March 1, 2016: YAY! My favorite day of the year is upon us! The Burning of the Socks! Whoo-hoooo! The blessed day is Sunday, March 20, at 4:30 p.m. Bring your hosiery to EYC to roast and toast the first day of spring with your fellow club members over a beer and some oysters. Also feel free to bring a couple new pairs of socks for the Lighthouse Shelter.
This rite of spring, which was birthed in an Eastport boatyard and is now celebrated around the world, is not to be missed! I am hoping for an appearance of the heralders of spring—the osprey—so that we have the sights and sounds of spring in Eastport, which means boating season is right around the corner!
Speaking of boating, at the beginning of February, I had the amazing opportunity to sail in the Conch Republic Cup/Key West to Cuba Race Week, along with fellow EYCers. What a thrill! We all agree it was incredibly special to participate in the first sanctioned sailboat race to Cuba. However, in a country surrounded by beautiful, clear blue water and wonderful warm weather, as a boat lover the most heart-wrenching and sobering moment was when I realized there were NO OTHER BOATS on the water with us. Let that sink in....
However, we did have the great pleasure of meeting Cuban sailors, who take tourists out in huge catamarans to snorkeling and dive spots. Several of them were ambassadors on the dock in Varadero and were there to help with communications between us and the Cuban officials. These guys were wonderful and the bond between fellow sailors was instantaneous. Jokes, teasing, and nicknames were quickly bestowed, as well as offers of help.
One of my biggest thrills — which interestingly was an immediate counterpoint to the moment I realized the absence of boats — was the three catamarans with Cuban crew joining the parade of race boats headed out the narrow channel to the race course. The three Cuban boats, in familiar waters, confidently motored past the US boats with the Cuban crew cheering, dancing, and blasting air horns. The sight — undoubtedly a first for them — of 40 sailboats of all shapes and sizes heading out of their harbor must have been an off-the-chart experience for them!
I am happy to report the EYC burgee is securely posted in Cuba in two venues awaiting your visit: Marina Gaviota and Marina Hemingway at the Club Nautico International.
Back to reality....
Last month my VFB article was about the research and planning going at EYC with the committee chairs. Now it is your turn to participate! Come to one of several short Strategy Sessions at the club, where you can work alongside Board members and Committee leaders to provide your two-cents on goals and initiatives the club should pursue. Everyone is invited to participate and the information and ideas generated by these sessions will provide crucial guidance to club leadership about what members want for EYC.
Very exciting news! We have just received word that the New York Yacht Club Team Racing Committee has invited Team Eastport Yacht Club to participate again in the George R. Hinman Masters Team Racing Championship! The 3-day regatta will be held in Newport, Rhode Island, August 19-21, 2016.
The event is 3-on-3 team racing with up to 4 sailors per boat and a maximum weight of 2200 pounds per team. The helmsperson must be at least 45 years of age and the crew must be a minimum of 40 years of age. Last year was the first year a team from EYC participated and it appears the crew impressed them — congratulations to Team Captain Gavin O’Hare and the rest of the EYC team! We look forward to cheering you on this August!
For those looking to learn to sail or get their US Power Boating certification, please be sure to check out the 2016 Junior Fleet Programs and sign up. Classes are filling up — with some already sold out! All classes and descriptions are located at http://www.eastportyc.org/junior-fleet.
Want to get on the water, but don’t have a boat or want to try something new? Starting in the spring, EYC Junior Fleet will offer EYC members watercraft access for a nominal fee. The Watercraft Access Program entitles use of the fleet of 4 adult and 4 child kayaks, 6 paddleboards, and 4 Sunfish during the boating season from April 15-October 31 as weather permits. Use of the Sunfish sailboats is subject to pre-approval. Visit the Members Only page of the Juniors section for more details.
Let’s get ready to go boating!