Photo of the Month: Hanging out at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club during the delivery of Arabella south were: (l to r) John Good, Erik Lumer, Michael McCarty, Ludovica Lumer, Alberto Nicholis & Gladwyne Taylor.  Bermuda is the half-way point between NY Harbor and the British Virgin Islands.  The welcome in Bermuda is always great and our club is working on more connections between our sailing communities.  Bermuda has already sent teams to race in the Dennis Conner International Yacht Club Challenge.  Next November, we hope Arabella will stop by Bermuda for a week or more.  Members could then fly down for a long weekend, stay aboard Arabella, visit the yacht clubs, sail, golf, fish and meet new friends in Bermuda.  More details soon!


Greetings from the Commodore

Dear Members - Thank you to all the members who worked hard to help us try and win the renewal of North Cove.  I would especially like to thank Andy Zangle, Mike McCarty and Sarah Raymond who all volunteered many, many hours working the phones and communicating with our membership.  They, and everyone else who volunteered wrote letters and attended rallies and meetings, did an incredible job. 


Our voices were heard; we received support from all five major elected officials in Lower Manhattan.  Our members spoke, lobbied and fought to keep our sailing community at North Cove in a civilized and distinguished manner which was a credit to our organization.  Great job team!


Although we did not win, there is a future and it is starting to look even brighter than our past.  Our club will continue doing all the great things we have done for the past 27 years.  Our club re-introduced recreational sailing to New York Harbor.  We have led the recreational renaissance of the harbor.  We have created many unique and innovative programs and have made sailing easy, affordable and fun.  We have also created a great community of sailors, with many members making important and lasting friendships. 


Going into this winter, we were one of the largest sailing organizations in the region, with over 950 members and 14 corporations.  Our sailing school taught 1,500 adults last summer.  We also had more than 300 kids and teens sail in week long programs from North Cove last summer.  If you combine all the other sailing organizations in the harbor, they did not come close to the size of our club.  While it is unfortunate that after 20 years of serving the Battery Park City community, Brookfield, the new manager of North Cove, has made no plans to continue our club at the marina, we will survive and flourish.  We have already secured dock space at Liberty Harbor Marina in Jersey City. There will be some initial dislocation for members who feel it is too far a trip across the river.  But in fact, the new docks are very close to North Cove and once people become accustomed to the commute, life will continue as normal. 


Photo: One of the first club races ever held was captured in this 1987 photo.  Our cub has been innovating and adapting for more than 27 years.  We will keep doing what we do well, adjust our sails to the shifting winds and open our 28th season on Saturday, May 9. 


Some of our old club members have already departed for other organizations such as the new group in Brooklyn as well as the older Offshore school.  I wish them all well and good luck.  It is unfortunate to lose some of these great members, especially under these circumstances.  But just like in a sailboat race, people decide to tack at different times.  We will miss these members who made the choice to leave. 


At our club, we are not going to sit back on laurels of what we have already achieved.  Instead, our club is going to jump forward to bigger and better things.  Now that we are no longer constrained by the finite space of North Cove, we are going to have a flurry of innovation and begin laying the ground work for expansion.  Sure it will be challenging.  All great things in life usually are.  Yes there will be many bumps in the road, especially in our first year.  But I am already seeing a path forward and how we can eclipse what we have previously achieved.  This newsletter is the start.


At our new base in Jersey City, we will rebuild our club and our strength.  Jersey City will always be a home for our club as it has been since before 9/11.  But it does not have to be our only home.  We can have 2 or more sailing outposts.  We have already begun laying the groundwork for developing another facility in Manhattan.  It may take a year or two but we will not stop working on this until we succeed.


We are beginning a new chapter for sailing in this harbor.   It will be an exciting time.  It reminds of the early days of our club when we first opened at South Street Seaport.  It also reminds me of when we first moved to North Cove in 1994 and the time after 9/11 when everyone was leaving but we committed to staying.  These are exciting times when cards are tossed up in the air and change and innovation rule the day. 


Thank you to all of the members who have and will be part of the club as we chart our transition and comeback!  Sail more!  I only regret that we have lost such a great friend and guiding light for our club - Jordan Gruzen.  Goodbye great friend. I always felt privileged to be around you.


- Commodore Michael Fortenbaugh


Update on the Club

The Commissioning Ceremony for our 2015 sailing season will be on Saturday, May 9 at 1 p.m.  at Liberty Harbor Marina in Jersey City.  The docks are ready.  We are just waiting for a thaw in the weather to begin launching boats.


The Ceremony will consist of the traditional raising of the first club burgee ever made followed by a cannon salute.  This year, members will then be able to go sailing that afternoon.  Arabella will also go for a special member & guest cruise in the harbor with all proceeds being donated to our junior sailing scholarship program.


Our club now plans to launch 18 to 24 J/24s this season.  Most of these boats will be kept at Liberty Harbor Marina.  If the marina does not have space for our entire fleet, some boats may anchor in the harbor until needed by members.  Twenty-four was the size of our fleet last year at North Cove so it is possible we launch the same size fleet again this summer!  This is a good development.


Our Spring Launching will be Saturday, April 25.  This is the annual day when members help prepare the boats for sailing. This year, Spring Launching will be different.  Rather than traveling to our storage facility in northwestern New Jersey, the boats will be brought to Jersey City and we will spend the day hoisting and rigging masts as well as cleaning, polishing and scrubbing the insides and exteriors.  Some race teams may still wish to sand and apply their own bottom paint in advance and we will try to make special provisions to accommodate these requests.


The Fleet Captain & Mentoring Programs will continue as in the past.  It might not start as smooth as last year as we figure out who will be sailing on which days and times.  But the spirit of what we have created and the long-term success of these programs will continue.  If you are a beginning sailor looking to gain more skills, there will be many opportunities.


Our club gathering spot after sailing will be the Surf City bar & restaurant.  Food will finally be available as you relax and socialize with fellow members.  Because of limited space, we do not expect to have the Mermaid as a dock clubhouse.  We would rather use these slips for more boats and support the local restaurant instead.


Racing will begin on May 12 & 13 with the Tuesday & Wednesday series.  Fifteen teams have signed up so far for the Tuesday races and 10 teams have signed up for Wednesdays.  Because there is extra capacity on the main evenings, we will combine the Monday races into these programs.  We will race with one start rather than gold and silver fleets.  Also, the start time will be pushed back 10 minutes to 6:40 to accommodate sailors as they figure out the best transportation options.


The sailing school will also change its schedule on Saturday and Sundays and end at 5 p.m.  This will open up more boats for the evening time-slot on weekends.  The club is considering a new Saturday evening racing program for J/24s and PHRF boats.  This could become a popular series combining racing with an après-celebration and awards ceremony at Surf City with no work the next day!


Photo: Our clubhouse in winter storage at Liberty Harbor Marina.  In about 2 months, the clubhouse will be moved back out on station and open or the season.


The Honorable William Wall will open as normal in May with a launch running out of Jersey City.  We hope to increase the number of days this clubhouse will be open from 5 to 7 and also add more special features like priority reservations and 1/2 price drinks for members.


Arabella will have to undergo some changes this summer.  She was an incredible clubhouse at North Cove but her business model required a membership of 1,000 people.  Our club has dropped in size and we expect to land in the 550 to 600 range, similar to where we were after the 2009 Great Recession.  Until our membership rebuilds, Arabella will have to be spun off and earn her keep.  We are studying the possibility of Arabella doing sunset cruises in the harbor like the other popular sailboats Shearwater and Adirondack.


Our new location will also enable our club to begin hosting regattas.  We may re-introduce the Stars & Stripes Regatta as well as the Governor's Cup.  These were the major regattas which happened in the harbor when our club was founded in 1987.

There will be a lot more this year.  It's just starting to happen.  Later this spring, we will begin rebuilding our committees and see who is willing and able to help move some of these exciting opportunities forward.



In Memoriam - Jordan Gruzen


[The following memorial is reprinted from the Downtown Post NYC, a free email newsletter.  To subscribe, go to]



by Terese Loeb Kreuzer


Lee Gruzen sat at her kitchen table, looking out over the Hudson River, the Statue of Liberty and the blue lights of Battery Park City's South Cove. With winter's short days, it was already dark, though not late.

[These photos and captions were not all part of the original article but have been added to the club newsletter] Photo: Vintage picture of Jordan Gruzen - sailor, optimist, realist and a dreamer.


"Jordan loved Battery Park City," she said. "He loved Lower Manhattan."


Her husband, architect Jordan Gruzen, had died just a few days before, on Jan. 27 at the age of 80. Though gone, he was everywhere - in the building where Lee lives, which he had designed; in four other apartment buildings in Battery Park City. In Stuyvesant High School, on Chambers Street. His firm, Gruzen Samton, had designed the NYPD headquarters at 1 Police Plaza, Southbridge Towers in the South Street Seaport, Chatham Green and Chatham Towers, Murry Bergtraum High School and hundreds of other buildings in New York City, New Jersey and in other parts of the world. 


"There are very few areas of Manhattan and the boroughs - especially in Queens - where they didn't do a master plan or a building," said Lee. 


In addition to this vast body of work, Jordan Gruzen left behind his family: Lee, who he married in July 1976; his first wife, Joan, mother of his son, Alex; Rachel and Georgia, his children with Lee; four grandchildren, and many friends. They flocked to the Gruzen apartment in the days following his death to visit with Lee and the children and to pay their respects to a man who they admired and loved. 


Their diversity reflected the diversity of his interests. He was a fine athlete - skiing and playing tennis. He loved music. (His mother had been a professional opera singer with the Metropolitan Opera.) He and Lee helped to found Lower Manhattan's Knickerbocker Chamber Orchestra. He was an avid sailor. With Michael Fortenbaugh and Dennis Conner, his name was on the lease that Fortenbaugh had for a decade when he was the manager of North Cove Marina. Jordan happily explored Gardiner's Bay at the eastern end of Long Island on his Sunfish.


 In the years following 9/11, Jordan joined Commodore Fortenbaugh for many sails in the harbor showing dignitaries how the marina was helping rebuild our community.  On this trip were (l to r): Commodore Fortenbaugh, BPCA President Tim Carey, LMCC President Lou Thompson, Lee Gruzen, NY/NJ Port Authority Executive Director Joe Seymour & Jordan Gruzen.


He was born in Jersey City on April 5, 1934 to Barney Sumner Gruzen and Ethel (Brof) Gruzen. Jordan's father, who was known professionally as B. Sumner Gruzen, founded the architectural firm Kelly & Gruzen with Colonel Hugh A. Kelly, in 1936. Jordan received his Bachelor of Architecture at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Master of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania and was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to Italy. In the early 1960s Jordan and MIT classmate Peter Samton joined Kelly & Gruzen. Jordan and Peter became partners in 1967, and changed the firm name to Gruzen and Partners, then to The Gruzen Partnership, and in 1986 to Gruzen Samton, which merged, in 2009, with IBI Group and is now known as IBI Group-Gruzen Samton.


Over an 80-year period, the firm received five national AIA design awards and numerous city and state AIA awards. Jordan was a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA), a former Chairman of the AIA NY Chapter Committee on Architecture for Justice, a former Chairman of the AIA NY Chapter Committee on Housing and an active member of the Urban Land Institute and Building Congress. He was also a member of many other urban planning and architectural organizations. 


"Jordan was great at getting work," said Lee. "He delighted in the challenges. He knew how to get a building done. He enjoyed every step along the way."


Photo: Jordan Gruzen with State Senator Daniel Squadron and Commodore Fortenbaugh observing the sailing renaissance in the harbor this past summer.


At one time an enthusiastic traveler, Jordan did less of that in his last decade. He was beset with a series of illnesses - a mitral valve replacement, Grave's disease, five knee operations, prostate cancer, and finally, bladder cancer, which caused his death. "But he was always good humored," said Lee. "He never felt sorry for himself."


He remained active until the very end. On Jan. 9, he attended a party for people who had worked for the Gruzen Samton firm who they especially wanted to thank. The next weekend, he and Lee and some of the children went to visit the house in Amagansett that he had designed and that they were in the process of building. He was very proud of that house, Lee said.


On the day of his death, he was emailing and Skyping his son, Alex, and his grandchildren to say good-by to them and to tell them that he was dying. 


"He wasn't afraid," said Lee. "He never had a moment of fear in his life."


Donations in Jordan's memory can be made to the Knickerbocker Chamber Orchestra.



Expansion of Junior Sailing in Jersey City


To prepare for our move to Jersey City, Peter Humphrey arranged a meeting between Jersey City Deputy Mayor Vivian Brady-Philips and Commodore Fortenbaugh.  The Mayor's team also included Ryan Strother and Dinah Carter, who both work on recreation and youth programming for the city.


Photo: The floating dock for Operation Optimist houses 30 Optimist dinghies.  This is the largest junior sailing program in or harbor.


Jersey City is very interested in the junior sailing programs run by our NY Harbor Sailing Foundation.  Our programs are the largest in the harbor.  These programs will now move to Jersey City and make it possible for local kids to begin sailing.  These programs will also make Jersey City a more attractive place for new families to move.


Operation Optimist is the junior program for kids 8 to 13.  There are 30 Optimist dinghies and 10 weeks of sailing!  Our club will now begin raising scholarship money to make this program more available to inner-city kids.  It is possible that Operation Optimist will expand to 40 dinghies by the end of this summer.  And if we can get storage space at Liberty State Park, Operation Optimist could grow to become one of the largest junior sailing programs in the country.  One hundred Optimist dinghies is a realistic goal within 5 years!  There are enough kids nearby and we have a track record with many years of success.  Our Foundation only needs the financial support.  This could change the face of the harbor and reflect positively on the great success story of Jersey City.  Sailing will also have a huge impact on the participating kids, building confidence and encouraging kid to dream big and excel.  We will begin our fundraising efforts with the Sailors Ball.


18th Annual Sailors Ball Set for Friday, May 1



The 18th Annual Sailors Ball will be Friday, May 1.  This is the annual back tie fundraiser which celebrates the start of the new sailing season.  The ball is a great tradition and always one of the best nights to see and be seen and each spring.  This year, the Sailors Ball will serve as two fundraisers.


The first will be the ball itself which begin at 9 p.m. and runs until 1 a.m.  This part of the event will raise money for scholarships for inner-city kids to learn to sail.  The goal is to raise $25,000 which will provide 60 scholarships.  Each scholarship will make it possible for a deserving youth to attend a full week of sailing camp.  Sailing is a great sport which increases confidence and inspires kids to achieve.  Every ticket you buy for the Sailors Ball will support the scholarship program.



The second fundraiser this evening will be the VIP Dinner which is being rebranded as the "12 Meter Dinner."  This dinner will raise money to support the historic 12-Meter America II.  America II raced for the Americas Cup in 1987.  Now she serves as an ambassador for sailing in our harbor and helps inspire others to sail here.  The dinner goal is to raise $15,000 which is expected to be 25% of America II's annual operating budget.  Additional funds will be raised through corporate sails and private donations.



The Sailors Ball features a unique themed-room format.  Each room has a different sound and sponsor.  Guests can glide from room to room throughout the evening seeing and experiencing different crowds and environments.  The Mt Gay Rum room with Caribbean music is always a favorite.  After midnight, the Heineken Boom-Boom Room is usually the place to be.  This year, the Sailors Ball will also feature a charity Casino.  You can find out more details and buy tickets for the 18th Annual Sailors Ball at


 Challenge from the Royal BVI Yacht Club


Photo: (l to r) Commodore Fortenbaugh, Royal BVI Yacht Club Commodore Chris Haycraft (holding the Manhattan Yacht Club trophy) and Kate & Peter Humphrey.


Back in January of 2002, when our club decided after 9/11 to do a second "De Caribbean Regatta," the Royal British Virgin Islands Yacht Club and the West End Yacht Club got together and hosted a cocktail party for our members in Tortola to begin the flotilla.  As a thank you to these two clubs, our club presented them with a "Manhattan Yacht Club Trophy."  These trophies are replicas of the Statue of Liberty and we have presented them to many clubs around the world who have fostered international goodwill.  In 2002, there were two clubs and only one trophy.  So we proposed that the clubs race for it each year with the winner keeping the trophy.  This tradition has been kept up in the BVIs.


When Commodore Fortenbaugh was down in the Caribbean this winter, he thought it would be a good idea to stop by the Royal BVI Yacht Club to check on the trophy.  He was fortunate to meet their Commodore Chris Haycraft who had just finished (and won) a race that afternoon.  The Commodores started talking and soon a challenge was issued.  Next year, during our Caribbean Regatta, the Royal BVI Yacht Club proposes that our racing sailors keep 3 boats one day extra and we engage in a race between all three yacht clubs on the final Saturday.  The winner would be awarded the Manhattan Yacht Club trophy for the ensuing year.


It seems like a great idea and Commodore Haycraft has also proposed a "Final Night Party" when the sailors of all 3 clubs would get together for dinner and drinks.  This could be an incredible way to finish our Caribbean Regatta.  If you are interested in being one of the 3 boats to represent Manhattan Yacht Club in the race, send a note to Commodore Fortenbaugh at


 Passage Making Opportunity on Arabella in April


Members interested in gaining more passage making experience are invited to apply to join the Arabella for her delivery north in April.


Every year, Arabella travels to and from the Caribbean.  This will give members an opportunity to gain more blue water experience as well as participate more fully in the life of our great flagship "Arabella."


This opportunity is for members who are serious about sailing.  This is an off-shore passage making delivery.  All crew stand watch on a 3 hours on and 6 hours off rotation.  Crew will be responsible for recording data, inspecting the bilges and voids and monitoring generators and engines.  Other members of the crew, including the captain and engineer, will be professional sailors.  This is an excellent opportunity to learn and build your sailing skill. 


Sailing to and from the Caribbean is a life-time experience.  And doing it on a large and strong vessel like Arabella is a unique opportunity.  Arabella is outfitted with air conditioning and heating.  She will have satellite phones and a tracking beacon so friends can watch your progress every hour.  There will be a chef preparing meals.  No smoking or drinking will be permitted on the delivery.  



The trip north will be split into 2 legs.  The first leg will be BVIs to Bermuda. The second leg will be Bermuda to New York Harbor.  The first leg is normally more placid.  The second leg can be more challenging because you will cross the Gulf Stream and be in colder waters.  You can apply to do either leg although the second leg from Bermuda is better for the more experienced sailors.


Arabella plans to depart from the BVIs on April 13 and arrive in Bermuda round April 17.  Then Arabella will clean up and travel around to Hamilton and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club docks on April 20.  The plan is to do an evening cruise for our friends and contacts in Bermuda on April 24 or 25.  Then she will depart around April 27 with possible arrival back in NYC around April 30 for the crew to be honored at the Sailors Ball.  All departures and trips re subject to good weather windows and we will use Commanders Weather Service for our weather routing.


Participating members are responsible for their own travel arrangements. Food will be provided once you are onboard.  Members who participate in the delivery will be given a free berth on Arabella for a week of sailing in the Caribbean.  All cabins are double occupancy so you would share a cabin with another person.  Some cabins have double beds and others have single over/under bunks.  A delivery on Arabella will also qualify you for the club's Blue Water Society.  The society has its annual dinner in February.


Standing watch through the early morning hours as the sun rises on the horizon is a magical experience.  When you are out in the ocean, you get a full sense of the majesty of the seas and the beauty of our planet.



If you are interested in participating in one of these legs, please send an email to the Commodore at with you sailing background and sailing resume.  Spots are limited and will be given to the first qualified applicants.  To qualify, you should already have a fair amount of sailing experience as well as a desire to learn and improve. 



 Upcoming Events


Club Backgammon Championship - Saturday, March 21

Arabella departs BVIs - Monday, April 13

Spring Launching - Saturday, April 25

Arabella departs Bermuda - Monday, April 27

18th Annual Sailors Ball - Friday, May 1
Commissioning Ceremony to begin our 28th Sailing Season -  Saturday, May 9

First Week of Racing - May 12 & 13

Stars & Stripes Regatta - July 4 & 5




Seen at the Club
Photo: There were 11 boats plus Arabella sailing in this winter's "De Caribbean Regatta."  And
what a great year to get out of town for a week of sailing in the warm waters of the BVIs!   Although it was a record cold winter up north, the Caribbean weather was among the best ever.  This group picture was taken on the beach of Jost Van Dyke during the final day when many sailors earned their Royal Order of De Caribbean Regatta medals.
The Blue Water Society dinner was organized this February by John Elliot at the India House on Hanover Square.  Our current "King Neptune", Jean Yves Noblet, was joined by the Society's first King Neptune, Peter Cavrell, for a fantastic evening of fine friends, food and storytelling.  This is always a very distinguished evening for our club.
If you are visiting North Sound in the BVIs, be sure to go see the fabulous Yacht Club Costa Smeralda clubhouse.  Commodore Fortenbaugh shakes hands with Luca Rombi, General Manager of YCCS.  Luca is an exceptional host with great flair and if you call in advance, you may be lucky enough to be invited to visit the club for drinks or dinner.  On Thursday evenings, the club has a great BBQ buffet.  The YCCS clubhouse is an exquisite piece of landscape and architecture. The views from the clubhouse are incredible during the day and only get better in the evening and night.  You can see Arabella's 3 masts just off the dock in the picture above.
During part of this winter, Arabella tied up to the docks at YCCS.  What an incredible and beautiful home in the Caribbean.  This was a very special experience for the crew of Arabella and they wish to send their appreciation to all the professional and hard-working staff of YCCS.