(Revised on March 15th, 2017)



Commodore, Winky Merrill:

Good Morning and Welcome! It has been a very productive year and you can see the tangible results around us! A brand new, state of the art sailing dock with a wonderful handicap access which is used often by people and dogs. The Clubhouse is in fabulous shape, a long list of improvements is being circulated and the landscaping is beautiful.


We have spent a bit of money, but that is what must be done, when necessary to keep the physical plant up to our highest standards! Most of the labor has been donated by a small group of member volunteers, who ask to remain anonymous, at “no cost” to the Club. They know who they are and are here among us today. Please join me in a round of applause for their tireless work and the thousands of dollars they have saved the club.


I would also like to thank our wonderful and talented Executive Committee who have worked very hard for us all this year and I look forward to working with them again in the coming year.


And lastly, with all the work that we have done here at the Club and in the Community, I am sure that the Hope Town Sailing Club will continue to enjoy Its’ very favorable image here in Hope Town and on the other surrounding Cays.


Thank you all for your good wishes and kind support.


Vice Commodore, David Hanafourde:

The Vice Commodore’s duties are to assist the Commodore in his duties and to act in the Commodore's absence. The Vice also liaisons with and assists the Treasurer. In the latter area despite my limited assistance the Treasurer has continued her outstanding performance.


Normally it is the Commodore who summarizes the club's year. I am usurping him somewhat to talk about things he won’t. This year Commodore Winky and his wife Cindy have personally done a tremendous amount of work to make our club beautiful. The appearance of the Club is outstanding today largely because of their efforts. They both deserve a special thank you for this effort which has been above and beyond the call of duty.


Once again I have been privileged to work with the members of this executive board and appreciate their efforts. Thank you.


Rear Commodore: David Allin:

2016 was a year of transition. After ten years with sailing coordinator and Instructor Matt

McCoy, the reins were handed over into the capable hands of Nakia Wilhoyte and Caitlin Hevey-Wilhoyte. Caitlin is head instructor, and Nakia is coordinator and administrator. Local sailors have taught classes, and visiting sailors have volunteered their talents as instructors as well.


Five Junior Sailors attended the regatta in West End in April, and in October five also took part in the Opti National Championship in Nassau. As junior sailing becomes an ever-more popular program in the Bahamas, the Government now has a “Regatta Desk”, which helps coordinate events around the Bahamas.


This year, Saturday classes are taking place as usual. The first 6-week session has just ended, with the Grand Finale being a sail on the prys of the Abaco Rage to Man-O-War for the Flea Market. The next session will begin in a week.


March 25-26 the Abaco Rage Syndicate and Hope Town Junior Sailing are co-hosting the Homer Lowe Regatta here on Elbow Cay. It is an invitational event for adult Sunfish sailors around the Bahamas. Recently, juniors in Optis have participated as well. This year a 420 class will be added, making use of the six 420 sailboats borrowed from the Green Turtle Cay Foundation.


The Junior Sailing program operated with a significant deficit in 2016 of over $5,200. The highest expenses are instructor pay and off-island regattas, which are both very important to the program. The greatest source of funding is donations and fundraisers, and every donation is extremely appreciated.


It has been gratifying to see that Hope Town considers Junior Sailing a traditional part of the community. After 11 years of teaching over 150 children to sail, it certainly is a program that has an impact. Twenty children are enrolled this year so far, with additional enrollment coming for the second session.


Junior Sailing thanks the Sailing Club for getting it started, and all the help through the years, for it is clear that the program cannot function without strong club support.


Commodore-at Large, Eric Patterson:

On behalf of Hope Town , I would like to put forth my deepest thanks to the Sailing club and it's members for the tremendous and unselfish support our community receives from the club.

Here is list of a few of the many causes you have supported this year and years past:

Hope Town Fire Rescue


Hope Town Junior Sailing

Hope Town Sailing and Sports camp


Lighthouse Preservation society

Abaco Rage Sailing Syndicate

Hope Town Primary School

Friends of Abaco Animals

Friends of the Environment

Last year I made a plea to the membership to support the new community center and the response was absolutely fantastic. Stage one was completed last year and since then numerous event have taken placing including the annual Christmas play, a couples dinner and other plays, There is even a Ballet coming up on April 15. let me say I never envisioned seeing a Ballet on Hope Town! This just goes to show the opportunities that the community center affords to both residents and visitors of our unique little island.

I am proud to call Hope Town my home and the Hope Town Sailing Club is an integral part of the community and I wish to say that the club and it's members have my eternal gratitude for helping to make Elbow Cay the jewel of the Abacos.


Past Commodore, Stafford Patterson:

Last year the Club invested in a new dock, not an inexpensive undertaking but one that was well needed. Some dock facts:

* The dock was constructed in 1994, making it 22 years old at the time of its replacement.

* One sixth of current Club membership was members when the dock was constructed.

* Though known locally as “The Sailing Club Dock” the dock is actually a public dock due to its location off a public road.

* The dock survived at least 6 powerful hurricanes, including Floyd in ’99 and Jean in ’04.

* The dock was constructed with galvanized steel hardware which was the norm during that time. We know better now and stainless steel hardware was used in the construction of the new dock.

* The dock is well lit with solar powered lights and as such is very user friendly at night.

* With proper maintenance, best estimates have the new dock lasting 30 years, so the next replacement is scheduled for the year 2046. Most of us here today won’t have to worry about dealing with that!


Many thanks to the Club and all members that continue to help support Hope Town Junior Sailing and the Abaco Rage Sailing Syndicate. Your assistance along with these two groups will make the upcoming Homer Lowe Regatta a smash hit with both locals and visitors, I have no doubt. And by so doing we fulfill Hope Town Sailing Club Objectives A, B and C. Beast wishes to all members for the remainder of this season and beyond. Cheers!

Past Commodore, Dave Pahl:

As a past commodore, I tend to be very critical of my replacement and I am proud to report that Commodore Merrill is continuing to raise the bar of the HTSC. The club has never looked better and the pride of workmanship is evident everywhere you turn. Great job Commodore and crew!!


Secondly, I still take great pride in our dinghy race series and am happy to see between 14 and 20 boats participating on any given Sunday. The Sunfish program was inaugurated nearly 6 years ago and in that time, almost 60 HTSC members have been checked out in the use of the Sunfish. Our fleet of 8 boats is made available through a cooperation with HTJS, who owns the boats. It is my vision to start a systematic replacement of the older boats, to be provided by the HTSC, for the members. This upgrade will be spread over several years and I am proposing that we keep the number of boats available at 8, just being mindful to keep the fleet current and equal in performance. We are also searching for used late model Sunfish to buy, so please help to get the word out.


Your input is invited and please share your views with the executive committee. The Sunfish fleet has been my pet project from its inception and I feel that we need to be proactive in maintaining the quality of the fleet, for all and any HTSC members to use and enjoy.


Membership Chair, Deanna Taylor:

This past year, the HTSC has accepted 20 new members, nine members have resigned, three members and one honorary member have passed away, and six members have been dropped for non-payment of dues. The club membership count stands at 293.

Members that have passed away: Margot Owen, Bill and Kathy Pritchard, and honorary member Frank Kenyon.

New members are:

Craig & Carol Fillman Michael Zimmer & Susan Crowe

Ted Alford & Dena Cameron Jane & Ron Campbell

Marty & Denise White Molly Rice & Dan Priebe

Brad Davis Sabine & Reinhold Propst

Kim & Rick Penning Art Dennis

Ron Swezy & Pamela Cantrell

Those members that have resigned are:

Gaynel & Evans Wilhoyte Adam & Sarah Lawrence

Carla Maarse Brian Wooten-Wooley

Jane Engle Bill & Carol Dichter

Members not submitting dues as of February 28, 2017:

Art & Bernadette Pfeiffer

Gus Lookner

William Dennehy & Mari Stanley


House Committee Chair, Marcia Talley:

Beginning this year, Boutique sales were taken over, reorganized, and efficiently and creatively managed by Nan Fulton and Cindy Merrill. It was an outstanding year, and top sellers were ball caps, aprons and ladies ¾ sleeve V-neck Ts. The remaining inventory includes an ample supply of burgees, belts, dog collars and leashes along with our “standard” white short-sleeve Tshirts. Sales are expected to remain brisk throughout the spring season. Some items will need to be reordered.


Amnesty funds this year, as with previous years, were used to offset catering costs at special events such as the Taste of Hope Town and to supplement hosted Stand-Ups. The Executive Committee voted to raise the cost of amnesty from $50 to $80 per member to reflect the actual costs incurred, including VAT. This had immediate effect, increasing funds available for special events to $2340.00.


A continuing concern is members who for various reasons neither sign up to host a standup nor pay amnesty. Able-bodied members are encouraged not to use an amnesty payment as a “get out of jail free” card, but to consider purchasing appetizers from local restaurants when it’s their time to host.


Social Calendar: Mar. 1, 2016 – Feb. 28, 2017


Spring 2016 concluded with the following events:


The Commodore’s Dinner was well attended (80 persons) at the Abaco Inn with a delicious dinner menu and beautiful table settings. A highlight was the unveiling of a large portrait of the Sailing Club by artist member, Kim Rody. The painting was purchased by Mary Rice who generously donated it to the club where it now hangs. A sizeable portion of the purchase price was donated to the Junior Sailing program. A giclee of the painting was presented to outgoing Commodore Dave Paul. Members can purchase copies (giclees) of the painting in various sizes directly from Kim, who will also donate 20% of the purchase price to Junior Sailing.


Our 2nd Annual Taste of Hope Town was a great success, managed by new member, Lynn Noyes. Eleven (11) restaurants sent appetizers; over 100 members and guests attended. Donations were collected for the Junior Sailing Club to support the all-Bahamas Opti Competition in the fall.


The Annual Spring Picnic in April 2016 was held at the home of members Jack and Betsy Helm at Rock Point. The weather was fantastic, the view unparalleled, the food superior and several members enjoyed the swimming pool. Although the Helms were unexpectedly called off island, the picnic went on as planned with transportation provided by vans from Sea Spray and the Abaco Inn.


Each new season, from the first weekend in November through the last weekend in April, members are able to attend over thirty hosted Wednesday race day and Saturday evening Stand Ups. Approximately 130 members hosted these stand ups and another thirty-four members provided amnesty funds. Honorary members are exempt from both hosting/amnesty. Almost one-third of our membership did not participate in Stand Ups and/or were not on island. We continued our RSVP policy this season to help with crowd control during the busy months and this was greatly appreciated by our hosts/hostesses as is not arriving at the Club before the 4:30 or 5:30pm start times.


Winter 2016 events: The members-only Christmas Dinner was a resounding success, splendidly managed by Past Commodore Dave and Carol Pahl. Meats were provided by the Abaco Inn (turkey, prime rib and lamb “lollypops”) and the Judges (spiral-cut ham), with potluck side dishes and desserts from members. A special shout-out to Caroline Wight who designed and installed the wall and table decorations.


Good use was made this year, too, of the new television screen and DVD player to show slides of races and other club events, usually taken by member Will Heyer. The equipment was also used for occasional movie nights and several “Tuesday Nights at the Opera” organized by member, Al Shapiro.


This year the Gents & Ladies Luncheons were organized by Stafford Patterson and Betty Beaudoin, respectively. The men’s luncheon was at Stafford Patterson’s home, “Up The Creek.” The Ladies enjoyed a luncheon at the Hope Town Harbour Lodge featuring guest speaker Hermanette Jean-Noel who talked about the history of scarves and demonstrated various stylish ways of tying them. Betty was assisted by Kim Penning, Lauren Storck and Elizabeth Davies.


Spring 2017 events: The annual Commodore’s Dinner will be held at the Abaco Inn on March 8th. The cost will be $42 exclusive of VAT & gratuity.. It includes a choice of entrée -- steak, grouper picatta or portobella pasta – and plated salad and dessert courses. There were slots for 90 members which “sold out” early, necessitating a waiting list. So that all members who wanted to attend could be accommodated, Tom Hazel squeezed in one additional table for a total of 94 seats.

For the second year in a row, the Thursday date set aside a year in advance for the Commodore’s Dinner was “pre-empted” by a wedding at the Inn. In each case, the event had to be switched to a Wednesday and members had to be notified of the change to the pre-printed calendar. I recommend that future Commodore’s dinners be scheduled for a Tuesday or Wednesday rather than a Thursday.


After one year as vice-chair and two years as House Chair, Marcia Talley has retired, effective following the Commodore’s Dinner on March 8. Patti Love has agreed to become House Chair for the 2017/18 season, with the assistance of Kim Penning. Plans are already in place for the Taste of Hope Town (Mar 25), arranged by Myna Stephens, with ten restaurants (so far) providing appetizers. The Spring Picnic (Apr 8) will be held at “Dream On,” the Melesi home near the ball field. Member Richard Cook will provide the BBQ pig, with members bringing side dishes.


I wish specifically to thank Nancy Schiffer and Vicki Fuger who served as House Vice-Chairs for Nov-Jan and Feb-Apr respectively. I couldn’t have done it without you, ladies. Bravo!


It has been both a pleasure and an honor to serve on the Executive Committee for the past three years and to represent the membership in all things “house.” Smooth sailing all!


Race Committee Chair, David Allin:

This season has been a somewhat tricky one, in that the winds have not often cooperated with the schedule of the races. On the Wednesdays of big boat racing they have more often than not, been too light to non-existent or too strong whereas on the Sundays of dinghy racing too high, consequently the schedule has been thrown off throughout the season.


Notwithstanding this we have had good competitive racing in both fleets, and it has been heartening to hear that the word is getting out to cruisers visiting the area for the first time that HTSC is putting on exciting racing and that they are welcomed. I know of two instances of cruising sailors who have said that they were planning upon returning next year because of this club, and I believe that both would make excellent participating club members. This is how a sailing club thrives and prospers!


The Race Committee, again this year, has been a super cohesive group, to whom I give all the credit. We have had a great deal of fun, which I happen to think is what it is all about, since we cannot participate on the water.


I would like to pay tribute to my committee, specifically Denise White, who, when Catherine and I were delayed arriving, was really thrown in at the deep end and took command of the racing so admirably and well. She has been a super PRO for the dinghy fleet, and I hope will remain so. John Foster, who has always been available for sage advice in course setting, and Di Hunter, who has, for the second year running, volunteered “Caesar’s Ghost” for every dinghy race this year It would be hard to find a more enthusiastic member of both big boat and dinghy committees. She, along with John Storck, both members of the choir, creep out of church on Sundays in the middle of the service to be on the dinghy fleet committee boat on time. Catherine for her tireless energy in keeping my feet on the ground. Both John and Catherine have worked long and hard on perfecting the computerizing of the results, so that we now have the results printed in the format that you see on the board, often before the RC boat is back on the dock. We are not a paperless R C yet and probably never will be, but we are heading in that direction. Sue Holloway has been of great assistance on both race committees and George in his Honorary Membership capacity, is always available for advice, particularly when it comes to rules and handicaps. We have also welcomed Pam Cantrell to our ranks, who has been a very good & knowledgeable addition. That is the regular big boat committee, we must also add for the dinghy racing our other helper on that race committee with the clearest hand writing of us all, so thank you Linda Eshelman.


Will Heyer, who once again this year has put up with us so valiantly each and every race. You may think that his main job is taking all the wonderful pictures that you see during the awards stand up, but he does in fact work very hard in setting the marks exactly where we want them.


Finally we could not do any of this without the participation of the people who volunteer their boats to act as Committee or mark boats and for this we and all the racers thank you very much.


Fleet Captain: Jay Evans:

Over the last two months weather conditions have not been as challenging as they were in 2016. Last year the weather cooperated for only one of eight scheduled events.

This year we have had to reschedule or cancel a few outings. We enjoyed a great "Fleet" gathering at Cracker P's with over forty members in attendance. Special thanks and a round of Cruiser's Net "clicks" should go to the Trio of Brad Gunn and Denice & Marty White for providing great musical entertainment.

Later in the month, four boats set out enthusiastically for Little Harbor, but Chris Parker's reports turned three back. The fourth enjoyed a great sail down, evening and return.

Club members are quite happy ensconced in Hopetown as they "harbornate" through the winter months. The Club's offering of exciting small boat sailing activities has kept the focus in Hopetown. There also has been a surge in non-Club programs that have offered attractive alternatives.

Although the weather was cooperative their was no interest in sailing to Fisher's Bay latter and our Rabbit Race Raft-Up had to be canceled under a blast of arctic wind. There now remain only two events on our schedule, the cruise to Treasure Cay and April's Tahiti Beach bonfire.

I am expecting a LARGE turnout for our visit to Treasure Cay. We have arranged for a complementary drink and hors d'oeuvres on March 23rd and a 20% discount on room rates. Please sign up early! Let's have a show of hands: Who is thinking of going ? Members without overnight boats should try to hitch a ride. Put your name on the "Hopeful Free-Loaders" sign-up sheet now on the board and book a room. Signing up early greatly helps in planning this popular event.

On a personal note, this is my 5th year as Fleet Captain and all should recognize that promoting these events and building participation in BIC's and VBIC's is what makes them successful. It's no fun without you! Thank you.


Sunfish Fleet Captain, Dan Forman:

First let me say thank you to Rocky Keith for being the sunfish fleet co-captain as I could not do this job without his assistance.


We have had a very active season of racing and also some of the largest spectator crowds I have seen, which is a great calling card for the club.

The maintenance on the boats is increasing every year as the fleet is getting older. We will need to come up with some sort of plan on updating the fleet with a new boat every couple of years, rather than throwing good money after bad.

We are still hoping to have the Di Hunter woman’s race before the end of the season if the weather gods allow. The Reingold race is this Sunday and then the Michael Jackson Sr. the following Sunday and we hope to see everyone out there.


Webmaster, Carol Pahl:

This past year saw several changes with the website and its staff. First of all, the 1and1 web host discontinued our old plan, which required it to be totally rebuilt from scratch. This would come under the heading, “how I spent my summer vacation.” Learning the new program's idiosyncrasies was challenging, but it did provide some improvements. I hope you like the new modern look and the added photo slide shows. They can be paused whenever you want, and the photos can be enlarged just by clicking on them.


Our upgraded plan includes more pages, and I took advantage of that by creating a Membership page. Here, not only will you find the member application procedure, but there is also a list of all the new members since our directories were issued, plus the current prospective members that are posted. A new Frequently Asked Questions page is also available and this is updated with any changes that are made after our rosters are mailed.


Secondly, our staff has added a few new members. After a year of asking for volunteers to help ease my workload and learn the website, Marcia Talley graciously stepped forward to be assistant webmaster following her retirement as House Chair. I cannot thank her enough and I look forward to working with her. A big thank you also goes out to Nancy Schiffer who has volunteered to help, and she has been sending in wonderful write-ups and photos of many of our club and community events. This really helped ease John Storck's workload too, so he could specialize in his witty yet detailed race reports that we all enjoy reading. Although John has now left for the season, I have coerced Past Commodore Dave into trying his hand at writing about the remainder of the races, and I thank them both.


Of course the website wouldn't be the same without our talented photographers' never ending work. Thank you Will Heyer, Catherine Allin, and all the other contributors during this past year. Everyone, please send me your photos both during the busy winter season and during your travels in the summer. Also, if you are involved in a Hope Town community event or fundraiser please be sure to send me information, flyers and photos so I can post them. This is what makes the website so comprehensive and interesting, and reaches out to a large readership. In fact since 2005, there have been approximately 60,000 visitors to the website.


Thanks to administrator Melissa Guinness, our club members only Facebook page is going strong, and approximately one third of the membership have joined. It has been instrumental in getting time sensitive information out to those in the group. If you have not joined yet, I highly encourage you to do so by searching for HTSC on Facebook, or using the link at the bottom of the Current News Page on our website, and then asking to join. Do not rely totally on Facebook though, as www.hopetownsailingclub.com is still THE place to go for all the latest news, detailed reports and photos that you are used to seeing. With my staff, along with you the readers and contributors, the website can continue to be the prestigious source of information it has become over the past 11 years.




Building & Grounds Chair, K. Guinness:

HTSC Improvement 2016-2017:

New Sailing Club dock and handicap access

Added one more ladder to the dock

Black piling caps installed on the dock

Solar lights along the dock

Public bench repainted

HTSC dock sign repainted and installed

Safety lines along the shore on either side of the dock repainted

Installed an opening latch on safety line for easier access to the boats on the beach

Added roof extension over access to head

Removed and replaced roof at the front of gazebo

New hinges on bathroom door

Secured bathroom sink to wall

Bathroom door painted

Hung custom built storage cabinet in bathroom

Painted bathroom

Added new roof over Clubhouse/gazebo entrance

Concrete repaired and new handrail to Gazebo entrance installed

Front of Clubhouse and Gazebo painted

Shutters painted and hinges painted black

Fence painted

Steps to Clubhouse repainted

Door side of Clubhouse painted

Back of Clubhouse- shoveled out the sand and dirt to prevent further decay of the foundation

Dug out a platform for the garbage-cement to be poured at a later date

Built new storage box for opti and sunfish equipment and use as standup bar

Moved water system from in the Gazebo to an outside storage lockbox

Replace all light bulbs with LED lights

Repaint and repair all lighting in Club House

Add new track lighting in Gazebo

Add new light in Gazebo over equipment boxes

Installed feet on the equipment boxes and added ventilation holes in the bottom of boxes

Add new lighting over equipment box in Clubhouse

Put feet on equipment box in Clubhouse

Remove all old and unused pipes and wires from Club

Install new “on demand” hot water system in kitchen

Repair and replace entire water pressure system

Painted Gazebo interior

Painted Gazebo floor

Replace 2 outside electrical boxes in gazebo

Added electrical outlet by Gazebo entrance

Replaced all 6 emergency electrical fixtures-Gift from Richard Cook

New PA system installed

Added 2 new Dinghy trophies

Reused the solar lights from the dock and put them in the front garden

Removed, installed and painted back fence


Future Work to be done in the HTSC:


Replace bathroom light fixture

Replace bathroom faucet

Replace bathroom sink pipes

Hang donated charts in bathroom

Replant the new fence area with grass and plants

Replace roof on right side of Clubhouse

Install rain gutters on front of the gazebo


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