September/October Board Report

Ownership

by Tom Pandaleon, Board of Directors

I enjoy sailing.  I learned how on borrowed boats when I was in my early teens on the Long Island Sound and various lakes in the Northeast.  We came perilously close to owning a boat in the late ‘60s, when my father got wind of an O’Day Rhodes 19 that was for sale in Rye, NY, a few towns away from us.  Ever cautious, he danced back from the edge though, and whatever adventures were to be had remained those intermittently available on borrowed boats.   It was only in the mid-90s, with a couple of EEFC pals, that I finally came into ownership of a sweet, rugged little O’Day 17 that we sailed on the intermittent puffs of Lake Arthur, just north of Pittsburgh.

My interest in windblown travel only increased, and in the early years of the new century I started looking for something larger, something capable of longer trips, on bigger winds, to farther shores.  The uniform reaction to this bright idea, from friends and family, with a very few dear exceptions was “Are you nuts?  Why own when you can charter (rent)?  No muss, no fuss, no responsibilities. And surely you know, Tom, the happiest days of a sailboat owner’s life are the day he buys it and the day he sells it?”

“All good suggestions,”  I muttered to myself at the time, but ownership beckoned, powerfully.  It wasn’t just the travel to distant locales, or the mere sensations of the wind in my face or the rollercoaster ride of the waves that drew me.  It was more about a relationship.  This would be my boat, and my boat would take me places, and my boat had a rich history before me – built in Bristol, RI, by designers and craftspeople who drew on an ancient body of knowledge to create her.  I wanted all that, not just a receipt    for a rental.  So I became, in due course, the owner of a small ship.  In actuality, I became the steward of a seagoing gem built in 1964.

Ownership is a relationship.  It wants give-and-take, and one must tend to one’s machine.

Our co-op exists after 4 decades because a rich set of relationships has brought it to where it is today.  The stewardship work of countless unheralded people, both employees and volunteers, has kept it going thru those years.  Every summer the call goes out, to the membership, for people to step into the role of Board member.  Of the 14,000+ people who now hold membership cards, our co-op needs 4 this year to contribute their time and effort on the necessary work of our board.  Much good work has been done by recent boards in preparing our institution for a long-needed expansion into a larger space, and actively exploring site options.  Navigating us to that shore is the work of the board and management, and, ultimately, of the membership.   We own it.

Please consider serving on the EEFC Board of Directors, starting in January of 2021.  The Candidate Packet is available here.  All candidate applications are due by September 20, 2020.