The mission statement, “Easy to access and sail” was achieved by Long Beach Yacht Club when it came to selecting, securing and preparing their newest fleet of boats with a focus on those just entering the sport.
Over the last 11 years, LBYC’s Soling fleet has slowly grown from two boats used for match racing training to a fleet of eight, with a ninth one just recently added.
“All but one of them were donated to the club,” according to Waterfront director Chase Young,
LBYC’s Michael Tande said, “The entire fleet has been refurbished and updated to new boat condition.”
Helping fund the effort, Club Soling charter members are the Transom Donors: Lisa Meier, Debi Lorbeer, Camille Daniels, Kirk Brown, Justin Palm, John French and the Long Beach Sailing Foundation. Even the Murray family jumped on the Transom donor list with one of the boats aptly named “JoVenture.”
“With the addition of the Soling Fleet, many juniors and yacht club members can practice their sailing skills and participate in regattas. The Club could possibly host an international Soling Regatta in the future. Time will tell,” donor Debi Lorbeer said.
Turns out that having club-owned maritime assets is becoming commonplace.
Shoreline YC’s Port Captain Edward Hart and Vice Commodore Deb Kelly confirmed Shoreline YC Sailing Foundation owns a fleet of eight Cal 20 sailboats. Each boat has a member trustee who is responsible for general maintenance and in addition they commit to hours teaching or promoting the program.
Seal Beach YC has a fleet of boats, according to Commodore Joe Negron: “We currently have 15 Sabots and five Lasers for our junior’s program. Recently, interest has been expressed of making the Lasers available for adult members.”
Alamitos Bay YC Commodore Dan Delave reports his club has sail cubes, Tempests, CFJs and a Lido 14 as maritime assets.
In a 2019 Sailing World article by St. Francis YC Staff Commodore Kimbell Livingston, he wrote, “Ten years ago, when St. Francis YC purchased its fleet of J/22s, the arguments in favor focused on developing team racing and match racing and holding on to young adult members not ready to buy a boat."
He addressed the fleet’s popularity with, “It turns out, however, that St. Francis’s club fleet has delivered everything envisioned, and more, and added a popular platform for youth sailing. Now, there is one big problem. The boats are over-subscribed. Demand exceeds supply.
“Many clubs have established fleets; Indian Harbor YC has its Ideal 18s. Boothbay Harbor has J/22s and BH One Designs, and of course there is New York at Harbour Court, with its Sonars and Melges IC37s, and Southern YC has its Flying Scots,” Livingston added.
In the same article, LBYC member Scotty Dickson said about the Soling Fleet, “A member can sign a boat out and be sailing in minutes. Having this fleet boosts our adult learn-to-sail program, and it’s good for membership. We have people who were looking at different clubs and looking at sailing lessons, and the Solings are a draw.
“We also get adults whose kids are in our junior program, and they’re mystified by the lingo their offspring bring home, so they come around to find out what all the noise is about," Dickson added. "There’s also a STEM program for high-schoolers, and they bus kids in for that.”
In the April 2013 issue of Sailing World, sailor, television commentator and author Gary Jobson shared some additional information.
“About 20 years ago, the Annapolis YC acquired a boatyard with a large inventory of diverse classes," Jobson wrote. "The club conducted a membership survey to learn which one-design classes should be formally adopted. After the survey, several manufacturers and classes were invited to bring their boats to Annapolis whereby a committee of club members ran a series of on-the-water tests. Ten potential owners stepped forward to purchase J/22s, and today there are more than 60.
“The Nantucket (Mass.) YC acquired a fleet of International One Designs, with each boat owned by a syndicate of two to four members. The fleet has grown to 15 boats, and every boat is on the water for the weekend racing in the summer.” Jobson added.