Yesterday was the first of what I hope will become an annual tradition at the club. It was technically known as The Annual Mooring Meeting but in reality it should be called the Annual Meeting Where Members Air Their Grievances About Unjust Mooring Regulations And Placements - AKA Down With Tyranny.
At RYC, we have a large mooring field with a couple of hundred boats spread out between the entrances to Arthur Kill and the Raritan River. My boat, Cadence is at the crap end of the mooring field, by the railroad bridge. It was the fair place for me to be as she draws 6'8" and was only added to the fleet two years ago. It's a pain to be there, as it takes the launch forever to get to us and on a busy race night, we can wait for 45 minutes. It's also noisy by the bridge.
Historically, the process to move to a better spot was that you submitted a move-up request and once a year, the fleet captain reviewed the various requests and based on boats leaving the fleet, new spots being created, you may or may not get moved to a better spot. This year, the new fleet captain, Steve Gilooly, a pleasant, smart and positively-intentioned chap changed the process to something more "collaborative" and transparent.
In the new process, there is a once yearly meeting where open moorings are presented and in order of club seniority, you get the opportunity to move up to any open spot that can take your draft and length. Being #159 on the list and drawing more than most boats in the fleet I was not optimistic but attended the four hour meeting anyway, more out of curiosity than anything.
It did not disappoint. The meeting was very well-attended. There must have been 60 people there, which was not surprising as the rule is that you had to be at the meeting or have sent a representative to request a move.
Proceedings began punctually at 1200. Steve Gilooly explained the rules and asked for questions. By 1209 things kicked off in earnest. The meeting went from polite and attentive to tense and grumbling. By 1213, it could be best characterized as angry and disorderly. Red-faced members laid out their grievances about their seniority on the list, past injustices, talking across each other, shouting and gnashing teeth. It was wonderful!
Steve Gilooly held his own and the meeting calmed down so the process could begin in earnest. Steve called up a number and a boat name in order of seniority on the list. If your number was called, you would in turn come up, survey the mooring field chart with Steve and the two mooring contractors and then negotiate your spot. Although most boats were not represented, I could tell it would be hours before they got to me.
The next few hours were a great opportunity to catch up with mates who I hadn't seen much of since the end of last season. By 1530'ish, they got into the 150's on the list and I was getting nervous as there didn't seem to be much left. Fortunately, my mooring guy, the excellent Frank Wild was there and he said he thought he could find me a better spot.
Finally, my number came up and there was open spot about two hundred yards up the mooring field. As it's at the edge of the fleet, further away from the bridge and the river entrance, I jumped at it. There was some anxiety from my new neighbors that my mooring would be on top of theirs but after a bit of haggling, it was settled. On the image below, I am moving from A to B. Doesn't seem like much but it should cut down the noise and the launch times.
I doubt I will improve on this for a while but I will go to next year’s meeting without fault. It’s a must not miss event on the calendar.