Manhattan Yachtclub Newsletter 02.11.2017


Manhattan Yachtclub Newsletter 02.11.2017

Sailing is a metaphor for life. Recently I was at the helm of Black Arrow. There was a strong breeze and she was leaning over and slicing through the water. I hope all of us have opportunities to live parts of our lives in this manner – filled with exhilaration and powered by nature.

For 30 years Manhattan Yacht Club has been providing great recreational opportunities in New York Harbor. The Club has made a positive impact on so many Members in so many ways. Now there are MYC alumni scattered throughout the world, some still sailing and others now retired.

This note is a thank you to all the wonderful people who have participated at MYC over the years – from the Members, corporate sailors and sponsors who have provided the economic support, to the staff and sailing instructors who have worked behind the scene and up on stage to provide such great experiences for everyone. And also thank you to the thousands of friends of Manhattan Yacht Club who have helped us over the years, some in very small ways and others in very large ways. Together, we have changed New York Harbor for the better.

When the very first MYC boat launched in 1987, most people said, „You can’t sail in New York Harbor.“ Today, most images of the harbor include pictures of our sailboats. Times have changed and so have we. The wind changes. Tides change. Our Club is also on the verge of some great changes and improvements and I look forward to announcing them soon.

– Commodore Michael Fortenbaugh

30th Anniversary Annual Dinner

The Annual Dinner, the final event of Manhattan Yacht Club’s 30th Anniversary will be held on Wednesday, December 6, 2017. Tickets for Members are now on sale at

Annual Dinner & Awards Ceremony

The Trip to Monaco Classic Week

As part of our Club’s 30th Anniversary celebration, we traveled to Yacht Club de Monaco in September to participate in Monaco Classic Week. This was a trip back in history because our two clubs co-organized the International Yacht Club Challenge in 1989 & 1991. Since then, Yacht Club de Monaco has grown in stature, first acquiring the classic 15 Meter Tuiga and then building the greatest clubhouse in the world. This has been envisioned by YCM’s Secretary General, Bernard d’Alessandri. Besides being a personal friend of our Club, Bernard is one of yachting’s great visionaries.

Manhattan Yacht Club’s racing and social teams were 20 plus for this regatta. Fourteen people had an opportunity to race on „Hallowe’en“ during the week. Hallowe’en is an 81 foot William Fife designed yacht. She was built in 1926 and set a Fastnet record which stood until 1939! She is currently owned by a syndicate from the Royal Irish Yacht Club and the captain onboard is Inigo Strez, originally from New Zealand. We certainly were a world-wide crew which also included Australia’s Olympic Women’s 470 Skipper.

Sailing a yacht of this size and caliber is an exceptional experience. To begin with, the yacht is more beautiful than most people have ever seen. She is a true work of art and piece of exceptional furniture. Then she is also complicated with lines running in every direction. An important part of classic sailing is tradition and maintaining authenticity. The feeling you get when stepping aboard Halloween is magical and one reason why the classic yacht circuit in the Mediterranean is so prestigious and worthwhile. This was an experience our sailors will remember for a lifetime.

Activities at YCM began on Tuesday evening when our Commodore and Rear Commodore were invited aboard Puritan by Tomas De Vargas Machuca. As an owner, Tomas has a remarkable grasp of the history and details of construction of his yachts. He has restored Puritan and Orianda and is currently working on two 10 Meters which equate well to our two 12 Meters. Maybe we will have an opportunity to race these 10 Meters in the future. You can see their vision at this website which is full of eye candy!

Racing began on Wednesday and in the evening, we were treated to a tour of the YCM by Amélie Sayers, head of Twinned Yacht Clubs and Michael Kannenberg, the Maitre d’Hotel. This tour introduced our Members to all the decks, bars, rooms and secret rooms within YCM. It culminated with a gathering in the Members Bar where we celebrated with a champagne toast. You can see the video at

From this point on, the 2017 edition of Monaco Classic Week began to acquire legendary status. The evening progressed from one bar to another and then eventually ended up again on Puritan for the night cap.

Thursday saw a mistral blow through so racing was only held for the 15 Meters. The top mast on Lady Anne broke in half confirming the decision for other boats to stay in the harbor. In the evening, Rear Commodore Galbiati’s family hosted cocktails for our team at their incredible house overlooking the Mediterranean and the Monte Carlo Country Club where the annual tennis tournament is held. Then it was back to YCM at night for the lively crew party. To get a sense of the celebratory vibe of Yacht club de Monaco, click here

Racing began again on Friday and the MYC sailors on Halloween were keen to go. The social aspects of the regatta also kicked into higher gear with multiple events each evening. Friday began with cocktails hosted by the new Gustavia Yacht Club of St. Barts. Next on the schedule was a moving tribute to Carlo Riva who passed away at age 95, leaving behind such a famous legacy through Riva powerboats. Then it was on to the exclusive „La Belle Classe“ Party which continued through the night with non-stop champagne, oysters, food and dancing. The younger Members of our team made a strong showing on the dance floor and contributed to the atmosphere in a positive manner.

If you have not yet visited Yacht Club de Monaco’s new clubhouse, you must go. When we visited YCM for regattas in the old days, we enjoyed going out after sailing and experiencing the beauty and thrill of Monte Carlo. But to give you a sense of the new clubhouse, now when you leave it’s pampered decks to go out, you immediately want to return. Monaco is already one of the jewels of the world and now YCM is the crown jewel of Monaco. There is no better atmosphere anywhere. Every yacht club around the world looking to improve their vibe and grow the sport of sailing in their own location should visit YCM on a fact finding mission.

Now that we’ve told the story of Monaco Classic Week from our Club’s point of view, here is the official YCM video which presents everything in an even more elegant and luxurious manner


Monaco Classic Week is every two years and will be held again in September 2019, so start preparing now. MYC will field one or more teams and you can be part of it. We may also need to throw the first „American Party“ during the regatta, complete with a world-class Jazz band.

For more than 10 years, America II US 46, a pure-bred racing machine, has proudly represented Manhattan Yacht Club and the New York Harbor Sailing Foundation. She was bought by a Syndicate of Members on the Club’s 20th Anniversary. Then she was donated to the New York Harbor Sailing Foundation which has the mission to foster and promote amateur sailing. Our team’s yearly goal is to support the continued restoration of US 46 and to sail her safely in the harbor. The 12 Meters personify the spirit and tradition of American yachting.

Whether cruising in front of the skyline of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty, visiting historic yacht clubs on Long Island Sound, organizing 12M Universities with America’s Cup veterans, and racing in Newport, US 46 has been fulfilling a dream and also pursuing a greater vision – 12 Meter match racing in NY Harbor.

US 46 team of 55 Friends helped raise funds along with Members and others for the purchase and restoration of her sister ship, US 42, also named America II. This is the 30th anniversary of the 1987 America’s Cup in Australia where both of these 12 Meters competed. This was also the last Cup with the 12 Meter class. And it is also the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Manhattan Yacht Club. We celebrated in grand style with exhilarating action, lots of sailing and twice a week match races against our new Friends of US 42!

What made our season really great was the new partnership with Louis XIII cognac. The people we hosted for sails in the harbor where incredible and equally thrilled to be part of our sailing experiences.

This year’s highlight was racing up Long Island Sound, competing against teams from the storied Larchmont Yacht Club, Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club, Breakwaters Yacht Club, and Fishers Island Yacht Club. This incredible week culminated with two epic races in Newport Harbor. We can’t wait until 2018 when we will continue the great successes begun this year.

This maiden year with our newly established Manhattan Yacht Club IOD Fleet has been nothing short of exhilarating! With just shy of 50 races to date, as well as participation in the World Championship in Maine, North Americans in Fishers Island and the Nantucket Invitational, our IOD sailors definitely had a busy and fun season! And in just a couple of weeks they will be racing in Bermuda.

Our Fleet has now officially reached 6 boats and two are new builds- which other than being beautiful also appear to be extremely fast downwind – putting the rest of the fleet on notice!

Many amongst you had a chance to sail on these boats – and some are talking about getting involved. This is great! Our goal is to have 8 on the starting line come May – and I happen to think we’ve got it!

We will be hosting an MYC IOD Fleet Cocktail later in the Fall – so make sure to stay tuned for that and attend if you want to learn more about this amazing fleet and its sailors. In any case, reach out to me if you have any questions or if you want to acquire a boat or join a syndicate. Email

Operation Optimist is the junior sailing program organized by the New York Harbor Sailing Foundation. It began with 10 boats in 2007, thanks to our Club’s initial support through fundraising regattas. This was the first junior sailing program in the harbor and the kids learn to sail in the protected water south of Liberty State Park. A special thanks to everyone at Liberty State Park and especially Superintendent Robert Rodriguez. Their support makes all this magical stuff happen for lots of kids every summer.

This past summer, Operation Optimist grew from 30 to 40 boats, making the program even more exceptional. Even at 40 boats, most weeks sold out! The majority of kids still come from Manhattan where the program was founded. Since our operations have moved to Jersey City, kids from Manhattan come across on the water taxi every morning. And now there is growing participation from Jersey City kids thanks to City Council Member Candice Osborne and Dept of Recreation Director Kevin Williamson. The Jersey City Council Members each sponsored one kid for 2 weeks. This was the same way the junior programs were started in Manhattan after 9/11. Our then Lower Manhattan City Council Member Alan Gerson led the charge and helped secure the funding for this incredible program. There is no other program as successful as this in the city

The kids who participate are split into three fleets based on their experience. „Greenies“ are the beginners who are just learning how to sail. They evolve into „Blue & White Fleet“ sailors. And the most gifted and ambitious sailors join the Race Team which is designated by red pinnies.

Money to support Operation Optimist is raised every spring at the Annual Sailors Ball. This is the big black tie party which celebrates the start of the new sailing season. The success of last year’s ball helped the Foundation purchase 10 more Optimist Dinghies, an investment of more than $35,000.

The effect on kids is incredible. You can speak with any parent and they will tell you how Operation Optimist excites and energizes their sailors. The kids learn the basics of sailing and gain enough confidence to take their own „Optimist“ dinghy sailing by themselves.

next summer, the Foundation hopes to have another successful Sailors Ball fundraiser and then expand the fleet further. At 40 Optimist dinghies, the program is already exceptional but if we can reach 50 by next summer, the program will become world-class and one of the largest youth urban sailing programs in the country. This goal is certainly within our reach and the Foundation just need more parents and sailors to get involved in fundraising and volunteering. If you would like to help out, please send an email to

The British Virgin Islands have been our winter cruising grounds since January 2001 when we organized the first „De Caribbean Regatta.“ This summer, Hurricane Irma devastated the BVIs.

Our Club has also experienced disasters, the first being 9/11 and the second being Hurricane Sandy. After 9/11, we went back to the BVIs for the second Caribbean Regatta. When word spread we were going down, the Royal BVI and the West End Yacht Clubs got together and threw a cocktail party for us.

This year, we are going back to the BVIs and we are going to throw a cocktail party for them.

Our own experience has taught us that after disasters and the initial aid, emotional spirits need to be lifted. It is important that friends come to visit. We are going back to the BVIs to buy drinks and food at every bar and restaurant that has reopened. We are going back to spend an hour or more each day cleaning beaches and doing other work which can be helpful. We are going back to help lift up the spirits and remind the BVIs of our great future together.

All Caribbean Friends are invited and encouraged to join this expedition. This year, De Caribbean Regatta will also be a fundraiser with participants making donations. Our target is to raise between $20,000 and $40,000 for the BVIs. We have checked with the Moorings and they expect to have boats available, although supply will be limited. This will not be the fancy BVIs we have seen in recent years. It will be more rustic – bars with just a card table, dinners at a beach BBQ – perhaps a little more like it was when we first started in 2001.

To begin organizing De Caribbean Regatta, we need skipper volunteers to lead the boats. Skippers get to go for free and receive a $500 credit towards airfare. Once the skippers are in place, we will invite crew to join the boats. Boats normally sail with crews of 6 to 8 people. If skippering a boat and helping the BVIs interests you, please email

If you wish to join this important Caribbean Regatta as a crew, you can begin signing up at

De Caribbean Regatta

The BVIs have given us so much. This is our time to return the favor.

I consider it a great honor and privilege to have been appointed as your Rear Commodore during our Pearl Anniversary – and what an anniversary it has been!

This year we managed to do so many exciting things together; common mortals seldom get a chance to do them over their sailing careers.

Spirits are at an all time high. I could attempt to list all the incredible opportunities and events that took place this year; locally, nationwide or even internationally – but trying to put a finger on a specific one would not do justice to all the other incredible ones.

The one thing that I know for sure is that it all could not have happened without the hard work and dedication of so many Members, the Club staff, the Manhattan Sailing School instructors, the NY Harbor Sailing Foundation and all involved – You are the ones that have allowed the Club to elevate our pastime and passion to a world class level – Thank You.

We have many incredible opportunities ahead of us, which will allow us to continue to grow stronger and greater together; our season does not end in October- if you want to be part change: Get Involved.

– Rear Commodore Luigi Galbiati

Report from our Club Manage

MYC welcomed over 125 new beginner & experienced sailors in 2017, and as of this writing our Club is 450 members strong!

J/24 Cruising – Our amazing volunteer Fleet Captains have logged more than 427 sails thus allowing 1,708 spots for Crew members so far! Our Mentor Program and Skipper Testers have created 8 new MYC-qualified Skippers this season! We also welcomed 5 more Skippers to the honorable Fleet Captain status.

If you are a Skipper member who is interested in sailing more, but can’t always find Crew, consider becoming a Fleet Captain by talking to Peter Abelman. Even if you are not a Fleet Captain, but want more Crew for a sail, you can ask Mindy for MYC Crew.

If you are a Crew member interested in becoming a MYC-qualified Skipper, consider the Mentor Program in 2018. It is not mandatory to becoming a Skipper, but is beneficial as you prepare for the test.

MYC Racing – Be it J/24s, IODs, or the 12 Meters, many members enjoy the thrill of competition! Over the winter, look for an announcement about a racing social mixer where Racing Skippers can meet new or current MYC Racing Crew with an eye towards forming their 2018 teams.

MYC Clubhouse & Grounds – The improvements kept on coming this year! Carpet, a coffee table, and new plaques and commemorative items were added to the Clubhouse interior. The big „12 Meter“ deck with three beautiful teak tables, chairs, and sun umbrella sets was a huge hit. The lawn was extended to the back of clubhouse with added Adirondack chairs. A blue awning with our name was added to front of Clubhouse creating both shade from sun and cover from rain. A new BBQ was added to the collection of other BBQs. The Club store had many new options for our stylish Members. We added an IOD division. We added a kayaking division. And most recently we added a wider gangway to the J/24 docks and a gangway from 12 Meter deck directly to the IOD & 12 Meter docks!

Get More Involved – Watch for special seminars and pop-up activities this „off-season“ and do consider joining Club excursions. Upcoming excursions include cheering on MYC racing teams in Bermuda (November) or sailing in De Caribbean Regatta (January), where members will have fun while also helping in the BVI’s. These are fantastic ways to get to know more members and make new friends! The more you get involved, the more enjoyment you will get out of your membership.

– Club Manager Mindy King

Upcoming Trips & Events – 30th Anniversary Season

This is the 30th Anniversary Season of Manhattan Yacht Club! These are the upcoming events you should add to your calendar:

Weekend in Bermuda – November 16-19
After our sailing season ends here in Manhattan, 3 teams of racers will head to the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club to continue our relationship with the International One Design class. All Members are also invited to participate in this trip by joining our „Social Team.“ Bermuda is only a short airplane ride away and a great place to spend a fall weekend!

Frostbite Racing Begins – Nov 25
Keep your skills sharp throughout the winter. This will be year 2. Look for more details soon by email.

30th Anniversary Dinner – Dec 6
This Celebration of our 30th Anniversary Season will be held at the Down Town Association. Tickets will sell out so be sure to book your seats ASAP.

De Caribbean Regatta – Jan 27 – Feb 3, 2018
Every winter, our club teams up with Manhattan Sailing School to have a great week of sailing vacation in the Caribbean. This event is always one of the greatest vacations of your life.

Seen at the Club

There are hundreds of pictures which get uploaded in real time on our club Facebook. Stay in touch with all the exciting things happening by liking and following this page

Manhattan Yacht Club, Located at Liberty Harbor Marina, The Sailing Capital of New York Harbor, Jersey City, NJ 07302