Commodore's Corner

Commodore's Corner

It is February and we are busy sailing. Sea temps are chilly but the days are getting longer as we make way into the VSS spring calendar. Club activities and programming are designed, planned and administered through the coordinated efforts of volunteers. This past weekend’s Windjammer regatta saw an example of such coordinated efforts from passionate volunteers. Sailors from multiple area SBYA sail clubs combined resources and collaborated their skills in producing a great regatta. Thanks to all the volunteers who gave of their time and expertise for this year’s sailing classic contest off Casey Key.

Commodore's Corner

Commodore's Corner

This year the Sailing Squadron turns 45. It’s a milestone in our club’s history that reminds us that we are part of something that’s been in Venice for longer than most of us. The simple mission to build and foster the local sailing community sets the course and provides us with the direction we still sail today.

The VSS is mandated by it’s laws to organize sailing competitions. The month of January sees the VSS as the authority for two club races, one club regatta, and one regional SBYA race - the Windjammer Regatta. The Windjammer is a classic point to point race in the Gulf from Big Pass down Casey Key to Venice with a reception at the Venice Yacht Club. The next day, the race starts off from the Venice Jetty and heads back up to Big Pass. This is one of the best events in the SBYA calendar and is part of the Boat of the Year circuit, a favorite among the local racing community.

Commodore's Corner

This past Saturday night saw a great evening for the annual boat parade. A clear evening and a full moon over the water made for a spectacular sight on our local waters. The VSS’s Fleet Captain of Racing, John Lynch, kindly lent Spray for the Venice Youth Boating Association entry. With nearly twenty VYBA youth sailors and coaches on deck and two 420’s in tow, John donned his Santa suit and ho-ho-hoed from Blackburn Point down the the ICW to the judges near the Circus Bridge. The kids in return showed great spirit and were excited to be on a sailboat, albeit a motoring one. Fruition was also on the water that night to as the Venice Yacht Club’s entry. Bill Gately and his crew did a great job decorating Fruition which featured, among other things, a Santa Lou Salhany.

Commodore's Corner

Commodore's Corner

It was great to see so many people in attendance at this year’s blustery Steak and Sail. The venue was most welcoming in reserving the the water taxis for us and providing such a great menu for our group. In return, we filled their panoramic dinning room with gregarious sailors, a win-win for everybody. We were not alone in our campaign to fill the restaurant, we were joined by representatives from the Englewood Sailing Association, with whom we are picnicking this Saturday. It was a fantastic day out on the key and a great day for the Venice area sailing community.

Commodore's Corner

Commodore's Corner

So far this year our first meeting, the first race and first event were canceled. We even had a rain issue over the summer with an event as well. This is proving to be an eventful - noneventful watch year with two hurricanes interfering with our schedule. It was good to finally have a VSS event and come together as a club at the community center last week. I am excited to get the season underway and past all this storm damage.

Commodore's Corner

Commodore's Corner

Greetings from Venice. Our community is still cleaning up and emerging from a visit with hurricane Irma. Even though we were spared the worst of the winds and the tidal surge never materialized, the area did not weather the event entirely unscathed. The VSS September meeting was one minor casualty of the storm, some the VSS offshore buoy's are scattered and the VYBA lost half of their 420 fleet due to a tree limb crashing the trailer parked under it. None the less we consider ourselves lucky as we look to the devastated communities in the wake of this year's ongoing storm season and consider ourselves thankful for what we still have.

Jim Liston

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Jim Liston

.I am sorry to have to inform you that Jim Liston passed away at home about 7:30 this evening after a long bout with pancreatic cancer, which was diagnosed in the spring of 2015.  He had been under hospice care since May and has been unconscious for the past three days.  When he first was diagnosed he took a course of chemotherapy which made him quite ill, and had to give up almost all of his activities, so he sold his J-105, Cat’s Meow.  He was unable to sail in the 2015 Green Flash races at all, but he and his wife Judy did occasionally go to the South Jetty to watch us race.  Eventually the chemotherapy was changed to a prescription that was efficacious and which didn’t make him so sick and, much to my surprise, he began sailing the Venice Yacht Club owned Ranger 33, “Joy”.  My first record in Green Flash shows he and Steve Saewert as co-shippers of Joy on May 10, 2016.  At first his participation was somewhat spotty but by the August-September series he sailed all of the races and finished third in the 10 boat fleet.  In the Venice Sailing Squadron Fall Series he sailed six of the eight races and finished fourth in the 11 boat fleet.  My last record of him as skipper in the VSS Spring Series was April 15th and after that Bob Eppinger was listed as skipper.  In that series Joy finished fifth in the 11 boat fleet.  My last record of Jim sailing was in the Green Flash race of April 18, 2017, when he finished second in an eight boat fleet.  We were first in that race, but had I known that it would be his final race we could have slowed down a bit.

Jim was a long-time mainstay of the Venice sail racing community, including a lengthy stint as the Venice Sailing Squadron racing Fleet Captain and the Sail Fleet Captain of the Venice Yacht Club.  He also served on the Sarasota Bay Yachting Association Board of Directors and for some time was its secretary.  He was the VSS Racing Fleet Captain when I moved here in 2001 and it was he who convinced me to get back into racing, a sport that I thought I had left behind.  I believe he was also a member of the West Florida PHRF board of directors for a period.  Before moving to Florida he had been an active sailor in Oklahoma and other places in the Midwest as well as having been the racing Fleet Captain in at least one of his previous clubs.Jim was a real gentleman and many of us have benefitted from having known him and from sailing with and against him.  He will be sorely missed.A funeral is planned for the latter part of October of this year here in Venice.JohnLynch
Mobile 941 539-5623

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