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Sailing Season Begins

The Sea Cliff Yacht Club kicked off the start of the new season with the annual commissioning ceremony and open house on a rainy Saturday evening, marking the opening of the 122nd season in a club that has undergone some changes and renovations since vlast season.


Harvey Bass, the 46th Commodore of the club, was elected to the position last October just days before Superstorm Sandy struck.


“I want to thank you all for being here, on what is another day of my water-soaked term,” Bass began. “It was just three days after my election that Sandy hit us, and now another day of rain. What did you expect when you elected a Bass?” he joked. 

“Some will look back at my term and say, what a disaster,” he continued. “Seventy two hours after taking office, the club had four and a half feet of water, no power, and the Regatta Room was full of water, muck and debris.


What I have witnessed over the past few months, some would call a miracle. But for Sea Cliff, this was not a miracle.”

Bass spoke of the time and energy the staff, board and club members devoted in the days following Sandy, noting they “went into overdrive” to clear debris and clean up the club.  


“There are many organizations who call themselves clubs, but very few who understand the meaning of that word,” Bass remarked. He noted that a club is defined as a group with a mutual purpose, saying, “At Sea Cliff, that mutual purpose is, we care.” 

Bass then mentioned the changes that have occurred since the last season ended, including the rebuilding of the Regatta Room, which had just been upgraded the year before, and a new chef at the helm in food services. 


“As we go into our 122nd season, each of us has the responsibility to carry on the meaning of that word club into our community,” Bass said.  The yacht club intends to become more involved in affairs that affect the community at large by hosting a number of events; in June, a benefit for mutual concerns and the food pantry are scheduled.


Additionally, Bass presented two Humanitarian Awards. The first recipient was Timothy O’Rourke, past commodore, who saw people fishing as the water level was rising one day last fall and called the Nassau County Police Department. The next day, he saw a picture in the paper of the police department rescuing those fishermen.


The second recipient was past commodore Brad Dickson, who lent a helping hand after a snowstorm.  “I had just finished plowing when my snow blower blew up,” said Bass. “Brad showed up with his son and cleared out the rest of the driveway...they were going around to all the older members and clearing out driveways. That is what this club is about: real people doing real things for other real people.”


The club received a special addition, as well, thanks to some fundraising efforts for a new telescope.  Past Commodore George Christman, Jr., and Jim Aikman, who is on the Board of Governors for the club, said they started a fundraising campaign two years ago and asked members to contribute. Three months ago, Aikman said they achieved their goal of covering the cost of replacing the telescope. He said he saw the names of Fred and Stephanie Yutkowitz on top of the donor list; Stephanie passed away last August, so the new brass engraved telescope “will stand in dining room in loving memory of Stephanie.”


The ceremony concluded with the raising of the flags; let the sailing begin.