Burgee Burgee Flag

May 2020



26-31 – Please check Club website as dates change often due to Covid 19


1-30 – Please check Club website as dates change often due to Covid 19


Greetings fellow Members. These are certainly unusual times that are presenting the Newport Yacht Club with numerous challenges in the midst of rapidly changing official guidance from the State of Rhode Island.  We have been doing our best to stay abreast of these requirements and relaying them to you as soon as we can.  I appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate these uncharted waters.  No one knows when this COVID-19 pandemic will resolve but we have all been made aware of the vital role each of us plays in controlling the spread of the virus.

This month’s Burgee is a departure from the norm. Since the May General Membership Meeting has been postponed, this Burgee presents all the information that would have been shared at that meeting by Board officers and committee chairs. It is important to us that you know what has taken place since the December General Membership Meeting. Also actions requiring a vote of membership are deferred until a General Membership Meeting can be convened (i.e. a vote on the second reading of the revised Bylaws).  Please note that the updated Five Year Plan included here was unanimously approved at the April Board of Directors meeting. The Nominating Committee has one year left of their two year commitment, so no vote was scheduled to seat a new committee.

Details of the Five Year Plan are incorporated into the Finance Chair’s report below. The Plan reflects conservative growth rates and maintains the commitment made at the December General Membership meeting to accumulate funds over the next four years to pay off the Dock Loan in late 2023 at its next rate reset in October 2023.  As a testimony to the financial strength of the Club and the hard work of your Board, this 20-year loan will be paid off in only 10 years. This saves each voting member $1,000. over the next 4 years.  Despite the monumental challenges we face these days, I remain confident that our Club’s Finances are strong enough to enable us to maintain the approved 2020 budget.  Our strategy of building our cash reserves will also help us weather this storm.

I investigated the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) and also participated in a webcast by Sheldon Whitehouse and David Cicciline to determine if the Newport Yacht Club should apply for a small business loan during this period of business interruption.  As a 501 (c) (7) corporation, we are not eligible for the most advantageous part of the CARES Act:  the Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP).  We are eligible for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) that provides a maximum of $10,000.  Repayment of this would be eligible for forgiveness if special records were kept and the Club applied for the loan to be forgiven in the future.  The Club officers decided not to pursue this loan, as the amount is small and the Club is in relatively healthy financial shape. 

Lastly, the Board has approved a COVID-19 Control Plan detailing the reopening of the Club. It is posted at https://www.newportyachtclub.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Plan-for-reopening-NYC-revised-22-May.pdf . It is based squarely on Rhode Island Law and guidance from the Governor, DEM, and Newport Harbormaster.  This plan will be reviewed weekly as guidance evolves and will be updated on the website with changes from the prior version clearly noted.  It is important to note that the plan related to the Clubhouse will not be invoked until restaurants in Newport are permitted to open.  This plan will be maintained by a special subcommittee I formed to address the NYC COVID response.  Members of this subcommittee are the House Chair-Jack Ellis, the Float and Dock Chair-Steve Damas, the Club Steward-Rudy Borgueta and myself. 

This is a tireless task but one we readily accept as it is intended to protect our members and staff to the best extent possible and enable the Club to safely reopen in accordance with official guidance and RI State law.  We hope restrictions will lift soon enabling all members to visit the Club under proper social distancing guidelines.

As I sign off, I wish you all health and wellness and I look forward to the day we can be together at this Club we all love so much.  Until then, be safe, maintain your social distance, and look out for yourself and each other.

Wishing you fair winds and following seas,

Tom Rowe, Commodore

Newport Yacht Club


The Newport Yacht Club sadly acknowledges the passing of four of our members since the time of the last General Membership meeting. We extend our sympathies to the family and friends of Stewart Abramson, Marianne Needham, Tillie (Matilda) Thompson and Sheila Sulentic. Each were unique individuals who were remarkable members of our Club and their communities. They will be fondly remembered.


Newport Yacht Club 2020 First Quarter Review

The first quarter performance against budget is on track. Expenses and revenues, while a bit lower than expected, did not really impact the first quarter overall performance because CV-19 changes did not start going into effect until the third week in March. Fiscal models have been developed for the second quarter to account for the club shutting down for one, two or three month scenarios and are being followed. As the club slowly moves back to a more normal operation, finance decisions will be made to best assure that we will hit our projected net income goals for fiscal year 2020.

There are two key initiatives that the Finance Committee has put on hold until the Club reopens.  These are:

  • Reviewing expense items in the 2020 budget to determine if some cost reductions can be implemented without sacrificing the service to, and overall experience of, our members.
  • Developing a process to simplify the annual budgeting and budget performance tracking activities. Also, we intend to simplify the 5 year planning process.

Please see the report at the end of this Burgee for information on the Club’s projected fiscal 5 Year Plan as prepared by the Finance Committee.

By Larry Girouard Chair, with Steve Dolan and Anthony DiNovella


Hi everybody!!  Hope this finds you all healthy and safe! I know this has been a difficult time for everybody and as the calendar turned to May I was saddened to think racing will not be starting in a couple of weeks. I have not published the Notice of Race or Sailing Instructions as I am waiting until there is a clear directive from our Governor that this type of activity can actually take place. We will be following the Governor’s directives and continue discussion and decision making about the season.

We all want to be out there racing.  But we need to be smart about this.  I will be conferring with the flag officers to determine the best course of action that is in accordance with State, City of Newport, and Club edicts.  When I figure it out, you will all know!!! So in the meantime – stay safe, stay healthy and I am looking forward to the start of the 2020 racing season!!

By Nancy Parillo, Chair


The Offshore Committee is very active in monitoring the status of upcoming events. To date we know:

  • Mitchell Memorial Regatta: Canceled
  • Offshore 160 and New England Solo/Twin: Still planned but leery about running them. Update pending
  • Still hoping for the Mitchell Columbus Regatta
  • We received sponsorship from Edson for the offshore racing

By Roy Guay, Chair


Despite having the Coronavirus cut our season short we had a good year with a record number of participants and generally good conditions for racing. Rick Nebiolo edged out FJ Ritt for first place while newcomers Dave Reed took third overalls and Susan Beese ranked first woman rounded out the winners circle. Many thanks to Committee members FJ Ritt, Bea Grimmitt and Roy Guay; to photographer Bill Shea; and to Rudy and the NYC staff for all they did for Frostbite this season. We hope to hold our awards celebration in the not-too-distant future.

By Winkle Kelley, Chair


The Junior Activities Committee continues to evaluate the possibilities of running the Junior Sailing Marine Adventure Camp this summer and continues to monitor COVID-19 and the restrictions, guidance and move towards easing some of the restrictions.  We have been in contact with other sailing programs on the Bay and pretty much all are in a wait and see mode.  There is continued communication with the parents of registered campers and to date, none of the 30+ registered have cancelled.  We have asked for their thoughts on running the program this summer, ideas for different formats and willingness to send children to camp.

The committee has discussed contingencies such as reduced number of sessions, smaller session with fewer sailors or small group sailing opportunities.  Whatever the format, if the Marine Adventure Camp takes place, we will ensure compliance with all Club, local, state and federal guidelines in place.

By Michael Barszcz, Chair


The 2020 Capital Budget included a planned expenditure of $30,000 for the renovation of the East deck.  The plan was to re-plank the deck and bring the railings up to code. The deck was built on top of an existing roof when originally constructed. We concur with our contractors that the roof has to be removed. The cost will certainly exceed the budgeted $30,000.00.  Therefore the project is being included in next year’s 2021 Capital Budget, but at a higher amount than the $30,000 that was budgeted for this year. New awnings on the East and West decks are still in the plan for this year.

By Jack Ellis, Chair


Membership has remained steady since the previous General Membership Meeting. The following is our membership count:

  • Adult Regular: 386
  • Spousal: 200
  • Honorary: 2
  • Life: 35
  • Fixed: 67
  • Young Adult: 47

Of our membership, 384 are boat owners.

Please note that the Membership Committee has put a temporary hold on personal interviews of prospective members due to COVID-19. Interviews will resume when the environment allows. Please call Chair Jeff Blais if you have questions.

By Jeff Blais, Chair


The Communications Committee will continue to support the NYC Board, staff and membership with frequent COVID-19 related updates. Also, since the last General Membership Meeting, we have reviewed and successfully addressed member email distribution issues in conjunction with staff.

By Mark Marosits, Acting Chair


Submitted by Bill Bagwill, Treasurer

Copies of the Newport Yacht Club, Inc. 2019 Financial Statements prepared by our accountants will be available in the office.  The 2019 State and Federal tax returns were submitted and estimated tax payments for 2020 have been made.

The balance, as of March 31, in our General Reserve Account (held at Edward Jones) was $265K, up from $153K at the end of Q1 last year.  The General Reserve Account provides a cushion in the event we encounter unanticipated capital requirements or a financial shortfall in our operating plan.  We are fortunate, during this corona virus crisis, to have reserves available that we can draw on, if needed, later in the year.  

Our strategy with the General Reserve is to protect the principal balance and avoid taking market risk.  The funds are invested in CDs, with staggered maturities, so that we will have access to funds when needed. Since interest rates have been declining, our yields have been going down, however, as older CDs mature.

The current balance in the Junior Sailing Program Endowment (the 2018 bequest received from William Mershon) is $107K.  This is an actively managed investment account at Edward Jones, with a mix of both equity and fixed income holdings.  The investment objective is to generate both current income and long-term growth.

  • Our investment return in 2019 (net of fees and distributions to the Junior Sailing Program) was 17.1%.  Year-to-date, through 3/31, the portfolio was down 12%. 
  • Last year we distributed $4,571 to the Junior Sailing program from the Mershon endowment and $10,128, the full amount of Cranston/Pitman donation (2018 gift for 2019 scholarships).
  • The Board plans to make 3-4% distributions from the Mershon Endowment annually for the Junior Sailing Program.  Final decisions about the 2020 Jr. Sailing program and any related distributions from the endowment will be made at a later date.

A Summary comparative balance sheet, as of March 31, 2020, is provided below.


Submitted by Larry Girouard, Chair Finance Committee

The following outlines the 5-year fiscal projections for our Club in four segments.

Segment 1- Percentage Assumptions. As you would expect in any long-range forecast, assumptions for increases must be made. The percentage assumptions in this segment were determined by the Board and compounded against the 2020 approved budget for each of the ensuing four years. Every line item in the 2020 budget is forecasted using these percentage assumptions.

Segment 2- The 5-Year Forecast.  Only the net totals for each committee are reported here. You may note an increase in the net Float & Dock total for 2024 over 2023 of approximately $73,000. This is because membership voted to set aside $73K for each of the next four years in order to pay off the loan for the East/West dock in 2023, 10 years early. This will also eliminate the $100 assessment in 2024 and beyond.  In addition, you will note that the mortgage payment of $39,141 is also not listed in the 2024 forecast.

Segment 3-Membership Rates. These are the membership rates expected through 2024 by classification.

Segment 4-Dock Fees. These are fees expected by classification. Please note here that fees for the Permanent Dockage dock rate remained constant from 2023 to 2024.  This is a result of the expected loan payoff in 2023.

Thank you for reading. Our best wishes to all for a safe and healthy on-water season!

Gustave White Realty

If you have something you’d like to share with the Club membership in the Burgee, please send your submission to: communications@newportyachtclub.org for review and consideration.   

Gustave White Realty


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