News & Commodore’s Blog

Commodore’s Blog April 2018

The Dataw Island April 17 Town Hall discussion of the future of the Dataw Marina is a very important upcoming event. At our last DIYC Board meeting, we had an extended discussion of the issue.

The DIYC believes that the Marina was and should again be a part of the beating heart of Dataw Island. We represent the spirit of the boating-oriented community on Dataw, and it is no surprise that there is strong support among our members and leadership for rebuilding the Marina. We all remember the grand days of an active and thriving boating scene and the Marina docks busy with boats. We remember the beauty of the masts against the sky and the fun of being a part of the life at the Marina. With or without a boat, it was a vibrant social experience and a scene of compelling beauty. Remember those sunsets?

The Marina was our doorway to one of the last great places in America – the ACE Basin and Low Country waterways. Our waters, marshes, rivers and creeks and the ready ability to be on them is a part of the very nature of Dataw. So, too, are the many opportunities that a marina provides for sharing this treasure with our Dataw friends, whether on a boat, at a dock, at a DIYC social event at the Marina, or just hanging out with our friends on a beautiful day by the water. Ever sit at the back porch at Sweetgrass, on its deck, or on a boat with friends, enjoying a drink and good company at the end of a beautiful day? Remember showing the grand scene off to friends and family? Losing that was losing something we all loved.

After Hurricane Matthew, many assumed that despite the horrific destruction at the Marina, things would return much as they were. Marinas are lost or damaged from storms often. The losses at Hilton Head and most other areas were overcome. Dataw had an opportunity to purchase the Marina a year ago, but chose not to act, in part because there was another buyer, and many believed then that a buyer likely would bring our Marina back. The hope was that someone would rescue us from our loss without much effort or any cost on Dataw’s part. That proved untrue. When that rescue failed, another buyer appeared, and we were again optimistic that we would see relief. I have to admit that I was supremely optimistic on this one, a perfect buyer with extensive marina experience and already a presence at a nearby successful marina. But that, too, vanished.

It is clear now that Dataw cannot sit by and await a no-cost, no-effort deliverance, hoping that someone else will bring back what was so dear to Dataw. Dataw must prepare to take advantage of any opportunity to help itself. If a chance comes for Dataw to capture the property and revive the Marina, we should know what to expect, what our undertaking will require and be prepared to act.

The purpose of the April 17 Town Hall is to prepare for that opportunity. The DIOA directed that Dataw seek that opportunity and act, and not continue to let its fortunes depend on the unknown. The Marina Advisory Group is supporting the direction to prepare to control the Marina property. The DIYC is active in its support of these efforts.

Should the Marina be owned by Dataw, it will be up to Dataw to decide specifically how the property will be used. DIYC supports a full marina operation, but recognizes that the issues are many, and it may take time and staging to reach that goal. It is critical, however, that a rebirth begins and Dataw has returned to it that lost core of its identity.

There is great DIYC news, too, of course. The Kayaking group is continually adding exciting opportunities. On April 5, a much enhanced kayak facility was opened, with new kayak storage and an EZ Launch. The ability to get in the kayak, out on the water, and underway is enormously easier at this facility. It is especially a great addition for those less skilled, like myself. Moreover, that facility is an entrance to the Jenkins Creek area at Dataw that provides a wonderful low country, marsh-life experience.

The New River kayak cruise in March was a sold out, great start of the spring kayaking season. Nancy Schulte has announced the upcoming trip to the ACE Basin on May 4. It is a perfect time to see the early spring flowers and foliage.

Our power boat cruise to Downtown Beaufort was another success. We had eight boats and 48 DICY members on the cruise and lunched on the deck at the Q Restaurant. Out next outing is April 23. It will be a cruise up the Coosaw River, into the Whale Branch, past plantations and dolphin active areas, finally coming out at the Broad River. We will beach up and enjoy lunch at Cotton Island.

The DIYC is strong and enthusiastic. Our membership is growing, and we have launched into another great season.

Commodore’s Blog March 2018

Commodore Wayne Vance at the February Final Friday

The DIYC Board meeting was brief this past week. The boating and social plans for the year are underway, the treasury is good, memberships are keeping pace and growing, and Ships Store has been very successful. The year is well on its course.

As with each recent meeting, there was a short discussion about the status of the marina and our frustrations. After the potential purchaser of the marina dropped out (he seemed so almost there), the issue is again filled with unknowns. Rumors have begun building on the Island. At our meeting, we expressed the DIYC leadership’s position that we support any effort by Dataw or by a third-party purchaser that will renovate and operate our marina.

A few days before our Board Meeting, Dataw’s Marina Advisory Group met, including Ron Jacobs, our new DIOA President. There was support for taking a more aggressive approach with our current owner, Creekstone, driving the issue finally to a conclusion that would allow parties to proceed to a future marina operation, whatever form that may be.

On Friday, the DIOA Board of Directors announced specific marching orders to press Creekstone to transfer the marina to Dataw, to revise the Island’s relevant Covenants, and potentially to pursue litigation against Creekstone to enforce Dataw’s lien against them for the long-standing failure to conform to the covenants regarding the damaged marina field.

The DIYC will stand behind Dataw’s leadership, give our support, remain engaged and be helpful in any way that we can to bring a marina back to Dataw. The DIYC membership and activities have thrived, remarkably, in this post-Matthew period. The boaters on Dataw are reaching a breaking point, however, with more and more boaters leaving the half-operational remnants of the marina, selling boats, or, in the case of new residents, not buying the boats that they would have. Boats remaining in the dry stack are understandably enticed by the new Butler Dry Stack in Port Royal despite its distance from home. Once gone, these boaters are unlikely to return for a year. The very nature of Dataw depends greatly on the attraction of a vibrant boating operation bringing activity and maritime involvement to the north end of the island. The issue must be resolved.

Having said all of that, it is exciting to report that our DIYC cruising activities are fully underway. Bryan Tuttle has produced a compelling schedule for this summer. You can find it on the DIYC website calendar, the Dataw Club calendar, and the 2018 DIYC Directory just released. We will begin with a lunch cruise to downtown Beaufort on March 24. An exciting event that we are looking forward to is the overnight cruise to the Savannah Yacht Club in June. The SYC will provide a light repast on the dock with an open bar, and cruisers will go downtown for the evening to stay at the Hilton Garden Inn on Bay Street.

The Kayak season never relents, and is moving into a higher gear with the coming of spring. On March 18 there is a kayak outing on the New River in Georgia. This is going to be a particularly fun outing. It sold out quickly and the great majority going are DIYC kayakers. Beth and I will be there in a tandem (we’ll see how that goes). It’s a great way to boat into a new season.
Roy Crocker has our Dataw sailors participating in the Saint Elena Regatta March 17-18. It encompasses the Ribault and the Menendez Cup competitions and related social events at the Beaufort Yacht and Sailing Club. If there are sailors that would like to join a crew for this event, contact Roy as soon as possible.

Membership Co-Chair Perry Gesell, Cruise Captain Bryan Tuttle and Commodore Wayne Vance at the Club of Clubs

The DIYC participated in the Dataw Club of Clubs event in the Carolina Room on February 27. It was an enjoyable opportunity to talk about what the DIYC offers and reach out to new members. We found ten new members on the day of the event with a few more trickling in later. Even in trying marina-times it’s easy to sell such a great organization with so much to offer.

Finally, the DIYC again made a financial contribution to the Fripp Island Sea Rescue and the Beaufort Water Search & Rescue. They have a related Saint Patrick’s Day Golf Tournament on March 17. I have never needed the rescue services, although once I felt close when coming through the breakers in front of Fripp. Nonetheless, all of us Dataw boaters are glad they are there, and the groups certainly deserve our support.