enough that an officer of the Navy should be a capable mariner. He must be that, of course, but also a great deal more. He should be as well a gentleman of liberal education, refined manners, punctilious courtesy, and the nicest sense of personal honor.
He should be the soul of tact, patience, justice, firmness, kindness, and charity. No meritorious act of a subordinate should escape his attention or be left to pass without its reward, even if the reward is only a word of approval.
Conversely, he should not be blind to a single fault in any subordinate, though at the same time, he should be quick and unfailing to distinguish error from malice, thoughtlessness from incompetency, and well-meant shortcomings from heedless or stupid blunder. In one word, every commander should keep constantly before him the great truth, that to be well obeyed, he must be perfectly esteemed.”
And last from Mark Twain
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

My best to you all,

Mark Cetta

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 3, 2015 16:05

    Very well written posting and you should be proud for getting all those helpers to do an amazing job to bring the HYC up to date. Even though Elle and I are far away in Florida we follow the blog and look forward to all the postings.

    We want to wish all the very best and Healthy New Year. We are settled into our new home down here in Florida and extend an invitation to anyone that wishes to visit to just call.

    Regards to all,

    Dick and Elle Lassman PC
    Honorary Member #77

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