Yacht Club renovates clubhouse, will debut shared boat program this year

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Members of the Oak Orchard Yacht Club gathered for conversation following a day of spring cleaning on Saturday. At left, vice commodore Phil Abel chats with Tracy and Frank Panczyszyn. Members have done extensive renovation to the club house, including painting the dark wood white, some of which is visible at left and installing a smart TV.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 25 April 2022 at 5:07 pm

Bob Hodgins, left, commodore of the Oak Orchard Yacht Club; Phil Abel, vice commodore; and John Brown, past commodore take a break during spring cleaning day Saturday at the Yacht Club on Archbald Road.

CARLTON – Summer is just around the corner, and members of the Oak Orchard Yacht Club are getting ready.

Grass is getting green, days are getting longer and the Yacht Club had its spring cleanup day on Saturday, during which Commodore Bob Hodgins of Bethany shared plans for the sailing season.

This is Hodgins’ second year as commodore, during which he will continue to encourage new members and increase relations with the community.

Hodgins and his wife Mary Lou have been involved in the Yacht Club for more than 30 years, when their children were in the first youth sailing program. The Hodgins are avid sailors and have sailed their boat all over, from the Caribbean to Figi.

Last year, Hodgins started Thursday night races, inviting everyone living on the Oak Orchard River to participate.

“People on the creek came up and used the club, and we plan to do it again this year,” Hodgins said.

One thing Hodgins is particularly excited about is the Yacht Club purchasing a boat, so they can offer a shared boat program. He said he has been meeting with all the commodores on the south shore of Lake Ontario and several of them have a shared boat program.

The Yacht Club now owns a 28-foot sloop with an inboard engine. Anyone who wants to learn to sail or doesn’t have a boat can share the boat with up to four others. Each will pay $400 for the year.

From left, Patty Moorhouse and Bob and Kayleen Muscarella enjoy camaraderie at the Oak Orchard Yacht Club Saturday. A day of spring cleaning was followed by a potluck supper.

Hodgins expects the boat to be in the water in two weeks.

One big change they made was how the club functions. Previously everyone was encouraged to go through all the positions, which sometimes pushed someone into a position he was not qualified for or didn’t want. To change that, they rewrote the constitution.

“We will try to recruit people with skill sets for each position,” Hodgins said.

They have also added a technical director, website technician and marketing director. They also eliminated the second secretary’s position.

Officers of the club, with Hodgins, are Phil Abel, vice commodore; and the late Bill Wymyczak, rear commodore. Wymyczak was diagnosed with cancer in January and died March 24. His memorial service was Sunday at Sacred Heart Club in Medina.

Hodgins said a new rear commodore will be chosen soon.

Dave Soehner of Lyndonville is IT director with his wife Cinnamon. Jeff Thuman of Barker does the  website. The marketing position still has to be filled. Kim Hoffman of Albion is membership chair, and John Zimmerman is director of the youth sailing program.

Hodgins added in the future they will encourage the board’s officers to work as a team with their spouse.

Sandy Chappius, owner of Chap’s Diner in Elba, will again run the kitchen at the Yacht Club.

Hodgins is excited about the interest in the youth sailing program, which is in its 30th year. Last year they ran two classes, and they are already half filled up for this year. It would be possible to add a third session if the demand is there, he said.

Mary Lou is hoping with Covid restrictions lifted, visitors will again come from Canada.

Information on the Oak Orchard Yacht Club is available on their website at www.ooyc.org and on Facebook.