Burgee Burgee Flag

June 2020



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

29 – Planned Marine Adventure Camp start date


10 – Offshore 160

14 & 15 – Tuesday/Wednesday Racing starts

24 – New England Solo/Twin Races


With summer approaching we are starting to get back into our seasonal cadence afforded by the carefully planned easing of Rhode Island COVID related restrictions.  I am pleased that we have been able to reopen a significant portion of the Club and that members feel safe coming to the Club and marina.   This is due in part to a lot of thought and effort behind the scenes.  I have been asked many times what goes into the Club’s plan and why are parts of the Club still closed? 

I would like to make you aware of the details and activity that went into developing and continues to go into the weekly updates of the COVID-19 Control Plan that is mandated by the state in order for the NYC to reopen.  There are several web sites and databases that have to be consulted for updates:  ReopeningRI.com, RI Department of Health, RI Department of Business Regulation, RI Department of Commerce, RI Department of Environmental Management, the Newport Harbormaster, and others.  There are several databases containing information on states, counties, cities that have stay at home orders in place or have been lifted.  While these are good sources of information, they are not always accurate enough to incorporate into our Plan.  Additional research, state by state, city by city has to be done by accessing the official territory web site and sometimes reading governor’s or mayor’s executive orders to determine if a stay at home order has been lifted.  Then the Plan is updated and circulated to the COVID-19 Control Plan subcommittee for review, comment and update.  This time consuming process goes on every week so that the Plan that is published is as correct as possible.  We are following the RI Governor’s guidance:  reopen slowly and let the change go for two weeks.  Then monitor for two weeks.  If all goes well, then consider additional parts to reopen.  With the recent spikes in COVID cases in some states linked to reopening, we are wise to follow our Governor’s recommendation here for the safety of all members and staff.

There are several factors at play that go into the decisions on what parts of the Club to open and which to keep closed.  First, there are the health and safety aspects that come from state guidance which provides the framework for making initial decisions.  There are two separate sets of guidelines:  general business requirements and restaurant requirements.  We are following the restaurant requirements as bars are still shut down – the fact that NYC serves food enables this.  Then there are the legal aspects where executive orders have the force of law and that we must stay abreast of and comply with.  Lastly, there are the fiduciary aspects that drive tradeoffs between greater scopes of reopening against the cost of the required actions the Club must take to keep members safe.  For example:

  • we are required to screen visitors to the Club and staff to make sure they are feeling well;
  • we are required to provide COVID training to our staff;
  • we are required to source and maintain a supply of hand sanitizer and wipes
  • we are required to clean/sanitize all high touch areas and restrooms every 2 hours;
  • when a party leaves the lounge, tables/chairs have to be sanitized;
  • we are limited to 50% capacity which has to be actively monitored.

All of these requirements cost the Club in the form of staff resources to implement which drives up our labor costs.  We are being mindful of our spending with the big picture in mind:  meeting the commitment we made to the approved annual budget and the accumulation of $73K at the end of the year to put into a fund that will pay off the dock loan in 4 years.  You may recall that the board approved a motion last year that would make this contribution to the payoff fund annually as long as doing so would not put the Club in a negative cash position at the end of the year.  This is where the fiduciary responsibility comes into play – it forces tough decisions and tradeoffs such as the member benefit of opening the West deck vs cost to monitor occupancy, clean and sanitize tables and high touch surfaces.  To do this, an additional staff person would have to be present to accomplish these requirements.  Another tradeoff is in the showers which are presently closed.  The requirements are that single use shower facilities have to be sanitized after each use which also requires a trained staff member(s) to monitor shower use and implement sanitization procedures upon each use.  A third tradeoff is in the use of single use plastic containers in the lounge.  Notwithstanding the space limitations for storage of glassware in the present lounge setup, an additional barback would be required to make trips to the dishwasher with used glassware for cleaning and sanitizing.

I have done a detailed review of our May year to date finances.  While much of the Club was closed during this time, both revenues and expenses were way down in most accounts which more or less offset each other so the overall Club position is healthy.  The areas that are of concern are our labor costs for staff to accomplish the requirements levied upon us by the State of RI.  While not out of control, they were not part of our budgeting process and therefore are higher than projected.  This puts pressure on all committees to minimize expenses as we go forward with reopening more aspects of the Club.  Increasing revenues is difficult as we are restricted to 50% of our normal capacity for the foreseeable future (except the marina).  What is helpful here is the relocation of the lounge to the Main Deck where 50% occupancy of that space is approximately equal to the full capacity of the upstairs lounge.  House has postponed its planned capital project of the upper East Deck replacement into 2021 so those monies will likely have to be transferred to cover the cost of increased operating expenses as the year goes on.  In my view, these actions should help keep House finances close to what was planned (except for the months we were closed).  Time will tell whether Float & Dock can achieve its projections with respect to transient dockage – will people bring their boats to the Club during these uncertain times? 

The bottom line here is the Club’s finances at present are healthy and I am confident that with a close eye on expenses and a careful reopening plan, we will be able to achieve our financial commitments to membership at the end of the year.  So with all of this in consideration, I ask for your continued patience and understanding as we slowly and thoughtfully reopen.  It will not be possible to satisfy all member desires at once but we are making decisions with member safety and health as our top priority.  It is my goal to reopen the Club to the greatest extent possible as quickly as possible while satisfying the health/safety, legal, and fiduciary obligations.

Wishing you fair winds and following seas,

Tom Rowe, Commodore

Newport Yacht Club


Gold star families – the immediate family members whose loved one died in service to our nation – are a distinguished part of our community. Some have close connections with the Newport Yacht Club.

The Gold Star term came about during World War I. Families displayed small banners with a blue star for every immediate family member serving in the armed forces. If their service member died in service, the family replaced the blue star with a gold star. The gold star let the community know that their service member died or was killed while serving their country.

Today, the term Gold Star Family honors their service member’s ultimate sacrifice while acknowledging the family’s loss and supporting their continued healing. Since 9/11 more than 23,000 service members have lost their lives.

There are many ways to support a Gold Star Family. First and foremost, never forget that the way of life we enjoy is due is due to what their service member fought for. And, get to know organizations that honor and support Gold Star Families. One of those is Gold Star Sailing https://goldstarsailing.org/  where Past Commodore Norm Bailey, a combat veteran himself, serves on the leadership team. Norm notes with sadness the recent passing of Past Commodore Stew Abramson, and his gratitude for all that Stew did to support the program and children.

Gold  Star Sailing (GSS) is a 501-C-3  non-profit, volunteer-based organization providing unique opportunities and adventures to the  surviving children of fallen military service members in order to  instill self-confidence, build character, teach teamwork, develop  leadership, and promote healing in a positive environment of hope,  adventure and friendship. They say: “many campers have told us that what makes Gold Star Sailing unique, is that we let them be kids and have fun. We are not a grief camp. The campers are encouraged to try new challenges to instill self-confidence and build resiliency in order to prepare them for college and life. Among their many experiences are racing and crewing 40 foot sailboats with members of the Newport Yacht Club. 

Newport Yacht Club’s Gold Star Sailing teen Molly Stephens (far left) and her sister Heather (far right) are shown here with Prince Harry at the unveiling of the British Iraq & Afghanistan Memorial in London.

Gold Star Sailing thanks everyone who supports their work as volunteers, donors and by spreading the word about their mission. The cost of putting one child through camp is $ 1900. Most donations come from Club Members and staff who are veterans, the NYC Endowment and the Newport Rotary.  However, it takes all of us to support these amazing Gold Star children. To learn more, visit https://goldstarsailing.org/ 

We share this message from director Col. Patrick Powers: “We have all been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As social distancing, quarantine, travel restrictions, and health concerns persist, it is with a heavy heart that Gold Star Sailing announces that we will not hold our annual Gold Star Sailing camp this year in Newport, R.I.. Our charter is to support the children and families of our fallen. We keep all our Gold Star families in our hearts and prayers and look forward to hosting Gold Star Sailing in 2021 when conditions allow.”  Of course, the Newport Yacht Club is confident the program will come back stronger than ever in 2021!


Hi everybody! I hope this finds everyone safe and healthy and ready for summer!! With COVID-19 restrictions easing a bit, we are aiming to start Tuesday/Wednesday racing on July 14th/15th.  I am currently revising the Notice of Race to include appropriate social distancing guidelines as recommended by the state.   Once I get those set, I will post them, the Sailing Instructions, and the registration form on the club website. So stay tuned!!!

Race Committee volunteers – given that we will have a shortened season, I am asking that you get your availability to Alan Renfrew as soon as possible.  Also – if you have a Master’s Captain’s license and would like to drive Volunteer for us, please get back to me with that as well!!  We are only racing for 7 weeks so it will be a light schedule for everyone this year!!

I look forward to hearing from those of you who would like to volunteer on the Race Committee and can’t wait to get back out on the water!!

Stay safe!!

Nancy Parrillo, Chair


Since Governor Gina Raimondo’s announcement that Summer Camps will be allowed to open on June 29th, we have been hard at work to develop a plan to make the Newport Yacht Club Marine Adventure Camp a reality for this summer. True to the NYC mission as “a partner with the City of Newport and its harbor activities providing services to Newport and surrounding communities”, the Board unanimously approved our plan to start the Camp on June 29th. 

We are excited to share this news as we all know how important fresh air, fun, and social interactions are for kids. Things will look a little different this year, with reduced numbers (20 per session) and campers will have to stick to an assigned, stable group of the same 2 instructors and same 10 campers. However, this is not much different than we have always operated! Small groups for instruction are just how it works with sailing.

Additionally, there will be staggered drop offs and pick-ups, a health check screening on arrival and a designated area and bathrooms for campers and instructors only, allowing us to operate safely and comply with State and Federal guidelines.  Our instructors will be wearing face coverings and we will follow CDC regulations that children also wear them as tolerable. However in sailing, it has been common recently to wear neck gaiters or “buffs” as sun protection so we will be ordering them for our campers and will supply them on the first day, this will help us both distinguish the groups visually (they will be different colors for different groups) and allow, if gathered closely, to wear them for protection. The “buffs” will include the NYC Burgee and we will have a supply available for purchase. 

Michael Barszcz, Chair


We are now planning on conducting the Offshore 160 and New England Solo/Twin races.  At the moment it looks like we will not conduct skippers’ meetings nor award parties.

Offshore 160 – 10 July

New England Solo/Twin – 24 July

Mitchell Columbus Regatta – 10 October

By Roy Guay, Chair


Review of the first trimester financials (January thru April) indicates that the changes made in Club operations in response to CV-19 has resulted in the Club staying on budget.

As the Club begins to open up, and we bring back employees, the hope is that members will begin to use the Club in increasing numbers to support the increase on monthly costs.

At this point it is too early to say what the impact will be on Club performance vs. budget during the next few months, but we remain optimistic.

Larry Girouard, Chair


Good NEWS!  Our marina operation is back to normal…or what passes for normal. Our Summer staff is on duty, our launch is back to normal operating hours carrying full loads and we are open for all transients, except for those that pass through locations that are still in quarantine. The only restrictions still in effect are the use of face masks on the launch and the docks when six-foot spacing cannot be maintained.  So, no hugs yet.

Steve Damas Chair; Bob Morin, Roger Hemond, David Stewart, Frank Pearson III, Peter Herne, Andy Vouras

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


Newport Yacht Club GuestNo PasswordInside the club and marina
Newport Yacht ClubPasswordInside the club and marina