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Ford Yacht Club

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Historical Highlights of the Ford Yacht Club

1947 The Ford Yacht Club was begun by a small group of Ford Engineering employees and presented to the Ford Recreation Department early in 1947. Formal organization took place with fifteen charter members. The objective was to establish a yacht club to foster boating activities for families of moderate means. A constitution was adopted and William C. Vincent elected as our first Commodore.
1948 Vacant land at the southern tip of Grosse Ile was selected. Many days of planning followed before clearing of the land and shoreline development took place. The FYC burgee flew atop the Flagstaff masthead for the first time at the dedication ceremony held October 2,1948. The new Club’s first regatta was also held that day with two races. A potluck picnic followed.
1949 The foundation for the first Clubhouse (a 18×24 foot in size) was started. The small building was completed and a social program began. Annual dues were $15.00!
Many developments took place during these years. Dredging, docks built and work on Clubhouse.
1953 A Club for the women was started and the name of “First Mates” chosen. Ford Yacht Club applied for and was accepted for membership in the I-LYA.
1955 Purchase of a trailer to haul boats. The first steps taken to provide for non-Ford membership. Work was started on the water system. Up to this time, Members had to bring drinking water from home.
1956 The shell of the new Clubhouse was erected. The main Structure was 28×60 feet with a porch on the Ease side measuring 10×60 feet.
1957 Many projects were finished from the previous years. Water lines were completed. Our first Regatta was held.
1958 Low water year and extensive dredging took place. Internal Revenue placed an excise tax on all members for an additional 20% of dues and Club income.
1959 Groundwork for a five year development and expansion program.
1960 Construction began on the new West Basin sea walls.
Planning began of new modern Clubhouse.
1963 Clubhouse work started and completed. Dedication was held this year.
1964 Extensive landscaping and ground work took place.
1965 Fifty-six new docks on East side were built. New travel lift was purchased.
1968 Taking care of repairs and maintenance, and careful long range planning.
Steel wall on East basin constructed.
1971 Extensive study on improvement and development to North end of property.
1972 Membership approved purchase of Club Property. “G” Dock built.
1973 First Annual Commodore’s Spaghetti Dinner. High water year.
1974 East basin expansion and floating docks.
1975 First Annual FYC Night race.
1976 Approval for $175,000 Mortgage. New tables and chairs, and draft beer.
1977 Clubhouse security system installed
1978 Purchased wishbone trailer for small boats. New carpeting and drapes in Clubhouse and solar harbor lights installed.
1979 FYC joined A.Y.C.. Olympic style course used for regatta.
1980 Extensive shoreline protection work was done to the front of the Club.
1981 Engaged outside computer service. Change in structure from Executive Committee and Board of Trustees to Board of Directors.
1982 Security gate at entrance installed Burning of the Mortgage. Sodding West basin. New windows in Clubhouse. First Annual Blessing of the Fleet passing in review.
1983 Asphalting of roadway into the club, parking lot and walkways along East/West basins and “G” dock. Installed 710 feet of sheet steel piling on the outside of Banana Island and landscaped the entire island.
1984 Repainted interior of Clubhouse and remodeled restrooms.
1985 Built steel wall protection for East Basin harbor entrance.
1986 Rock wall protection for East Harbor. Purchase of new Open-End travel lift.
1987 Completed sodding of the entire East Basin and added to paved driveways.
1988 Improvements projects included: new electric pump-out, Banana Island protection, rocks walls at the West Harbor entrance, winter bubbling of docks, paving. Low water was a concern. With 565 members, new memberships were closed.
1989 Clubhouse addition and renovation approved. Clubhouse closed in November to “pack-up & move-out” prior to demolition in December. Dock bubbling systems and new sewage pump-out installed. FYC joins Yachting Clubs of America (national reciprocity organization for yacht club facilities).
1990 Demolition began in February. FYC Regatta held August 11th with food service from a tent. FYC office in a rented office trailer. The new FYC Clubhouse was opened on December 2nd with over 500 in attendance.
1991 The Clubhouse front deck was rebuilt and parking lot paved. New basketball court built in the relocated playground area and a magnetic card gate entry system installed. The FYC Florida chapter met in February with 80 attending.
1992 The Commodore’s Ball was held for the first time in the FYC Clubhouse. The first old car show was held on the Club grounds by the members. East basin floating docks overhauled. FYC’s Maritime Art Collection grew with the addition of “LaSalle’s Griffin” and Commodore Perry’s “USS Niagara” drawing.
1993 The main sewer line from the Clubhouse was replaced. New facilities included a horseshoe pit and a lending library. The annual Commodores’ spaghetti dinner, a super bowl party, Easter egg hunt, antique car show on the lawn and regatta were but a few of FYC’s activities.
1994 The revised FYC Constitution was approved. FYC’s large traditional ship’s wheel was returned to its place of honor over the fireplace. A new game room was established in the board room with pool table donated by the First Mates. FYC purchased a spinet piano for the bar area. The first Annual Women’s Regatta held. Record numbers participated in FYC’s annual Double Handed Race. A tractor was replaced.
1995 The dining room service was acquired by the Club and all operating decisions were place under the direction of the House Committee.
1996 Sections IX through XII of By-laws revised. First AYC Poker Run with over 150 boats visiting the club. Repair and upgrade of small boat launch ramp. 20 new picnic tables purchased. Built the barbecue gas grill.
1997 50th Anniversary of FYC Photo yearbook published. Regatta reorganized into a three day event. Euchre Club started up again. Change of Watch held at the Christmas Dinner Dance. High water peaked in June at three feet above average.
1998 Clubhouse redecorated with a new dance floor and three leather sofas in front of the fireplace, along with new carpet, paint wallpaper and window treatments. Pole barn constructed behind the garage. New electrical upgrade installed on grounds, light poles removed. Moved dinghy storage area and built 18 x 30 shelter with asphalt pad.
1999 For the first time sailboats were stored in dry dock with their masts up. A Committee was formed to study the future of Round Island. A 16 x32 shelter was built by the gin pole. New playground equipment and nine picnic tables were purchased along with seven new trees being planted. New cash register equipment and a satellite dish for the Lounge TV were installed. The new electrical system installation was completed. Regatta was held in conjunction with the AYC Poker Run. Jackie Cortis retired after many years as Club Manager.
2000 A new flagpole was installed complete withlandscaping. New landscaping was also put in front of the docks. The FYC web site is up and running. The east harbor was dredged along with some of the west basin. East harbor entrance buoys were installed. A large storage area was created in the back to replace the land where the dredging material is being placed. A furnace was added to heat and cool the club office and game room. Smoke eaters were installed in the bar area. Sand now covers the riprap on the lakeside of the club to improve the appearance. Benches and lounge chairs were put on the new beach area. New playground equipment was added to the refurbished playground area. New commodore signs were put in the parking lot. During dinner hours the dining room is now non-smoking. The hallway received new ceiling tiles and a bench; new wallpaper was put in the board room, men’s and ladies rest rooms.
2001 As dredging continues, new harbor buoys were placed in the east and west channels and trees were planted on the hill built from the dredging. Pavers were installed on the seawall and riprap was added to Round Island. A sprinkling system was put around the clubhouse and a new tractor was purchased. The winter storage bidding process was used for the first time. Our new cook is Susan Modiano of Truly Gourmet Inc. and Robbie Tucker was hired as our new Bar Manager. A freezer and pizza ovens were added to the bar area to allow food service when the kitchen is closed. The ladies room was redecorated. The game room age limit was changed from 18 to 13. The Board began giving Plaques to all Life Members. A Bylaw Committee was established with Bob Everhart as Chairman.
2002 Plants were added to the dredging pile in the back forty to control erosion and improve the appearance. The brush was cleared on the southwest side of Round Island to give it a park like atmosphere. D dock’s main pier was repaired. The club’s outside balcony was remodeled with new railing and staircase. Patio furniture was donated for the new outside wood patio on the west side of the club. The dock bidding period was changed to September through March. A picnic shelter on the east basin was built. A new utility vehicle was purchased along with a gas powered golf cart. The first woman Rear Commodore was elected to the bridge.
2003 Yearbook was published, Denise Wagner – Chairman. Nacho’s, pizza and other quick foods are now available at the bar when the kitchen is closed. A free birthday drink and dessert are now offered by the club within one week of your birthday. Charles Hartline became a Lifetime Member. The Euchre club donated a mosquito catcher for the patio. A member survey was conducted with the results published in the Signal Hoist.
2004 The small boat harbor with launch and single point lift was completed. FYC won first place at the AYC Convention for the best decorated room. A defibrillator was installed. A new chef was hired mid-year. The seawall was painted. A ten-year plan was adopted.
2005 Block building erected west of pole barn for storage. Men’s room refurbished. New furnaces installed in garage and pole barn. FYC e-mail policy established. New safety turning basin completed. Two 60′ docks installed, East Basin Docks #0 & #1. Club received wireless internet and new phone service. Big screen TV purchased.
2006 Jason Pearson became Ford Yacht Club’s first Commodore of AYC. Board approved G.I. Township to cut down up to 15 of the tallest trees on Round Island . Replaced three exterior doors. Women’s restroom partitions replaced. New canopy at club entranced installed. Banana Island steel seawall construction inside the West Harbor creates “H” Dock with electric and water utilities. Dues raised and quarterly’s changed to a monthly charge. Pool proposal was defeated by membership vote. A no smoking ban in the clubhouse and children under 13 not allowed in the bar area or dance floor after 9 p.m. were both approved by membership vote. Fueling regulations were established on a trial basis.
2007 Club celebrated its 60th Anniversary. Roster & By-laws on club website. Sale of air space over Round Island and cutting of trees complete. New countertop and faucets in ladies rest room. New wait staff area constructed. Club historical photos display in the bar area. Windows replaced on south balcony. H Dock seawall painted. Dock contracts are now permanent and do not require yearly renewal. Dock crawl is a first year success. Grosse Ile Free Bridge closed from May 15 – December 20.
2008 New carpeting and fresh paint with new colors added to the interior of the clubhouse. Dining room chairs/bar stools reupholstered and some dining tables replaced. New windows and doors along with a steel roof installed on clubhouse and pump house. AYC Poker Run held at FYC Regatta, 92 visiting boats. ATM installed along with computerized weather kiosk for member use.
2009 P/C Ed Payne became ILYA Commodore. The Forward Planning Survey was presented to members. Guest bartender series initiated. Log Boom installed at small boat launch. Credit cards accepted for guest dockage and bar only. First Mates 50th Anniversary celebrated with dinner. Open mic night continues monthly. “Murder at the Juice joint” theme dinner.
2010 We hired a new kitchen and bar manager. Tableware was purchassed for our dining room. Clubhouse air ducts were cleaned and the barbecue was repaired. A lighted brick walkway was constructed through the circle driveway in front of the club. Parking lot resurfaced. A shelter was built for G & H docks. Willow trees on Banana Island were trimmed. New lawnmower purchased. Various boat and mast storage areas were created.
2011 Flat screen TV donated by P/Cs for lounge. G & H dock pavilion completed. Planning begins for East basin seawall replacement from lift well north to property line (approx. 1,100′). Three large docks in the west basin established by modifying D, E, and F pier ends. First Mates applied for separate IRS tax number and will keep separate books from FYC. Two trees removed with replacements on Banana Island. New underground wires installed for telephone, TV and wireless services. Two “coyotes” purchased to control geese population on front lawn. Front gate opener replaced. Hosted AYC Poker Run at Regatta. Dining Room air conditioning replaced. New computer purchased for bar
2012 East basin rebuild was approved by the membership. West basin pavilion floor is paved. New hot water tank and water filter installed in clubhouse. New oven and broiler installed in kitchen. North boat storage area expanded. Automatic gratuity changed from 15% to 18%. Brian Stone voted AYC Fleet Captain of the year.
2013 East basin project completed including 40 new larger docks, new seawall, dredging, new road and sod from the service well to the north fence. The small boat harbor was upgraded to better service the upsurge in small boat racing. The original Lightning fleet 233 was reactivated after 50 years. The FYC Lightning fleet has grown to 10 boats. The original Lightning fleet was responsible for the lightning bolt on the FYC burgee. Junior Membership level was established to encourage young adult membership. Clubhouse Kitchen expansion was approved by membership and work began.
2014 Three new furnaces installed in club house. Kitchen expansion completed. Portable stage build for entertainment. East basin seawall completed and painted. Learn to sail program implemented. New furniture for patio. Small boat ramp repaired. Standpipes project approved by membership. Hydraulic trailer purchased. Soil removal behind barn begins. Redesign of north 40 begins.
2015 Front gate improvements with landscaping. Point-of-Sale computer program initiated. New club manager and kitchen contract filled. New snow blade for Howard tractor. Stand pipe project complete. Fuel dock established with member training prior to obtaining key for fuel transaction kiosk. Dirt removal from behind barn completed. Solar powered range lights installed for east basin entrance.
2016 The asphalt path on Banana Island along H Dock was replaced with new paving. The Popcorn machine had seen it's last days and a new one was procured in the Lounge. A tow behind fertilizer spreader was purchased that could be used behind a golf cart or the tractor. Great for weed control and spreading fertilizer.
2017 A new security system was installed by Actron Security. A long over due face lift for the business office was done this year. New paint, carpet, and furniture.
2018 The first thing people see when they arrive at our club is the front gate. It was decided to completely renovate the front gate area from the ground up. New landscaping was included along with a smart card reader that would open the gate when a member approached. The wood fence to the West was also replaced with a new vinyl one. Since the gate was done it was also decided to replace the driveway up to the garage. The old pavement was pitted and patched over the years and needed a drastic replacement. A new zero turn lawn mower was also purchased for maintaining our lawns. A utility cart called a gator was purchased to help maintain our property.
2019 The Point of Sale (POS) system was installed for use in the Lounge and Restaurant. The office got an upgrade of a new QuickBooks (QB) accounting system. The POS system is tied into the QB system allowing the office staff to better keep track of the books.
2020 A new utility cart was purchased for use on the grounds. Due to unusually high water this year a berm was built to help protect the clubhouse. The water at times reached the patio. The footprint of our liquor license was expanded to now go up to the berm. New tables and chairs were purchased for the patio to expand outdoor dining. Several new picnic tables were purchased and placed in the newly created area between the patio and berm. A new projector was installed in the clubhouse. New vinyl plank tile was installed in the clubhouse in the front hallway, dance floor, and lounge area. The carpeting in the dining room has also been replaced with new. The docks were raised with treated lumber in the entire West Basin. In the South end of the East Basin the waterlines were replaced and will serve a dual purpose for water in the Spring, Summer and Fall; but in the Winter will carry air for the bubbling system. The platform at the Gin Pole has been raised with new wood. The Gin Pole has also been raised and an electric winch installed. New tables and chairs in the Lounge and Dining Room.
2021 A complete rehab of both Men's and Woman's bathrooms, everything has been replaced right down to the studs. Plumbing, fixtures, tile, lighting, everything.
The Launch Ramp has been completely rebuilt and now moved slightly North. The Ramp is now wider and with less slope to help facilitate the possible use of the Red Trailer to pull out boats that are too large to fit in the travel-lift.
Work is moving forward with the Spring thaw to start work on the Swimming Pool Complex. It is planned to be finished by mid-summer.