Dear Santa,

It’s me again, and I’m wondering how the hell we got to December so fast.  Honestly, it seems like just yesterday we were enjoying the Marblehead summer, racing sailboats, drinking rum and talking with our hands.  Yet here we are, the harbor empty, Thanksgiving leftovers long gone and totally behind on our Christmas shopping.  Time really does fly.  Anyway, hope all is well with you and the missus.  I’m sure you and the elves are frantic and in full-on manufacturing mode ramping up to the big day.  Hopefully you’ve not been foiled by those pesky supply chain issues.


For the record, I’ve been good again this year, though to be truthful, and just between you and me, I don’t think I could get myself into trouble if I had to.  Age really does have a way of settling things down.  But that doesn’t matter because I’m not asking for anything for myself.  Instead, I’d just like to tell you about some of the people I think deserve a little something extra in their stockings.


Let’s start with Elise Nash.  The woman is a saint.  As you know she’s been serving as Fleet Captain while also running a business and being a full-time mom to two boys.  Mercy!  What an inspiration to the rest of us who never seem to find time to get anything done.  I’ll tell you that her husband is a lucky man, and her boys definitely won the mom lottery.  So, if anyone is deserving of a little something extra in their stocking, it would be her.


And while we’re at it, how about the rest of last year’s Fleet 5 leadership group, including Steve Uhl, Dave Reynolds, Nat Taylor, Stefan Thibodeaux and Larry Ehrhardt.  Steve was there anytime anyone needed him, as he always has been.  Not only that, he and bride Jennifer threw the Race Week party again for the hundredth time.  Steve has never stopped contributing and thankfully, that was recognized this year by his finally winning the Fleet 5 President’s Trophy.  ‘Bout time, right?  Like Elise, Steve serves as a sterling example of what it means to give back.  Hopefully, we can all learn from his example by asking ourselves how we might contribute more.  Although Steve is taking a well-deserved break from an official role in fleet leadership this year so he can devote time to running the Gut’n Feathers Club, I’m sure he’ll be there if we need him.


And how about Dave Reynolds.  Dave has been fleet treasurer for longer than I can remember, despite a demanding job and being in full-on family mode with young kids.  How impressive is that?  And by the way, he happily stepped up for another term this year, for which we are all grateful.  Similarly, Nat Taylor has been running the Fleet 5 web site for years, also with a demanding job and a young family, and he also has reupped.  Those guys rock. 


Measurer Stefan Thibodeaux has had the hardest job of all, which is being pleasant, supportive and helpful as he tells us our boats don’t measure in.  Talk about bedside manner, he has it in spades.  And like Dave and Nat, he also has signed on for another term.  What a guy (and have you ever seen him dance?).  Finally, Larry Ehrhardt and wife Rebecca just hosted our awards party, and their whole family has been toting the fleet bar for several years now, making sure it’s on time and well-stocked.  For those of us who enjoy an adult beverage or two, that’s God’s work.  But it’s also integral to what makes our fleet special, which is promoting community and the social side of things.  Larry is stepping back for a well-deserved break, but stepping in to fill that import role is Anna Marije Veenland.  How awesome is that? 


Finally, you should know that Timmy Dittrich has agreed to take on the fleet secretary job, on top of his class secretary job, following in the footsteps of old friend Jeff Shoreman who also did both for several years.  Similarly, Joe Fava has volunteered to channel his boundless energy representing our interests at MRA, which is no less than completely awesome.  All of these people deserve our thanks and better yet, a little something extra in their stockings.


Before I sign off, I have a few more folks you should know about.  First is Mike Lane.  Mike has been Class President for 2 years, and stewarded the class beautifully through COVID and importantly, the long debated two-versus-three rule.  More importantly, he has proven to be the leader most capable of pulling together the disparate viewpoints of our many fleets and their local interests.  No small task, and the class has been running more smoothly under his watch than at any time in my 25+ years.  Now he has stepped up again for a 3rd term, which is a lot like asking someone to hit you in the head with a hammer for another year.  We should all be grateful.


The fine folks of MRA and the three race committees also deserve our thanks and your consideration.  There are too many to name, but suffice it to say every one of them has put in countless hours in the interest of preserving, supporting and promoting sailing.  They are indeed a fine group of dedicated volunteers who deserve a little extra holiday cheer.  I’d like specifically to single out my friend Mark Toso, who will be running MRA this year.  I’m also grateful to Mark for continuing to chair the CYC RC, devoting countless hours both off and on the water, but more importantly for his creativity, thoughtfulness and unwavering dedication. 


I could go on and on, but you get the idea.  Thanks Santa for listening.  Fly safely.  And don’t forget, first gun is in about six months.  Happy holidays.  -kp



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