Commodore’s Comments

Charlie VasulkaCommodore Comments, Leadline, Leadline Club News

The club is up and running and things are beginning to return to normal. Many of our fleets have already had successful regattas as well as High School Sailing. We’ve begun to socialize after Wednesday night racing at the clubhouse. We are seeing great turnout for racing on both Wednesday and Sunday. I would like to thank all the fleet captains for their persistence in communicating with their fleets and promoting the club activities.

As you look around the club, you’ll see a greater number of masts up for this time of year. Let’s try to get all of our boats ready to sail soon. Tom Fee has done a tremendous job setting up informative seminars that have been well attended. We have had great remote seminars on the most recent changes to sailing rules in the US Sailing rule book (see our website for the link), and our own Jamie Jones gave a great seminar on race management.  The most recent seminar was in-person on our grounds (and water) on boat handling by Matt Fisher and assisted by some of our better sailors and instructors. To paraphrase Larry Schottenstein who attended the training, “It’s great to be a member of a club where people are so willing to share their knowledge and experience.”

We have many new members this year. Some are purchasing boats of former members, and several are bringing new boats to the club. The MC Fleet is growing and we have more Lasers on site. When you see people at the club, please introduce yourself—they may be new or haven’t seen without a mask and you’ve forgotten their name. If you are like me, you may need help remembering people’s names.

I appreciate all the time and efforts so many of you contribute to the maintenance of our facilities and grounds. I am looking forward to seeing people for the Independence Day weekend activities and the upcoming social events. Check out our online calendar here.  Of course, all of this is only possible because of you, as we make our club one of the best sailing clubs in the country.  Our new member Ed Spengeman offered his testimony to this claim in his recent membership application.  I invite you to read it through. 

A Touching Tale by Ed Spengeman

Dear Charlie & Ted,

The SOLE purpose for our move from Kentucky was to get our kids closer to the Hoover Sailing Club and the thriving junior program that Jamie and others helped to create.  My wife and I met racing Highlanders and Thistles and are in the process of introducing our two kids Ben (12) and Emma (9) to the sport.  Living in Louisville our only real option for sailing was the Ohio River . . . with numerous seasonal floods, pretty tricky currents, insanely fluky winds and barge traffic.  Needless to say, it wasn’t an ideal location to safely teach young kids to sail.

[After a 5-year search for a youth sailing program] Frustrated, I decided to extend my search radius to 3 hours away from home.  I took a total flyer reaching out to Jamie Jones to see if he’d be willing to let a kid from Kentucky join his Ohio learn to sail program.  Luckily he said “YES!”, which set this entire life change into motion.

We hit the first week of camp with no housing and decided to camp in a tent out by the parking lot.  I specifically remember telling Ben “Now this is how sailing clubs work.  The club racing usually happens on Saturday & Sunday.  Once they’re gone we’ll mostly likely be alone for the rest of the week.”  Boy was Dad wrong!  We were blown away at how much activity Hoover had through the week.  Like no other club I had seen.  We saw club racers hanging out and socializing into the night, adult training classes doing chalk talks, the Interlake fleet doing a cookout, Wednesday night racing, junior race team practice, day sailors, high school racers and people just coming out to the club to catch a relaxing sunset on the porch.  It was remarkable to see.  We ended up having a great week of camp and both of us made a ton of new friends.  I couldn’t get over how welcoming the Hoover community was to the weirdoes from Kentucky camping in their front yard.  We were hooked for sure!

Eventually we worked Emma into the Hoover camp and junior regatta travel circuit.  The following year Jamie allowed MY KIDS to be honorary members of the Hoover JRT when we went to travel regattas.  They got to wear Hoover Race Team pennies and feel like part of a team.  It was such a neat thing to watch how not only the camp kids, but also the camp counselors treated my children.  It didn’t matter if they were at a dock on Hoover or an away regatta sitting around the bonfire in a circle of off the clock teens.  Teens that didn’t huddle around cell phones and dish out attitude, but instead were kind spirited and quick to lend a hand.  Kids that worked hand in hand with parents to tear down boats for travel regattas.  Teens that would corner my uber shy son and make it a point to ask him how his day was.  Teens that would scream out his name from across the parking lot when we would roll into town and then chase him down for that awkward hug.  Counselors that would braid my daughter’s hair during chalk talks because they knew Dad was clueless.  It was an inspiring group of kids that we so desperately wanted our children to be a part of.  Enamored with their counselors, each year our kids would come home from camp and ask “Dad do you think Jamie would let us be camp counselors when we grow up?”  It made for some tough discussions about the reality of our location and its limitations.  For some odd reason my wife was having a discussion one night on Hoover’s porch with a few sailing moms about “What if we just moved to Hoover?”  It wasn’t but a few months before our “forever” house was on the market and we were accepting the idea that Hoover would be our new home!!!  To think it all started with Jamie simply saying “come join us”.

I share that novel because I wanted to let you and the board know why we showed up on Hoover’s doorstep this year.  Why we uprooted our entire life for your sailing club and what it’s done for our family.  We feel like what you guys have at Hoover really is something special.  I’ve raced for 30 years now in numerous classes at clubs all over the US, but very few have what you guys have created.  As an outsider looking in, I see a thriving club with a welcoming spirit.  A club that has enough traction to retain a few of the biggest names in the industry, while also feeling safe enough to attract newbies on day 1.  A club that feels like a cherished family lake house that has been passed down from generation to generation, that just gets better with age.  My wife and I agreed that after all of these years (25+) something about Hoover just seems to draw you back.  With all of the ups and downs that come along with holding a seat on the board, I just wanted to let you know that from an outsider’s perspective you guys are getting it right.