Chula Vista YC scrambles to find new location

CHULA VISTA — One of the oldest yacht clubs in San Diego County will be looking for a new place to call home in 2016 after its lease at California Yacht Marina was not renewed.

Chula Vista Yacht Club was notified by marina operators its current lease would be allowed to expire. Club members were notified via email of the pending change.

“We must plan a move to new facilities. California Yacht Marina has decided not to renew our lease in 2016,” Jim Ply wrote in an email to Chula Vista YC members, reiterating the lease termination does not mean the club is ending its 126-year run. “This is not the end of Chula Vista YC. This club has a history dating back to 1889. We have recovered from dams bursting, bay silting, a major economic slowdown, and we are still here. We will make plans and move on.”

The lease expires Dec. 31, Ply told The Log.

“The marina has decided to do something else with the building,” Ply said, adding he has no idea how California Yacht Marina will fill the soon-to-be-vacated space. “We are now out seeking a home. It’ll take some time.”

Ply added the club needs all of its members to chip in to ensure Chula Vista YC will have a new home. The club is talking to other marinas and looking at potential off-water locations.

“Our future depends on members who care about this club and continue their support and participation,” Ply wrote in his email.

Chula Vista YC, which is the only yacht club in the city, swore in its new officers Nov. 7. 

“This means we will be putting together a new committee structure,” Ply said in his email. “We will need help with membership, financial, social, sailing, cruising and youth programs.”

Club members can participate in many activities through Chula Vista YC, including raft-ups, dinghy parades, fishing tournaments, charity events, dart competitions, poker rallies and seminars. Guests of reciprocal yacht clubs are offered 72 hours of free moorage. The club, however, only maintains control over slips with its reciprocal area; slips outside of this area are managed by California Yacht Marina.

A link to Chula Vista YC on California Yacht Marina’s website was not operational as of Oct. 22.

Ply said the marina’s management team had been cooperative and helped the yacht club stay on the waterfront as long as possible. Neighboring Chula Vista Marina, which is under different management, does not have any space available for a new tenant, according to Ply who is the club’s treasurer. 

The Log reached out to representatives of California Yacht Marina in Chula Vista in an attempt to find out more information about the non-renewed lease; the attempts were unsuccessful. California Yacht Marina operates recreational boating venues in Chula Vista, Redondo Beach (Port Royal), San Pedro (Cabrillo) and Wilmington.

The club’s treasurer also informed members Chula Vista YC will be working on a pro-forma budget for 2016.

“We are reviewing carefully both the revenue and expense components of the budget. The more members we get involved in the development and approval of this budget the more accurate it will be, and the likelihood of a successful implementation increases,” Ply said.

Where the club will call home in 2016 remains to be seen, but Ply said Chula Vista YC will continue operating despite losing its current lease. He hopes to rejuvenate the club’s junior program, saying youth are the lifeline to Chula Vista YC’s future.

“It’s not like we’re shutting down,” Ply said, adding the club’s leadership will find a way to remain operational, even if it means renting space at local venues for its events until a new headquarters is found.

Chula Vista YC will continue to meet at its leased space for the rest of 2015. About 60 paid members fill out the club’s roster. The club moved into its current location in 1987.

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