Letter from the 2019 Commodore

TJ Kirgin

Fellow Duckclubers, it is my pleasure to serve you as Commodore in 2019.  I have been a river rat my entire life.  My parents told me I was “conceived in Two Branch on the hook”.  I have Mississippi river water running in my veins. I grew up just a stone throw from the Clubhouse on the 26 acres next door which at the time was Anchor Marine owned and operated by my mother Marilyn and my father Tom Kirgin.  I worked the fuel dock, launched boats, sold boats, worked on boats and when I forgot to put in the drain plug, I raised sunken boats.   My first boat was a 9′ sport yak with a 3hp Evinrude when I was 8.

When I ran for Commodore, I said I would focus on two things this coming year, TRADITION and VALUE. 

Tradition because I was here when Kenny Schriver, a wealthy condominium developer from Miami bought the remnants of Centre Point an old marina and club that came before us on this very property.  It was called Center Point because we are half way between Lock 25 and Lock 26.  Heck, my Grandfather Ollie Kirgin was a member at Center Point before I was born.  
I was here when my parents gave Sonny and Mike Tremmel the land for the Duck Club Road and I was here throughout those early years watching a group of proud boaters that had built and started something amazing.  Something like nowhere else in this part of the country.  This club, this Yacht Club rivaled similar clubs in Fort Lauderdale and Chicago.  
It was that generation, some of which are still with us today who forged the way for us and created TRADITIONS and RULES for us to follow and pass down to the future generations of boaters that want something more out of their boating, that want a place where they belong and call home, at least when they are at port.
A Tradition can be as simple as honking your horn once as you leave your slip and twice when you come back into the mouth of the harbor to make sure the channel is safe to enter.  A tradition can be having a Formal Black Tie Commodores party annually or requiring proper attire in dining room always.  We can always create new traditions, but we should never let the old ones die.
The Duck Club Mission Statement written by our founding fathers says: ” The Duck Club Yacht Club is a distinctive yachting community of discriminating yacht owners who prefer high standards of quality and exceptional VALUE.”
That brings me to VALUE, see what I did there?  That is called an epic segway.  Value to me means two things.  
First, Each and every member should VALUE their time at the Duck Club.  
This can be achieved by having excellent restaurant management, well maintained grounds and beautiful amenities like our pool, deck, gazebo, fire pit and light house.  I am confident that the effort put in over the last several years and into the future by former Commodore Mike Janson (especially the installation of the irrigation system) and Harbor Master Michael Eberhardt have greatly increased your ability to VALUE your time when on property.  
I am also confident that the selection process for a new restaurant management solution for the 2019 season and beyond, embarked upon by the Vice Commodore and the Restaurant committee will be a tremendous success.  One item of TRADITION already finalized is that NO Restaurant management will ever operate the Duck Club Yacht Club Restaurant by any other name.
Second, our property VALUE is on the rise!  The used boating market has been going up year after year with another  3% increase expected in 2019.  Used boat sales is not only a key economic indicate, but it also means people are enjoying success and buying first time boats or bigger boats.  We as owners need to realize that we have a rare commodity.  40-75 foot metal covered slips with 5 star amenities, city water and soon thanks to Ryan Buenemann and Pappy high speed internet!  Recent dock sales have turned the corner.  a 62 footer just sold for 45K!  Someone will say to me, “well they will only bring what the market will bear” but what I am asking you is to set the market and not “list to low”.  If you are selling a dock, it is your right to accept whatever offer you want.  However as Commodore, I am asking you to adhere to minimum advertised prices.  If you do so, I am committing to build a marketing campaign to HELP YOU SELL and HELP YOU GET THE MOST MONEY FOR YOUR DOCK!  I will personally be contacting each dock owner that has a slip for sale to discuss this initiative further.
Please give our new Restaurant Managers your respect and patience as they transition into their new roles.  Soon the snow will melt, the engines will be dewinterized and we will be hitting the river for the 2019 boating season. I hope each and every one of you truly enjoy the Club this year.  Please remember all boats must leave the dock once per quarter.  Don’t be afraid of logs, we have Port Charles and Pole Star nearby to help you straighten things out.