Jim working

Vice Commodore’s Report – Spring 2018

By Jim Luton

The off-season was wild and wooly this year, and it has been a little difficult keeping up with the property maintenance. The Season Closer last November brought a sudden deep freeze which caught us off-guard, rupturing waterlines and even the meter we installed at the shutoff from Diamond Point. If it ever warms up, Yosi Dayan will repair those so that our outdoor sink and water hookups will be back in working order.

Mid-winter was very cold, even keeping most people off the water at the Frostbite. This was a first in my memory, which goes back almost 25 years! The Basin stayed frozen solid for most of January, and at some point one of the dock bubblers went on the blink. The water froze solid around the pipe retainer that travels up and down on the piling, and the outside corner of the dock was pulled under the ice. I spent a good day breaking the ice up around that piling to free it up. Our dock needs the bubblers because we are so low to the water that there is no clearance between the surface and our pipe retainer, which easily becomes frozen to the piling. If you look at the other marinas, you will see how much higher their docks and pipe retainers are than ours, which is why they all get by without the bubblers. That’s the price we pay for easy small-boat access to the water. We should thank John Whalen for setting up and maintaining the bubblers every year. Please keep an eye on their functionality throughout the winter. John’s phone number is usually on the board in the clubhouse, if anyone notices a problem.

We got that problem straightened out, only to notice a rapidly escalating erosion problem along our bank, and under the dock where it connects to the path in the yard. We seem to be losing ground at an alarming rate, and Patrick Daniels noticed a loss of stability under the connection point. We decided we needed to undertake some emergency repairs before the situation became dangerous. Patrick led an able repair crew, removing a good bit of decking to access the framing underneath. We reframed an entire 8-foot section of the path, with robust bolted connections to the dock itself, which is anchored by substantial pilings right at the shore. We also laid some steel screen down, and back-filled the area with native river stone, which we hope will mitigate some of the erosion right in that location. At this writing, we have replaced the decking with the old composite planks, but we have bought new Trex decking that matches the dock and will do a neater job of re-planking that section very soon (probably by the time you are reading this).

During this repair work, I contacted Nate Grove, who is in charge of NYC Parks Marina Infrastructure, and arranged a meeting with his Deputy Director, Chris Ameigh. Chris came out one very cold, very early morning to have a look, and did recognize that we have a progressive erosion problem. We are looking into some options for remediation, but this is a new development that has not yet been brought to the board for discussion. We will keep the membership informed as the issue unfolds. The dock is fine for the immediate future, and hopefully longer, but we will likely have to hire an engineer to look into this and give us recommendations.

Last fall, we began construction of our new garden shed, which will house the gas-powered lawn equipment, and other garden tools that currently reside in the container that faces the driveway. Footings were laid out with a laser, dug (laboriously through all that rubble fill), formed, and poured with concrete. We had a grand, energetic crew for that work, which occurred over several weeks’ time. We now have sills laid on the footings, and will start the framing soon. The shed will have a porch structure which will connect directly to the new garden which the Marys mention in their “state of the garden” report.

We will finish out this growing season in the current garden before breaking ground on the new one. The new garden plots will be consolidated and organized in a grid, with pathways between. They will be a little smaller, but there will be more of them, designed by Howie Alfred for maximum yield with no lawn mowing in between. I’ll be glad for that.

These projects all take time, with all-volunteer labor, but we’ll get there eventually. I’m looking to organize and beautify the property, and make it easier to take care of at the same time. We have such a nice spread. Let’s make it pretty!

As the weather warms up, we will resume painting the containers. It would be nice to get them all painted this year. This is something that people can do on their own, and anyone interested should talk to me about the job. I’ll have the paint and tools handy so folks can plug into it at will.

I’d like for people to team up on the grass cutting again. We should be cutting every week, preferably before the weekends. This is hard for a lot of people, but Fridays are good days (Friday evenings work) to get the work done. It’s a big yard for only one or two people to keep up with.

We are also looking into shifting some of the office stuff around, and making a new dressing room in that space. We’ll have to move out a good deal of what’s in there, to accommodate the dressing room. I’m working on some ideas to effect this, so stay tuned.

I’ll be reposting the job list on the Vice Commodore’s web page soon. In the meantime, the dock always needs sweeping, and the clubhouse needs sweeping, and the counters always need cleaning. Put in a half hour here and there, volunteer for Officer of the Day, or pitch in with the painting and grass mowing. Your work obligation will disappear miraculously!

If I have not thanked you all personally, please know that those of us on the Board and the members-at-large really appreciate all the hard work you do. You, the members, are what makes this organization special. We are unlike any other boating group around, with beautiful grounds and amazing access to Jamaica Bay and beyond.

Remember, you can go anywhere in the world, right from our dock! See you at the Club!

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