This watch started last May on the North Jetty. with a focus on our roots as a sailing club.  From that point, we’ve seen the continuation and expansion of  VSS programs with a focus on our defined mission to encourage sailing, promote seamanship, foster a spirit of good sportsmanship, hold races, sponsor cruises, give instruction and sponsor entertainment for the members and their guests. We've expanded the calendar with self funding Summer events like with kayak trips, picnics and the August Crab Feast.

September found us scrambling to get out of the way of Hurricane Irma and later dealing with it’s aftermath. Some of the offshore marks survived and we continued to sail, albeit with a little bit more appreciation for what we could have lost. In October we were on Palm Island for the Steak and Sail, a new destination for VSS Steak n' Sail . In November we joined up with ESA on Lemon Bay for a new event dubbed “ Dinghy Day” as part of our mission to promote and encourage youth sailing.  And through out the year there has been a revitalization of the club’s open day sailing program. It is the board’s commitment to provide sailing  opportunities for all members to participate in.

Our climate, the proximity of the sea and the access provided by the jetty makes our home base of Venice a sailing paradise. It is a pleasure to part of club that utilizes this resource so frequently. The VSS raced every month of this watch year.  In January we shared authority for the classic and SBYA favorite, the Windjammer Regatta. This year's event saw  boats coming in from as far away as Tampa to race up and down the length of Cassey Key. The Shark’s Tooth Regatta in April showed the renewed commitment of the VYC and the VSS to pull their resources and talent to provide regatta events that attract boats from the greater regional racing circuit. With our commitment to permanent offshore marks and competent race management, the VSS racing program is a point of pride.

If you want to help us with these events, VSS  volunteers make the difference. Many of you have expressed an interest in assisting the clubs efforts and activities but do not want the commitment of joining the board. Volunteering with one of the numerous VSS committees provides an excellent opportunity to make a difference, increase involvement and participation in the club, with out the monthly commitment ofa board position. The VSS has a regatta committee, a sunshine committee, a membership committee, a publicity committee , a web committee and a nominating committee. If you are so inclined please don’t hesitate to contact me or another board member about how you can get involved and assist the club’s efforts in fulfilling it’s mission.

It’s been a privilege working with such dedicated and passionate volunteers. Please note that I mispoke about resignations from the board at the last membership meeting. Miriam Staveley, Jim Fenn and Glenn Heydt did not resign but served out their terms and did so with distinction, we will miss their service on the board next year. Moving forward the nominating committee has identified candidates for next watch. With your approval we hope to begin the process of planing the next watch season. Please join us in welcoming in the new board at the Change of Watch on May 20th at Maxine Barritt Park.

Thank You,

Jonathan Phillips
VSS Commodore

ps Don't let your membership lapse. A reminder to renew your VSS membership before you leave for the Summer.