GHYC Foundation


The Great Harbor Yacht Club Foundation was formed in 2018 and is dedicated to the promotion and preservation of Nantucket Harbor and its marine ecosystem. The Foundation will work with the Town of Nantucket’s Department of Natural Resources and others to fund projects which might otherwise go unfunded in furtherance of the Foundation’s mission and the Town of Nantucket's Strategic Harbor Plan.

Board of Directors
President Elliot Gewirtz, Vice President Cece Fowler, Treasurer Grady Durham, Clerk Matt Dwyer, Ron Zarrella, Karen Ketterer, Joe Smialowski, Valerie McCarthy, and Jeffrey Parker 

Scientific Advisory Committee
William DuPaul, Ph.D., Steve Tettelbach Ph. D., Robert Orth, Ph.D.


What We Have Done and Where Are We Going

State of the GHYC Foundation January 2022




The New Year is upon us, and the GHYC Foundation Board extends are our very best wishes for a healthy and happy New Year. We’re all looking forward to a wonderful summer at GHYC when hopefully Omicron is in the rear-view mirror and no new surges are in sight. Think Friday night at the Fuel Bar!


January is a time for reflection and planning. In that vein, I’d like to give you a brief up- date on your Foundation. The Foundation has approximately $2,000,000 in cash and pledges. Under the guidance of Grady Durham and Joe Smialowski, a portion of the Foundation’s funds are now being conservatively invested as a hedge against rising inflation. Our expenses are nominal and we have no debt or other material obligations.


During the Fall, your Board has been working with the Town of Nantucket’s Department of Natural Resources to advance our mission of improving the health of Nantucket Harbor and its marine ecosystem. This includes promoting the health of Nantucket’s iconic but much endangered bay scallop fishery. It was not a great year for the fishery and when last I looked, Nantucket bay scallops were selling off-island for almost $80 a pound. Not good for anyone. Nutrient loading from groundwater runoff, fertilizers and the like remains a real issue producing harmful algae blooms and killing-off eelgrass so critical to scallop larvae.


Against that background, we have made plans to fund three projects, each proposed by the Town and all scheduled to begin by the summer:


  1. The first is a demonstration bioswale project located adjacent to GHYC with an estimated cost of approximately $200,000. A bioswale collects and cleans water runoff through a system of soil and gravel filtration. The project is designed to limit the flow of harmful nutrients now pouring into the Harbor in an aesthetically pleasing manner minimizing the use of traditional engineering methods. The old methods are susceptible to rising sea levels and require significant maintenance. A bioswale is a “greener” and more sustainable solution. Members of the Club will be able to participate in the project and the Foundation will have responsibility for the design and approval of the final landscaping of the site. The Town will handle all permitting and do the requisite drainage clean-out. It’s a real win-win for all: a cleaner Harbor for the community and an attractively landscaped site adjacent to the Club designed by us. The Town hopes to use the success of our project to get others to follow suit. Accordingly, included in the cost of the project is a Homeowner’s template kit that others can use to constructing their own bioswales. See Annex 1 for more details.
  2. The second is the purchase of a Flow-Cam (including related software and maintenance) for the Town’s Department of Natural Resources at the cost of approximately $100,000. In conjunction with the purchase, the Town will purchase from its own funds a microscope and camera for use with the Flow-Cam and cover related training costs. These items in total will cost approximately $13,500. Nutrient loading not only harms eel grass but results in the growth of harmful algae blooms(HAB’s). HAB’s negatively impact the entire Harbor ecosystem and can even result in closures to swimming and boating. HAB’s have even been found in the Department’s Brant Point Hatchery. The Hatchery is used in part to raise shellfish larvae bound for the Harbor. The proper identification of these HAB’s can be a time - consuming process. What can take a person using an ordinary microscope anywhere from 2 to 4 hours can be done in a matter of a few minutes more precisely with an advanced Flow-Cam. With accurate real-time data, the Town will be in a position to more quickly and effectively act to control HAB’s island-wide and within its own hatchery. In connection with its purchase of this equipment, the Town will make available to GHYC three plankton nets to allow members and their children to participate in its proposed HAB monitoring program. See Annex 2 for more details.
  3. The third is the partial funding of a multi-year Groundwater Mapping and Nutrient Loading survey of the Nantucket Harbor Watershed. A Request for Proposal is to issue by month-end after which a final cost estimate will be determined. The Town will be a contributor to the funding of the project. It is anticipated that the Wannacomet Water Company will contribute as well. While it is well established that groundwater runoff, sewage discharge, fertilizers and the like all contribute to the nutrients flowing into and polluting the Harbor, the exact sources, flows and levels of toxins are not known. Indeed, the last such groundwater mapping survey of the Harbor was done more than 30 years ago in 1990. The proposed survey will seek to obtain the requisite field data necessary to formulate and implement meaningful remediation efforts. While the survey is scheduled to take place over three year year, remediation plans will be formulated as the requisite data is obtained.

So these are the plans for the year to come. While we are all looking ahead to the summer, please mark your calendar now for the 2022 Foundation Day on Sunday July 10. We’ll have our 12 Meter Regatta in the afternoon and our evening gala dinner and auction at the Club out under the stars. Marcus Fuller along with Emma Hermanek will be taking the lead on our Regatta and Karen Ketterer, Valerie Wilson McCarthy, Brooke Stanton and Rachel Sheridan will be organizing our auction and dinner. Last Year the Woman’s boat won and perhaps they’ll go for a repeat. I’m hoping we can organize a Junior’s boat this year to take up the challenge supported by loving Parents/Grandparents!


The evening promises to be really fun with a live auction featuring some super items including old favorites like a Barton & Gray membership and some new and truly unique items. This year we will be auctioning off a portrait sitting by world- famous news photographer Brendon Smialowski. He’s the fellow who captured Bernie in his mittens on the Capital Steps and for good measure an original pair of the Vermont mittens will be included as well!


So do plan on making a day of it, racing in the afternoon and dinner with auction in the evening. If you’d care to add an item to the auction, please contact me. It’s a great way to support the Foundation. Surely, there are no members like our members, and I’m highly confident any item contributed by a member would be enthusiastically bid-up. Give it a think and go for it!


With thanks in advance for your help and generous support, and with best wishes for the New Year


Elliot Gewirtz

GHYC Foundation President


Great Harbor Yacht Club Foundation Presents - A Year in Review 2020

Please join us to hear more about the Town of Nantucket Natural Resources Department’s efforts in collaboration with the Great Harbor Yacht Club Foundation to understand the ecosystem changes in the Nantucket Harbor and their efforts to improve the health of the harbor. Additionally, viewers will learn about successful restoration efforts in the Chesapeake Bay and what that might mean for Nantucket Harbor. There is a panel of experts, who have been intimately involved in the long-term investigation of the marine environment of our harbor. Listen to their answers to pre-recorded questions following the presentation.


Please watch for this presentation airing soon on NCTV18 YouTube Channel and on TV Channel 18. It will also be available on the websites of the Town of Nantucket's Natural Resources Department ( the Great Harbor Yacht Club (



July 28th will be one of celebration for The Great Harbor Yacht Club Foundation and its commitment to promoting the health of Nantucket Harbor’s marine ecosystem.  In the morning four Traditional 12 Metre Yachts will depart for a day of friendly competition.  The evening continues with an elegant party on Brant Point under a waning crescent moon and a million stars.

For more information on The Great Harbor Yacht Club Foundation please log into your member account or email [email protected]

Great Harbor Yacht Club

96 Washington Street
Nantucket, MA 02554
508-325-5200 View Map

GHYC Tennis & Swim Club

23 Nobadeer Farm Road
Nantucket, MA 02554
508-680-5011 View Map

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