Merry Beth Hovey

Woman’s Touch Gets Club Ship Shape


… when she became Co-Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee. “Every penny was so important”, she said.

The plan that she helped develop a year later was really about organizing what everyone in the club wanted to accomplish and making sure that those things meshed well with the vision, mission and goals. “If our mission was to grow the sport of sailing and become a premier club, then how are we going to accomplish such a goal,” she asked. “That clearly bubbled up to the top, as one of our most important initiatives, and resulted in bringing youth sailing into a more formalized and stronger position in our club.”

Other initiatives her committee considered were expanding the clubhouse, installing a fire pit and an outdoor kitchen, and repaving the parking lot. She said, “We had to ask ourselves, what are the priorities? When we look at how we want to use our members’ dollars, we had to ask ourselves are they going to the mission and the vision. Really? That motivated us to rewrite the plan to become a hard core group of sailors, but we also wanted to become a premier yacht club. And I think we’ve done it.”


“When I think back to what I actually accomplished as Commodore, one of the first things I did was rewrite the bylaws and policies of the club,” she said. “It was kind of comical reading through them. Clearly, they were written in the early 1960s, because everything was completely male focused. “

“There was nothing about women in there, nor were they generic whatsoever,” she continued. “It was ‘his this’ and ‘his that,’ and ‘his wife would be allowed to do this or that,’ and so on. Women didn’t have a place in the sailing world back in those days and everything was ‘his.’”

It seemed like a little thing at the time, but once she dug into it, she found there were a lot of policies and procedures that needed updating. They were edited accordingly, presented to the membership and overwhelmingly received, then put into place in 2007.


Merry Beth believes the greatest achievement of the WYC is the members being true to who they are, being there for everyone, and giving full access to the sport of sailing to anyone who is interested. “If the club continues to be true to its vision and mission, it will be there when other yacht clubs will not. The WYC is financially stable and has all the right people in place with the right attitudes. Although sailing is declining, by keeping the sport accessible, the costs down, and growing the youth program, the club will be there for a long time.”

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