(Revised on April 10th, 2018)


COMMODORE: Winky Merrill

Good morning and welcome!

I can not believe that 6 years have flown by since I agreed to be a Flag Officer! I have had a great run and hopefully will leave a memorable legacy behind. I want to thank all the members who have donated their time to make this Club function, year after year, and in particular those who have served on the Executive Committees. I would ask that those of you who have not participated in the operation of the Club to roll up your sleeves and get involved. It will be rewarding to both you and the Club.

The Hope Town Sailing Club is in terrific shape, both physically and financially. Now that moneys have been spent to refurbish the Club House, repair the roof and replace the dock, the future of the Club and its finances looks to be strong.

The sailing programs and the involvement with the community remains very strong and should continue as such for the foreseeable future.

Both Cindy and I have had a great 2 years making the Hope Town Sailing Club our home and look forward to enjoying it as regular members for many years to come!

I will pass the gavel to David Hanafourde and wish him well as Commodore at the helm of the Hope Town Sailing Club for the next two years.


VICE COMMODORE: David Hanafourde

The Vice Commodore’s responsibilities are primarily to support the Commodore and to serve in his absence. This has been an easy job with Winky and I believe a success.


I would like to thank him and Rear Commodore David Allin for their efforts this year and to particularly thank the members of the executive board who are the people who get things done. I would like to particularly thank Winky’s building team for the all that they have accomplished in bringing the Club to top condition.




This year brings a welcome addition of two paid junior instructors, who rose through the ranks, and are now teaching the younger kids to sail. Branden Sands is the 2015 Opti Bahamas Champion, and passed the instructor course last summer in Nassau. He is teaching Racing Optis and 420’s. Summer Aberle has been sailing with the Hope Town program since she was barely old enough. She joins the Advanced class in the mornings, and in the afternoon she assists Head Instructor Caitlin Wilhoyte with the Beginners.

One of the program goals is to demonstrate to the kids that there are jobs out there in the sailing field. Perhaps this could be a start of a career for both of these young instructors.

This year, Saturday classes are taking place as usual. A highlight was a sail on the prys of the Abaco Rage to Man-O-War for the Flea Market.

Another highlight is the donation of a gently used Laser sailboat by George and Stepper Leboutellier. The Laser is very popular in racing programs all over the world, and our kids now have a chance to learn to sail yet another type of sailboat.

March 17-18 Hope Town will again host the Homer Lowe Regatta here on Elbow Cay. It is an invitational event for adult Sunfish sailors around the Bahamas. Last year we had 17 Sunfish from Nassau, Grand Bahama, and Abaco. There is also a class for Juniors in Optis. We hope our own club Sunfish sailors will participate, and give the visiting racers a run for their money! We will need several “courtesy and safety boats” for the event, both Saturday and Sunday. Anyone interested, please contact Solitaire I or Sue Holloway.

Finances: The Junior Sailing program operated with a smaller deficit in 2017 of just over $1500, thanks in large part to the generous and entirely unexpected donation from the Abaco Anglers Tournament (sponsored by Lighthouse Marina). The highest expenses as usual 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. Thank you everyone who gives a donation with their dues.

I would just like to add as a postscript to the Junior Sailing Report that I have greatly enjoyed my time as Rear Commodore and liaising with the Junior Sailing Group. It is my fervent wish that my successor continues to endeavour to bring HTJS and HTSC back closer together. Their financial affairs will always remain separate, however that should not mean that a closer working relationship cannot be fostered and achieved. Perhaps a start would be for a representative of each to sit on the other's board ? A Sailing Club without a vibrant and keen Junior Sailing programme is not really a sailing club, for they are the future of that club. 




The Sailing Club and its membership have once again exceeded expectations in their charitable volunteerism and monetary support this year. I am truly grateful for this level of unselfishness and generosity.

Here is a short list of some of the worthy causes that have been supported over the last year:

Hope Town Fire Rescue


Hope Town Junior Sailing

Hope Town Sailing and Sports camp


Lighthouse Preservation Society

Abaco Rage Sailing Syndicate

Friends of Abaco Animals

Friends of the Environment

I would like to encourage members to please continue the outstanding support that has been given to Hope Town Junior Sailing since its inception. This program fulfils objectives A, B, and C of HTSC by promoting sailing, holding regattas and encouraging Bahamians to continue their interest in sailing.

Junior sailing just started its “third” generation of kids and as we all know some of these children can be the key to the future health of the Hope Town Sailing Club.

Thank you for being part of Elbow Cay and thank you for making my home a more interesting place to live!





The Club is in excellent shape. Over the last year a crew of hard working member volunteers, painted much of the Club inside and out, added additional lighting, improved the Opti and Sunfish gear storage areas and rebuilt the bulkhead at the back of the property. A local roofer replaced 2/3 of the roof tiles last summer. The building crew is building a new roof as we speak to cover the entrance to the Gazebo. The club structure is in excellent shape, functioning well and should continue to do so for many years. Many thanks to Commodore Winky, his crew and the many others who put in long hours, hard work and time.




House Committee Agenda:

  1. Christmas Dinner for 2018 I see us having three choices:


  1. Only 60 people will be able to comfortably fit in the clubhouse for a sit down dinner

  2. Formal Cocktail Party

  3. Abaco Inn


  1. I will open the Club House in October for our first Stand Up November 3rd, 2018. I would like to have our first stand up with inviting people that you would consider bringing in as members to come as a Guest. We would have tickets made with their names on it to present to the door. Bring in some further interest.

  2. I have agreed to stand in for the House Committee Chairman again until February 1st. Kim Penning would be my Vice. We will need to seek out two people for these positions in February and restructure the responsibilities so they would be more inviting.

  3. It has remained a good and productive season. Kim Penning and I work well together as a team.

  4. We have confirmed the venue for the HTSC Picnic. It will be held at Nathan’s Bay in North End. Beth and Tim Cook have agreed to let us have usage of their yard, bench and downstairs bathroom. Transportation would be better by boat so if any of the Executive Board could help with transferring members up there it would be most appreciated. Dan mentioned about taking the Sunfish to Cracker’s P’s and that did not work out due to weather. The picnic would be an ideal situation to have members sail down to Nathan’s Bay.

  5. Looking forward to a magical event at the Abaco Inn for the Commodores Dinner. We have sold out at 95 members.




Big boat racing appears to be thriving with an active and enthusiastic fleet. The numbers are down somewhat from previous years, but thus may, in part be due to the weather. That said we have managed to run all scheduled races and the competitors have numbered between eight and ten for each race.


The R C has been encouraged by the positive attitude shown by the racing skippers over the proposed new courses and we hope that by giving the committee the freedom to choose which course to use for the races, has spiced up everyone’s enjoyment of all involved.


Dinghy racing similarly has suffered from weather related delays, although we have benefitted from a very strong and keen Sunfish fleet, who have had some good sailing.


The Abaco Dinghies have only ventured onto the race course once this year, which is somewhat disappointing, but again has been mainly weather related .


For the one race that they did compete on we used the new format using our new fluorescent green marks which enables us to give them a longer course, basically two course in one .


Junior sailors in Optis or 420’s have been noticeable by their absence, a great shame but perhaps just a sign of the times. Many other attractions and alternative sports.


Of course, none of this would be possible without my super team of willing, and in many cases, far abler and more experienced committee members.


I am not going to itemise their individual strengths and accomplishments, for they all know what they have done and do, but I would like to acknowledge them all, specifically, John Foster, Sue Holloway, Pam Cantrell, Di Hunter, Catherine Allin, Linda Escheman and from time to time Pim Epler and George Holloway. Thank you all.


I would also like to recognise and thank all those who have volunteered their boats to act as Committee boats, without you

we could not function.

Finally last, but by no means least , the volunteers who provide our mark boats and of course our main man Mr Will Heyer who knows where the marks should go before we do, more often than not, and who also gives us those amazing pictures which we all look at during the awards standup.


Thank you all !



Following last year’s annual meeting approximately thirty members of the Club headed to Treasure Cay for a two night stay under foreboding skies. Wednesday night we were treated to a display of Di Hunter’s cannon firing accuracy followed by an enthusiastic kazoo jam session. Thursday night we enjoyed a grand banquet and were entertained by the Harbor Cats and aerial paper napkin combat between the east and west tables. All of which proved that maturity has nothing to do with age.

Finally, before heading back north we gathered for a bonfire on Tahiti Beach. Barry led us in song and it seemed to be a fitting way to end the season as the sun set in the West.

This year we started with a similar bonfire and beautiful sunset. That was followed by a cruise in mid-January down to Grabbers on Guana Cay. Attendance was excellent and we had a second wave of cruisers on the following day. As February rolled around we cruised down to Little Harbor. Approximately twenty participants gathered at Pete’s Pub.  Some of us had to rise early to exit on the flood tide, but were rewarded by a beautiful sunrise.

Looking ahead, we have scheduled a short trip across to Cracker P’s this Wednesday and later this month a cruise down to Treasure Cay. We will end the season with another Beach Bonfire which all can attend by boat or cart.

These events are all weather dependent and members should always consult the club’s Facebook page for updates on the morning of the scheduled event. We cannot make Club announcements on the Cruisers’ Net as these events are not open to the general public. We have and will on occasion announce that a Club discussion will occur on another channel.

We are trying to include in as many events as possible a new category of member know as “free-loaders.” If the weather holds and tomorrow’s event at Cracker P’s goes ahead, members are encouraged to pick up “free-loaders” at 11:30 at the Club dock.
Likewise we are encouraging members to provide transportation to Treasure Cay where discount overnight accommodations will be available.

Thank you.




Sunfish Replacement Budget and Report 2018-2019


The popularity of HTSC sunfish fleet has grown in the past several years, thanks in part to the stewardship of past and present sunfish fleet captains.


This year and last we have had 9 to 14 boats participating in the Sunday races, and an increase in spectators.

The boats have not only been used by racers, but by club members who have used them for day trips and weekend sails.

The boats are beginning to be included club activities, for example, an upcoming BIC to Cracker Peas and the club picnic on March 31.

The Di Hunter woman’s regatta is scheduled for March 10

Last year HTSC sponsored the Homer Lowe Regatta which brought hundreds of people from all over the Bahamas to Hope Town. It is planned again for this year.

Our sunfish fleet generates interest in and encourages personal ownership. Each year club members who have used the club boats have bought their own boats for racing and cruising; this would not be possible if it were not for the club boats.

The Sunfish fleet is just beginning to tap into the more social aspects of the club and could be an asset to encouraging younger members.

At present time we have been able to maintain the fleet (8 boats) in good condition, but it is past time to start thinking about replacing boats on a schedule.


The newest boat is already 9 years old, and the oldest is 22. The present fleet will not last. For example, last year we had one of the older boats racing and it was taking on water between the hulls. This could have been a serious problem had it not been for the skill of the skipper.

I propose that we use the capital reserves fund for the replacement of the boats, buying 1 new boat every 2 years, and selling off an older one. This would be dedicating $3,000.00 each year towards a new boat.

With the very large amount in the capital reserve fund, even after building our new dock and completing the clubhouse renovations this year, we certainly can afford to replace 1 boat every 2 years and keep the fleet in a safe competitive condition. The capital reserve fund will still be growing 10% a year, doubling the fund in 10 years. 

It is the responsibility of the executive committee to maintain the Club House and the dock, two of its assets. The sunfish fleet is also an asset to the club and therefore should also be maintained.

But of course this is up to you, the executive board and the membership to decide if you want to continue to have a safe, competitive sunfish fleet as part of the club.





This past year the Hope Town Sailing Club has accepted 14 new members, 26 members having resigned, three members have passed away and seven members have been dropped for nonpayment of dues. The club membership currently stands at 271.


*Members that have passed away:

Bob Knaus 10/21/17, Doug Moody 12/ 20/ 17, Dave Donnan 2/12/18


*New Members:

Art Dennis 3/7/17

Reinhold and Sabine Probst 3/7/17

Peter and Wendy Cowie 4/6/17

Jim Murtaugh and Tracey Cameron 11/7/17

Cha Boyce 11/7/17

Amy Baker and Debbie Baldridge 11/7/17

Maurice and Valerie Healy 1/9/18

John Barr and Kate Weatherby 1/9/18


*Members that have resigned:

Peter and Carol Sherratt 2/14/17

Nancy Wessell 9/15/17

Nan Kenyon 9/25/17

Rudy and Suzy Vedovell 9/27/17

Harry and Phyllis Geiger 10/3/17

Dave Donnan 10/11/17

Ray Brown and Teleri Jones 11/20/17

Bruce and Gail Barton 11/27/17

Stancie and Mac McClellan 12/14/17

Dave Clery 12/1817

Ben and Belinda Doliber 12/22/17

Ginny Vought 12/30/17

Frank Ayers 1/19/18

Jim and Julia Laughlin 1/19/18

Tom Casey and Doris Taylor 2/14/18

Randy Seldon and Nancy Murdock 2/21/18


*Members Dropped For Nonpayment Of Dues:

Norm and Mary Sharp

Lory and Nancy Malm

Philip Jensen

Debbie Baldridge and Amy Baker






The Hope Town Sailing Club’s website continues to be the premiere source of club and community information for both members and non-members alike. This past year, Marcia Talley has been a big help in getting schedules and news posted when I haven’t been able to do so. Nancy Schiffer has done a tremendous job of reporting about events and making sure I have her write-ups and photos within 24 hours. Dave Pahl and David Allin have written about the races in John Storck’s absence. Sue Holloway keeps us up to date on Junior Sailing news. Catherine Allin and Will Heyer’s photography is amazing, and we now have two new contributing photographers, Art Dennis and John Barr. A huge thank you goes out to all of them and to everyone else who has contributed to the website’s content, and of course to you the readers!


The club members only Facebook page is still up and running and if you haven’t joined yet, please do so, and feel free to post. Between that and the website, everyone is able to stay informed in an extremely timely manner.


We’ve come a long way since the start of the website in 2005 and it is now way more than a newsletter or a blog. Check it frequently and please keep sending us your information and news for www.hopetownsailingclub.com.




ROSTER CURATOR: Carol Fillmann

1. Transferring files to MinuteMan Press in Conway, NH

a. Have sent files from MinuteMan Press in Delaware to NH

b. Have been able to transcribe from one format to a more general format

2. Developing spreadsheet of all members so that changes can be easily made at future times

a. Please submit any changes by July 1 to either Carol Fillmann or Nan Fulton

b. Changes should include all information ie, changes in phone numbers, boat additions or deletions, and email addresses.

3. Budget for Roster will be set at $2,000. with hopes of being less

depending on number of changes.






At this time, I would like everyone to consider the commitment it takes to be a commodore. It is a 10 year process, four years of working up through the ranks, the actual two year stint as commodore, and then staying on the executive board as a past commodore for four more years with the wisdom of a consultant.


I would like for you to join me in thanking Stafford Patterson for his commitment, as he is the outgoing Past Commodore this year. Stafford is the product of our fledgling junior sailing program from years ago, and I think it is quite an accomplishment to add the title of Hope Town Sailing Club Commodore to his resume. Prior to beginning this process he served as Commodore-At-Large as the liason to the local community. Everyone knows that he is not addressed as ex-commodore or a past commodore, but simply as ''Commodore''. Stafford Patterson, thank you for your service.



PAST COMMODORE: Stafford Patterson


Debbie and I joined the HTSC in 1995 and I will just simply say that The Club at that time was not quite the Club we have here today. In 1998 I was asked to be Commodore at Large and served the club as such for 12 years and during this time the HTSC Junior Sailing Program was thankfully revived, in 2006. 2012 to 2014 I served as Commodore, the first Bahamian to hold the position. Today, my tenure on the Executive Committee officially ends, after a total of 20 years. But do you know how I got here? Its because I was a Junior sailor in the early ‘70’s, probably one of there best things that has ever happened to me in this life so far. But you know what? I’m not going anywhere, I live here and I hold the HTSC dear to my heart, especially the sailing part. Please, lets us as a group, continue to help and support things such as the HT Junior Sailing Program, The Abaco Rage Sailing Syndicate, our cruising boat races, the Homer Lowe Regatta and the Summer Camp. Do you know why we should? Because the first three of the Clubs six objectives state:


[a] To promote the sport of sailing in the area of Hope Town, Abaco

[b] To hold or arrange Regattas, races and other competitions and to offer, grant or contribute towards the provision of prizes, awards and distinctions

[c] To encourage Bahamians to continue their interest in sailing and racing.


We certainly don’t want to forget about Objective [d] that says The Club is to: Provide social amenities for its members. I like that part too but at the end of the day, and as the name implies, this is a Sailing Club. So I take this opportunity to urge us all to remember this as we move forward to our 100th Anniversary in 2064.


Thank you, and have a great day!


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