How it all began: Marco Island Model Yacht Club

Marco Island Model Yacht Club (MIMYC) was founded in 2003 by a group of Marco Island Racquet Center tennis players.

One day after playing tennis, John Moulton, Tom Schwartzburg and George Domenech got into a conversation about model sailing and how much fun they were having sailing their Victorias on Moulton’s canal. Domenech did not know there were model sailors on Marco and as a result had never taken his Skandia model out for a sail. He decided to join them on a Sunday afternoon with his boat. Naturally, the Victoria’s newer technology was too much for Domenech’s old Skandia technology. Needless to say, he could not win a race, so he told them, “I will be back with a new boat.”

Several weeks later, he received an issue of the American Model Yachting Magazine that featured the radio controlled RC Laser. Domenech decided that this would be the boat that would run circles around Schwartzburg and Moulton’s Victoria. Domenech joined them on a Saturday and, as expected, the Laser was too much for the Victorias.

The revolutionary, radio-controlled Laser is a one-fourth scale model of the most widely sailed sailboat in the world and comes ready to sail — only five minutes from the box to the water, without any tools. Even Domenech could put this boat together with his eyes closed. It provides four to five hours of real sailing fun on one set of batteries. This is a rugged boat that kids can play with, or for dad to race to the international level. It will provide years of service to its owner.

Shortly afterwards, Schwartzburg ordered one, then Moulton and soon there were six Lasers in the group, fiercely competing with each other. Domenech figured that the perfect place to sail was at the Mackle Park lake, so he ordered three inflatable buoys and the group began meeting at the Tiki Hut off Balboa Street on Sundays. The only problem was that these buoys had to be thrown out into the pond with a weight and they could only put two out and very near to the shoreline.

Domenech met with Dana Souza, then director of Marco Island Park and Recreation Department, and requested permission to place several fixed buoys. Several weeks later, Souza called Domenech and told him he could place the buoys. After installing them, they also got permission to build a small platform dock to launch the boats from.

So, that was the beginning of the MIMYC. Then, the members decided to incorporate it as a not-for-profit organization, which now has 30 members and is growing fast. The original founders were Schwartzburg, Moulton, Jim Karter, Nic Nicolson, John Gerig, Mark Crooks and Domenech.

The MIMYC will be hosting its fifth Eastern Region Mid-Winter RC/Laser Regatta March 20 to 22 at Mackle Park, which is sponsored by the MIMYC and the Marco Island Parks and Recreation Department. Skippers from all over the U.S., Canada, UK and the Bahamas will attend. Defending his two-year winning streak, Hank Buchanan, from New York City, will be there. Expert skippers have said the Mackle Park lake is the very best sailing venue they have seen.

© 2009 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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