The 1950s, Humble Beginnings:
In the early 1950s, a handful of sailing enthusiasts, most of them Penguin, Thistle and Lightning owners, formed the Nashville Sailing Association. For the next few years, they spent weekends racing their boats around Bush Lake, little more than a pond, in North Nashville in what is now Metro Center. A small remnant of Bush Lake remains.
While their facilities were scant, their enthusiasm for racing was considerable; and so they joined in 1954 with The Nashville Tennessean, Nashville’s largest newspaper, to sponsor the city’s first sailing regatta, "The Tennessean." The regatta grew so much the location had to change to a larger body of water, Kentucky Lake, which was completed a decade before.
Then on May 12th, 1954, Old Hickory Lake was officially opened. See a copy of the article from The Tennessean about the formation of Old Hickory Lake. The Nashville Sailing Association held the first Regatta on May 18th and 19th of that year. This was the "Channel 4 - Nashville Sailing Association Regatta," a partnership with WSM-TV. Participants were even encouraged to write the President of the company for lodging arrangements. WSM-TV also provided trophies and a cocktail party to follow the regatta.
One of the results of the impoundment was the formation of an island large enough to develop. This is indeed the only island community on Old Hickory Lake, or on the entirety of the Cumberland River. John McDougall, pictured here, a member of the Nashville Sailing Association, and future HIYC founder, along with a small group of associates, purchased the land on what would become Harbor Island from Mr. Noel Nokes. He constructed a causeway from the mainland for the purposes of developing a residential community prior to the lake being filled. No doubt, he also dreamed of a new location for he and his band of sailing enthusiasts. We at HIYC owe a great debt to this man; because without John and that fortuitous notion, HIYC would not be in existence.
The 1960s, A New Era. The Founding of HIYC:
By 1961, some of the Harbor Island landowners, who were themselves sailors, banded together with members of the Sailing Association to organize a yacht club. The group of sailors asked The Harbor Island Landowner’s Association if they could use a small portion of the island as a base for their sailing activities. The association agreed and the sailors named their new sailing club Harbor Island Yacht Club.
A dirt road turned from the causeway and wound down to a rocky shoreline. Boat launching was, at best precarious; so the sailors built floats, anchored them in the harbor, and left their boats, mostly Thistles and Lightings, on them. Access to their boats was by small dingy. It was not long before the club founders took up a collection and financed the first improvements to their facilities. They constructed a wooden seawall, a floating dock, and a gathering place at the end of the day: a wall-less shed, complete with pseudo-restrooms at either end. Working parties transformed the shed into a clubhouse. They enclosed the shed, added indoor bathrooms, a fireplace and outside decks. A little sailing here, a lot of work there, and they were fusing their club into a respectable organization. A painting of HIYC as it existed around this time, by founding member Arnold Nye, hangs in the clubhouse.
As word spread and more sailors joined the bustling club, the membership found that their treasury had swelled along with their numbers. The members hired a contractor to build a kitchen on the north end of the clubhouse, extend the deck, and add a restroom. Their zeal to improve the waterfront facilities led to more working parties. They constructed a floating dock off Green’s Point (current location of the concrete pad just to the north of the launching ramp), spread crushed stone over the dirt to form driveways and boat and car parking areas and poured a concrete launch ramp.
By 1969, HIYC was solvent enough to float a bank loan to purchase three adjoining lots. The lots were graded and paved for boat storage and an electric boat hoist. Along the new concrete sea wall, the club added concrete floating docks, additional parking, and a proper sewage disposal system. The club again called on the membership to roof the clubhouse deck.
In the spirit of cooperation, the US Corps of Engineers established a NO WAKE ZONE in the harbor, approved moorings for cruising boats, and a future dock to run parallel to the causeway. That winter, the Nashville Bridge and Barge Company loaned the club a floating crane to clear the harbor of large rocks.
A new, expanded vision of what HIYC was to become was being explored. Among these visions was a larger clubhouse. Although, the final design and location of the new clubhouse was changed significantly, it is worth a look at what the membership envisioned in 1969:
The 1970s, Growth Continues, The New Clubhouse:
The racing scene grew in the 1970s, as did membership. The late '60s had seen HIYC branch out from dinghy races into cruising races. While dinghy races were still going strong, the fleets had changed. Lightnings, Thistles and Sunfish were still competitive; but a new class was emerging - the Laser, which quickly began gaining popularity later in the decade. Many of these same dinghy sailors were also competing in their new, larger keel boats. Regattas run by the now legendary race committee team of Jack Caldwell and Bob Wolery routinely broke attendance records each year, and were fiercely competitive.
In the early 1970's, while visiting Miami, Fred & Anne Beesley learned that Biscayne Bay Yacht Club was selling 12 almost new, single-hand racing boats called Kites. The Beesleys bought them, loaded them on a truck, brought them back to HIYC and instantly sold 10 to fellow members. The Kites proved so popular that within three years, HIYC members owned a Kite fleet of over 30 boats. But a few years later the Kite factory moved from Virginia to California, thus making freight prohibitive on new boats bound for Nashville; and the HIYC Kite Fleet eventually died out. According to Fred, it was a great boat, but very tipsy! Anne Beesley can be seen at right, practicing in her Kite.
In July of 1976, the nation celebrated its bicentennial; and HIYC celebrated right along with it. Grand festivities, fireworks and a boat parade were planned and executed. The "Best Dressed Crew" was a contingent of Ross Bryan's naval fife and drum corp - comprised of Ross and Irene Bryan, Cully and Cathy Cobb, and Jack and Betty Caldwell, seen at left.
In April 1976, the membership voted to construct a new clubhouse to provide adequate space and facilities to accommodate the burgeoning yacht club. Architect-Engineer-Associates, with Charley Warterfield at the helm, created the plans and hired a contractor in October. Unfortunately, the contractor declared bankruptcy in early 1977, leaving the skeleton of the new building as a forlorn sight in the especially harsh winter snows. That winter, the harbor froze solid enough to enable the bravest of souls to venture out to their mooring without the use of a dinghy, seen at right. Early in 1977, the Board began negotiations with the bonding company - a step that was to last eight long, frustrating months. Finally, in the fall of that year, HIYC received a satisfactory cash settlement from the bonding company. A new contractor completed the new clubhouse in the early summer of 1978. Once again, members offered their pocketbooks and volunteered to furnish, equip, and decorate the spacious facilities. In 17 years, HIYC had come a long way from the winding dirt drive to the handsome new structure.
As the decade came to a close, HIYC had cemented itself into the fabric of Middle Tennessee as THE place to sail, race and cruise. Members were putting the new clubhouse to good use, both socially and in the context of racing. But, members soon started looking out at the harbor and pining for permanent docks on which to slip their new keel boats and cruising yachts. Private investors began to finance these endeavors; and soon docks began growing from the shores of HIYC.
The 1980s, The Next Generation:
The first "permanent" private dock at HIYC was where the present C-Dock is located. It was manufactured from fiberglass, and aptly deemed the "Plastic Dock." This dock can be seen at left. Note the connection only to the present-day Laser lot. This was followed shortly by a dock located at the present B-Dock, made of concrete, aptly named the "Concrete Dock."
With the completion of the new clubhouse, the old house had become little more than a storage shed. In 1980, the club remodeled the original clubhouse into a caretaker residency. Chandler Owen was named the full time caretaker, and also briefly ran a ship's chandlery out of the building.
The aerial photo shown at left, with O.L. Shultz as the pilot, and Charley Warterfield as the photographer, shows HIYC as it existed circa 1980.
In 1981, the Board of Directors concentrated on three areas of improvement: To reduce the indebtedness of the club, to attract young, new members, and to increase cruiser-racing participation. The leadership began to implement policies which accomplished this over the next few years.
In 1983, to reduce debt, ‘The Plan’ (see Bylaws Article (II)), was drafted, ratified and executed to perfection. The membership also voted to institute a new type of membership –the Junior Active (see Article IV, Membership) in the ongoing efforts to attract new members interested in sailing. The new membership designation indeed began attracting the next generation of sailing and racing enthusiasts. Meanwhile, cruising class sailors had implemented successful Summer and Winter racing series that included not only those who owned cruising boats, but anyone interested in competitive sailing.
The ground work for a new two-day endurance regatta for cruisers was begun by then-Vice Commodore Bob Cotton and then-Commodore Charley Warterfield, seen at left, in 1983. The March Winds Regatta began in 1984, and has ended the Winter racing series and heralded the spring racing season among mid-south yacht clubs each year since. True to form, the inaugural March Winds came in on Saturday like a lamb with a light air drifter, and out like a lion on Sunday as a force six howler.
Then in 1986, HIYC celebrated its 25th anniversary. Many celebrations were held, including an anniversary ball; and each regatta and event held throughout the year had special significance. As reported in the newspaper, the 1986 Tennessean Regatta was hotly contested, finally resulting in the first ever overall win for William Hofmeister aboard his J-24, Ninja, along with crew member and soon-to-be wife, Mandy Lucas. Also in 1986, Drew Griswold, named HIYC webmaster in 2014, received the first ever "Youngest Crew" award for his valiant efforts aboard Andy Griswold's Tanzer 22, Morning Star during the Flotsam Jetsam Regatta.
In 1988, a small group of avid sailors visualized a fleet of their "own kind," a style only known to Cruisers. With enthusiasm, hard work and dedication, the Cruising Fleet was born. Membership that year was a unique group of 14. Into the 21st century, membership reached 33 individuals and families and expanded to include those who owned all kinds of sailboats. The cruising fleet actively worked to form a nucleus for all individuals who love sailing. Ultimately, the purpose was to allow all individuals the opportunity to experience sailing in an atmosphere of good fellowship.
Also in 1988, Mandy and William Hofmeister were instrumental in forming "Miss Mandy’s Sailing School," the nucleus of which was the many parents and juniors who sailed at HIYC and at Percy Priest Yacht Club. From this small and under funded beginning has come Harbor Island’s Sailing Camp, which now runs four weeks in June. Many of the children that have graduated through the program become counselors by completing a U.S. Sailing Instructor course; and some have even gone on to become HIYC members and serve in various offices. The Junior Program is one of the best outreach efforts the club has to offer. Spanning several states, it is available to those who cannot afford to pay, through membership scholarship funding and other interested parties.
The 1990s, HIYC Hits Its Stride:
In the early 1990s, the membership decided to replace the launching ramp docks and Courtesy Dock. Thom Garrison, with his volunteer committee of helpers tackled the Courtesy Dock. The south side of the Courtesy docks provides overnight parking for cruising boats and slips for the race committee boats; while the north side provided a launch area for dinghies adjacent to the hoist. The Courtesy dock became a very popular amenity, sometimes too popular as there was limited space and many takers. Other dock projects undertaken included a new floating ramp and a swimming dinghy dock anchored to Green’s Point on the north side of the launching ramp.
In 1993, Sea Scout Ship 851 was founded at the suggestion of then-Commodore, Mark Endicott. Andy Griswold was named the Skipper of the Ship, which he remains to this day. The Ship meets each Thursday at HIYC at 6pm, unless otherwise noted. Regular activities include sailing, racing, overnight trips on the water and rank advancement. Over the years, the Ship has taken many "high adventure" trips to sail on bigger water than our fair Old Hickory Lake. Destinations include Charleston, SC, Annapolis, MD, Pensacola, FL and several trips to the Apostle Islands on Lake Superior, WI. Countless kids (and parents) have been introduced to sailing through Ship 851; and many have been irreversibly "bitten" by the bug and gone on to become members of HIYC.
In the mid '90s, a new race committee starting boat, a 25’ Carver named "Moon Pie," replaced the old Caldwell/Wolery race committee houseboat. The markings: "RC" (Race Committee) and "Moon Pie" payed homage to two quintessentially TN products, RC Cola and Moon Pies. The mark boat, a center console Proline named "BB2" replaced the infamous green boat named "BB1." With the sad passing of the Caldwell/Wolery team, the Club asked Bruce Richards to form an all-volunteer Race Committee so that HIYC could continue to run regattas. Over the years, this has worked admirably, though not without the occasional mess. Most Club members have led or served on various Race Committees, leading to a build up of knowledge about running races and regattas more generally throughout the membership.
For about fifteen years, small dinghies were stored on a rack constructed by Chip Broome and Tom Bond: a small structure measuring approximately twelve by fourteen feet. William Hofmeister, with his volunteer committee of helpers replaced this structure with the "Dinghy Rack," a much larger structure located on what is now the Laser lot, creating an easy and efficient way to store and launch Club Lasers and other dinghies. Bruce Campbell and Bill Killebrew used the materials from the old rack to build a storage building for Race Committee supplies near the race committee boat slips. The old rack was given a new life; first as storage building for Race Committee supplies, then as the "Lightning Bar and Grill," complete with bar and serving hatch. It has become known as the "Tiki Hut" after Bruce added decks and Tiki torches. Though it is known as the "Tiki Hut," and has become a very popular gathering place for members, the official name remains the Race Committee Storage Shed; and it functions as such, along with other duties, pictured here after Bruce added a roof over the decks in 2013. With the untimely passing of Bruce Campbell in 2016, the shed has been dubbed the "Bruce Campbell Memorial Tiki Hut."
In 1997, after much discussion and after receiving numerous bids, the Club initiated an improvement project to repair the thirty-year-old seawall and dinghy hoist, seen at left when it was much newer in 1973. This was a much-needed improvement as the old wall was slowly falling into the lake, taking the hoist with it. However, a very expensive project, this was clearly beyond the knowledge of Club members to undertake on their own. The final cost of the new seawall exceeded the entire annual budget of the Club. Once again, the membership executed "The Plan" to generate financing; and the new seawall was a reality.
In 1998, as computers seemed to be in every home, Cully Ward and Bob Cotton developed a web site for the club. Then-Commodore Donna Moore became the first officer whose comments appeared monthly on the web site. The first generation website was much different than the second, which was designed and built in 2014. The current version was designed and built in 2020.
On May 7, 1999, Ross Bryan bestowed upon HIYC a very generous gift in the form of his boat, IROS, a thirty-three foot Rhodes Swiftsure sailing sloop. Ross wanted HIYC to use IROS for the promotion of youth sailboat racing and cruising. The boat was used for several years prior to falling into disrepair. The membership elected to sell the boat and use the money to further build the youth sailing program at HIYC. Ross is pictured here, skippering IROS in 1977.
The 2000s, Into The New Millennium:
In the early 2000s, several facilities improvements were made. The Concrete Dock, now known as "B Dock" was expanded to its current 24 slips and rebuilt with a concrete deck over a steel frame rather than the old floating poured concrete. The Wood Dock was replaced with a dock similar to the Concrete Dock; but investors kept the last section of the walkway decked with wood to remain the "wood dock." This point was later made moot by the re-designation "A Dock." The Causeway Dock, a private slip dock now known as "D Dock," was added to the end of the existing Courtesy Dock. Other improvements included a new concrete drive at the top of the hill behind the clubhouse, designed to improve drainage, and an asphalt paving of the drive in front of the clubhouse.
The Cruising Fleet made a concerted effort to bring the entire club together, dispelling the boundaries of boat classes. Through the leadership of Ken and Sally Todd, the signature event that broke the barrier: Cheeseburger in Paradise, celebrating the king of cruising and parrot heads, was born. Social events like "Cheeseburger in Paradise," "The Lobster Boil," and "The Low Country Boil" provide the social setting to get acquainted with new and old friends while enjoying great food, music and entertainment. Each year during the decade, the Cruising fleet created new reasons to get together, such as a Piano Bar & Wine Tasting party, a BUNKO party, a Chili Cook-off party and an Oscar party.
In 2004, Brock Short completed what he called "Grand Slam of Sailing," placing first in every major regatta: Change of Watch, March Winds, Cully Cobb 50K, Tennessean, Fall 50K & The McDougall.
HIYC's property lease with the Corps of Engineers expired in 2005. Joe Ballard worked with the Corps to obtain a new 20-year lease for use of the waterfront area and 11 acres of water space for boat moorings. The Corps cited the exemplary record of HIYC in using the leased property to promote safe boating for young people through Sailing Camp and Sea Scout activities. The new lease limited the number of moorings to 40. Around that same time, the membership wished to define the property waterfront boundaries more clearly. The results of the 2006 survey indicated HIYC was not dependent upon leasing the Sailing Club Lot for access to the club property. HIYC had always had unrestricted access to the new clubhouse and launch ramp area over property leased from the COE through the existing main entrance. This finding prompted the initiation of several projects. The first of which was improvement of the main entry. Beth and John Marshall and the Mike Birk family lead a group of members that improved the appearance of the main entrance by adding the stone entry gates. At the time, the membership was committed to keeping the appearance of the old clubhouse neat and attractive in keeping with the appearance of the rest of the island community. The old clubhouse porch is pictured here.
Ken Tempelmeyer submitted a grant request to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency for 75% of $14,000 for a dockside marine sewage pump-out system. The pump-out now operates yearly from early Spring through late Fall. Meanwhile, then-Harbor Master Roger Maxwell replaced or upgraded the moorings in the yacht basin and poured a concrete pad around the boat hoist, improving launch and retrieval activities. Due to the increasing memberships, the Board adopted a policy limiting a member to one space in the water either at a dock or at a mooring for the first time. The Private Dock and Slip Policy was also modified include mooring assignments. Inside the clubhouse, the original 1977 vinyl flooring in the kitchen and bathrooms were replaced. Bill Killebrew guided and donated the labor to install new hardwood flooring in the rest of the clubhouse to replace the badly gouged wood floors after 30 years of hard use. Forty members financially contributed by purchasing a hardwood plank.
In, 2007 "The Fall 50K Regatta" was renamed "The Beesley Fall 50K Regatta" in recognition of Anne and Fred Beesley's many club contributions and commitment to distance racing and cruising. Far upstream from HIYC, Wolf Creek and Center Hill Dams' potential for structural failure made headline news. This prompted Larry Boroviak to lead efforts to develop a disaster and recovery plan. The water marks on the pillars of the HIYC clubhouse were measured and marked at that time. Also that year Ken Todd and the Board began negotiations with Harbor Island Homeowners Association to purchase the original club house lot. As a condition of sale, the Island Association requested that the old clubhouse be razed. It was razed shortly after sale in July 2008, and the area converted to additional car parking. Cully Cobb presided over the decommissioning, as pictured here, with the old fireplace and chimney in the background.
Also in 2008, "Moon Pie," which had served as the race committee boat for some 15 years, was in drastic need of replacement. A Shamrock 260 was purchased and named "Bob'n'Jack" in honor of the famous HIYC race committee team of Bob Wolery and Jack Caldwell. This is a fitting tribute to those two legendary men who donated so much of their time and effort to plan and run the regattas at HIYC for decades. Bob and Jack are surely smiling down on their beloved HIYC each time their namesake boat is set at the starting line for another great regatta on Old Hickory Lake.
The 2010s, A Decade Of Changes:
After a great 20 year run, the HIYC Cruising Fleet had all but disbanded as of the early 2010s, awaiting new members to take the helm of the organization. While most of the events that were started by the Cruising Fleet, such as the "Cheeseburger in Paradise" party are still held, now administered by the Club's Social Chair, other events made popular by early members of HIYC and perpetuated by the Cruising Fleet, such as raft-ups and overnighters are seldom held. If the history of HIYC gives any insight to the character of its members, another group of interested cruisers will take the idea and run with it before long.
In 2010, HIYC celebrated its golden year in style. The "50th Year Homecoming" was held in April with a gala ball at the Vanderbilt University Club during the weekend of the Tennessean Regatta. The first day of the regatta was cancelled due to severe storms; but the second day was met with beautiful weather and great racing. The actual 50th Anniversary was celebrated in 2011. After 50 years, the club had seen many changes and improvements, spanning generations of sailing families. HIYC had certainly come a long way from a small group of enthusiasts launching boats on a rocky shore and retreating to a wall-less pavilion at the end of the day. That year, HIYC was approaching 200 families, had nearly 75 slips, a handsome club house, and above all: great sailing, racing and camaraderie.
In the mid-2000s, HIYC's "traditional" dinghy classes, namely the Laser and Lightning began to experience a slow decline. These fleets are still active today, though not to the extent that they once were. By the early 2010s, the HIYC leadership began to wonder if dinghy racing, and dinghy sailing in general, might be on the verge of dying out altogether. Within a year or two, two new classes became very active at HIYC to fill the void. The Y-Flyer, although first sold during World War II, came to HIYC through several new members in the 2010s. Y-Flyer Fleet 62 is now one of HIYC's most active fleets. In 2012, HIYC had the pleasure of hosting the Y-Flyer Nationals. The second, and equally active class to join the ranks of HIYC is the Vanguard 15. HIYC shares Fleet 77 with Percy Priest Yacht Club. These two fleets have brought much needed life and vitality to dinghy sailing at HIYC.
In 2014, because of the lack of financial support and dwindling coverage from its namesake, the Tennessean Regatta was removed from the HIYC schedule for the first time since 1954. A new, two weekend regatta (one PHRF, one open) was born to take its place under the guidance of HIYC Chaplain, Gene Lovelace and wife, Cindy. The O.L. Shultz Hospice Regatta was instituted as a partnership with Alive Hospice in Nashville, one of the oldest non-profit hospices in the country. The event is one of 25 regional hospice regattas around the country in the National Hospice Regatta Alliance. The HIYC regatta is named in honor of former HIYC Commodore O. L. Shultz, who passed away in May 2013, and was served by Alive Hospice. The club’s history is rich with the stories of O.L. and his beloved Morgan 30, “Respite”, his trademark hat, and his special “basket-style” spinnaker rigging. The motto of the Regatta is “We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.” Though not to the extent of Tennessean Regattas of yore, this somewhat ironically received coverage in the Tennessean Newspaper.
The Spring of 2014 was a very busy time at HIYC. The North Lot was paved with concrete under the watchful eye of member and contractor, Greg Theriot. This stabilized the hill above the Wood Dock, eliminating the "Grand Canyon" that opened in the gravel lot each time it rained. This also allowed for more boat storage and car parking than the old gravel lot could provide. The venerable old Plastic Dock, after nearly 35 years of service, was replaced with a new, 24-slip concrete dock. This brought the number of permanent dock slips up to 80. The docks were also renamed in a more uniform fashion. The Wood Dock became "A Dock," the Concrete Dock became "B Dock," the newly-replaced and expanded Plastic Dock became "C Dock," and the Causeway Dock became "D Dock." Dock signs were fashioned out of StarBoard by then-Governor, Marcelo Perez. The North Lot paving, Plastic Dock replacement and the renaming of the docks occurred nearly simultaneously during the months of April and May to ensure that work was completed before the 2014 Sailing Camp.
A new HIYC Website was planned during 2014 with the guidance of former Commodore Rick Smith, Commodore David Brandon, and built by Senior Governor and newly-appointed Webmaster, Drew Griswold. Many months were spent building and fine tuning the site to what it is today, with a launch-date of January 1, 2015. The second-generation website was built to be more intuitive, current, informative, and vital to HIYC's membership as well as prospective members. The site was also scalable in anticipation of the rise of the mobile web. The site aimed to be as user-friendly and functional for mobile users as it was for desktop users.
A new set of perpetual trophy plaques were handcrafted by then-Senior Governor, Marcelo Perez in 2015. These trophies serve to replace the individual trophies which were awarded at each regatta, and also display an ongoing record of fleet winners, all while saving money for HIYC's membership. These beautiful trophies are on display in the newly-remodeled trophy room, off the rear of the clubhouse. Each regatta's trophy is unique in shape and in the type of wood used.
Also in 2015, a new generation of leadership took over as social co-chairs. Katie Griswold and Molly Leitch took the reigns with gusto, beginning with a well-attended and highly acclaimed wine tasting event in February. The duo teamed up again for a bevy of summertime activities. Over the Memorial Day weekend, the annual Cheeseburger in Paradise party was held, this time with the food on the deck, and the party downstairs. The band was situated under the deck; and tables were put in the driveway under lights strung across from the house to Laser masts lashed to the wooden pylons beside the drive. This arrangement allowed for more room and better flow; and a great time was had by all.
This was topped a few weeks later by the revamped Low-Country Boil. Food was prepared at HIYC, then served in "to-go" containers for consumption on the water in the age-old tradition of a raft-up. The photo above shows the 12 boats that attended, all packed to the gunwales with attendees. Great weather and a nice breeze prompted everyone to have an extended sail prior to rafting up. The phrase "best ever" was used quite a bit during the social events of 2015. This was replicated in 2016, this time with 14 boats in attendance. The event proved so popular, that other such raft-ups are being considered. Race/PHRF Chair, Tim Naeser abandoned the Summer Series due to low attendance, in favor of a single regatta, dubbed the "Never Done" Summer Regatta, later changed to the "Yazoo Summer Regatta." The inaugural run in 2016 was successful despite dismal winds.
Also in 2016, a new challenge reared its head. The Corps of Engineers, from whom HIYC leases land and water space, reviewed our 2005 lease and found that we had exceeded our water rights, putting nearly half of the moored boats outside of the lease bounds. After much deliberation, the decision was made to move the offending moorings, compress the mooring field and encourage members with rarely or never-used boats to vacate so that more active members can join. Unused boats were also removed from the North Lot. 2017 Commodore, Randall Butler certainly had hands full navigating these treacherous waters. Thanks to the leadership of the HIYC Board of Governors and the willing, volunteer spirit of the membership, HIYC emerged stronger than ever.
On a happier note, in 2017 HIYC decided to "Laissez les bons temps rouler!!," or "let the good times roll," with the inaugural Mardi Gras Regatta and party. In late 2016, Randall Butler first pitched the idea of exchanging the "traditional" wine tasting party for a Mardi Gras-themed party, since it roughly corresponds to Fat Tuesday. Once this idea had hatched into a full-blown plan, the last race of the Winter Series was dubbed the "Mardi Gras" regatta. Since it ends the Winter Series, the Mardi Gras serves as a bookend "semi-standalone" regatta to the Change of Watch, which kicks off the Winter Series. The party itself is held the evening of the regatta. The inaugural Mardi Gras Regatta/Party was held on Feb. 25th, 2017. Social Co-Chairs Katie Griswold and Julie Bollinger put on a "Ragin' Cajun Good Time!"
On August 21, 2017 HIYC was blessed to be in the path of totality for the coast-to-coast solar eclipse. HIYC experienced a little over two minutes and thirty seconds of darkness. Many members came out to the lake and viewed the total eclipse from the docks, or from out on the lake. Thanks to HIYC members, the Laidlaws, for the photo of the 360 degree sunset at 1:27pm. What an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime event!
Under the direction of Commodore Bob Carlton, in 2019, after over a decade of "band-aid" repairs, the bathrooms were completely gutted and renovated. The new bathrooms, with updated fixtures and a better utilization of space, are a welcomed change from the original 1978 facilities.
The 2020s, Into the Unknown:
Like everywhere else in the world, the COVID-19 pandemic put a damper on everything at HIYC in 2020. Additionally, during the same month as COVID began to ravage the mid-state, a devastating tornado tore a path from West Nashville all the way to Cookeville. While the tornado thankfully missed HIYC, many families were directly affected. These two events halted all events during the Spring and into the Summer. Despite this, a near-record number of new families joined HIYC in search of a new hobby or rekindling their love of the sport. Sailing is a great activity to do socially distanced or as a family. These new members prove that HIYC is the place to be in Nashville for sailing.
As nature's palette changed to Autumn, racing resumed, although with a concerted effort by participants to practice safe distancing.
Harbor Island Yacht Club remains the Mecca for sailing enthusiasts in and around Nashville. With a racing program that continues to grow and change with the times and a clubhouse facility which is second to none in Nashville, the Club’s history has been an ongoing story of work and progress. Our club boasts a swelling membership of nearly 250 families, a strong youth program - with Sail Camp, Sea Scout Ship 851, and the Vanderbilt Sailing Team as its pillars, and great fellowship. With continuing support from its members and an enduring spirit of fellowship, willingness, and enthusiasm, the HIYC story will run as long as the currents of Old Hickory Lake.