Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bidd’st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!
William Whiting, 1861
Opening Day is upon us and along with it the accoutrements of our club traditions. The weekend is chock full of important, fun and, hopefully, safe and sane events. We moved the traditional Saturday morning breakfast to Friday night dinner last year and we found that the event was much more relaxed and timely for skippers who plan to participate in Saturday’s parade. The Friday dinner will highlight Past Commodores and will also have a flag raising ceremony with our Sea Scout unit.
The solemn poem to start this column is part of a much larger piece by William Whiting that has been used in various forms for well over a century. Its somber nature communicates the awesomeness of the waters we venture upon. As such, participation in Saturday’s Boat Parade and Blessing of the Fleet, is to be encouraged. It is a festive, colorful and important event. If you are “on the fence” about being a part of the parade, take the leap and join us, you will not be sorry. The Blessing of the Fleet imparts the concept of being part of something that is much bigger than oneself and that is something that, if you have ever boated beyond the sight of land, know is a transforming truth.
Saturday evening will be a fun pizza party at the club to round out the weekend’s festivities. Remember, both Friday’s and Saturday’s dinners are prepaid, if you are interested and we have available seats, please contact Mary Schefstrom (firstname.lastname@example.org).
With the Opening Day Weekend the heart of our boating season really begins and I would encourage all boaters to make a few “promises” to themselves, their First Mates and their craft. One, always wear PFD’s when afloat and require guests and crew to do likewise. Two, prepare your craft to successfully take and return you to your homeport. Checkoff the obvious maintenance items before departure and you will be rewarded commensurately. Three, avoid “hard and fast” schedules. We find our most enjoyable boating experiences are those that follow a very loose and flexible schedule that allows for inclement weather and kitchy communities with friendly brewpubs.
So far away now, but any day now, I’ll sail on the morning tide
Home, oh! Take me home, home to the people I left behind
Home to the love I know I’ll find: oh! Take me home.
Phil Coulter-Lake of Shadows