Well! Didn't SCYC greet the Official Opening of the 2019 Boating Season in a unique way this year? For those of you not able to make it to the ceremony, and perhaps were watching it from a deck above the marina, you had quite a sight! Everything looked organized, as usual, down at the After Deck, with our special bagpiper, Josh Dielemon leading Commodore Ryan Laudien, Nanoose Power Squadron Commander Jim Dutton, and a number of Past Commodores down the dock.
Spectators, watching from above, would have been unaware of what was being discussed down below on the docks. The morning racers had returned exhilarated after experiencing 25 knot winds. The captains felt it perhaps wasn't prudent to set out after the dock ceremony on such a blustery day. There were concerns that CARIAD's anchor (Commander Jim's boat) may not hold and wouldn't that cause a commotion for the parade of boats saluting their Commodore and Commander! No one wanted to make the call until checking the winds at the last possible minute.
The Deck Ceremony went off as planned. Past Commodore Simon Huddy welcomed the other Past Commodores and the many participants filling the Afterdeck to the event. Our national anthem was sung with Sandra Dutton leading, as the Canadian flag was hoisted. Commodore Ryan Laudien welcomed the special guests, Commander Jim Dutton and wife, Sandra Dutton, and the SCYC members to the 2019 Opening Day of the Boating Season. He also mentioned, a cautionary bit of wisdom, that the seasoned sailor, Dick Duffley had recently conveyed during an initial "shake down" sail aboard the TwoCan XL: "Make friends with your boat." (This takes time when one is becoming acquainted with a new or previously owned boat, and since the author of this article hasn't seen Commodore Ryan since the haul out of the TwoCan XL on March 7th, she'd say he took Dick's advice seriously!) Commander Jim Dutton filled in for Fleet Captain Dean Dreger to address how the sail past would proceed on the water. Now, those members who weren't present will be dying to read the next paragraph because there was a completely different procedure for 2019's Sail Past announced!
Past Commodore Peter Howells came up with a brilliant solution to our gale winds discomfort. He suggested that it would be safer to man our boats, as usual, but NOT leave the docks. Instead, wait for the air horn to blast, and be ready to salute the Commodore and Commander as they zoomed up and down the fingers in a dinghy. What a crazy spectacle, those of you with marina views from your decks, must have experienced!
No one complained about the last minute decision and members took to their boats and settled in quite happily with Proseco and appetizers off their aft decks. Most people bring guests aboard for the Sail Past, so parties were underway, by the time the air horn sounded. Can you picture the dignified display of the well-dressed Commodore standing up at the front of the dinghy waving the Commodore's flag as he was putt-putted along? (Commodore Ryan wanted to know if he resembled Washington crossing the Delaware?)
One member tried to get a close-up view of the prestigious dinghy as it flashed by Cassis for the salute. Janette Brown appeared over-anxious to salute our Commodore as close to the water, as possible. She practically fell 'head over heels' for Ryan off the swim deck of the Howell's boat. Thankfully, she didn't hit the water, but that didn't stop the passing of misinformation along B Dock that it was Marianne Duffley who had fallen into the water? Just imagine the kinds of salutes that one receives from a DINGHY. Commander Jim commented that if there had been a prize for the BEST SALUTE, Lilly and Scout (the Watson's beagles) would have been the recipient.
And then there was all the drama around Jo McIlveen, as the designated photographer of the event. Everyone was distracted (or entertained) watching her run, lugging her massive camera, as she tried to get to the next finger before the Official Saluting Dinghy zoomed off. Poor Jo rarely caught up and was completely breathless by the time she did. Jo ran a marathon up and down the docks trying to find the perfect vantage point from which to take her photos. You'll have to let her know how well she did, with no help from Past Commodore Peter who was Captain Speedy of the dinghy.
By 4:30, it was off to Fairwinds Golf Club for a pre-dinner social mingle and time to check out one another's interpretation of the costume theme, the BIG BAND ERA of the 40's. Social Director, Jo Graham provided a wonderful surprise for the 69 members and 8 Past Commodores attending. She hired a 19 piece live MOOD SWINGS BIG BAND led by Jill Mont to entertain us with Glen Miller dance music. You could tell that once the music started, members were moving in their seats, just itching to get on the dance floor. (Perhaps the dock parties prior to dinner helped everyone to lose their inhibitions and give it a whirl.) Jo had everyone warmed up by dancing herself, as well as Len and Yvonne Daczko, Linda Watson, and Jo McIlveen. Once they started, the dance floor filled up.
Before dinner was served, a dance contest was announced with Len and Yvonne Daczko designated as the judges. The dance floor filled up with hopeful competitors as the band played the song, 'In the Mood.' There were some amazing dancers giving their all and the judges finally had to agree to tap the dancers that were slowing down and taking slight breathers. It came down to 3 pairs of dancers: John and Karen Herage, Pam May-Straka and Hugo Martin, and Jo McIlveen and Linda Watson. The applause meter was used after the dance-off and Jo and Linda were announced the winners by our esteemed judges. What a show! It was like watching a live episode of Dancing with the Stars!
Bill Hamilton hosted the pre-dinner portion of the program. Bill, decked out in duds that looked like he came straight to the Sail Past dinner from betting at a racetrack in the 40's, demonstrated his enthusiasm for our club. His costume was authentic with pieces saved from his father. He spoke of the Commodore's new boat- the TwoCan XL- trying to interpret the meaning of the name. (Not sure if he figured it out by his assumption that Prairie Girl was less enthusiastic about the new boat than the Commodore, but looked forward to cruising to her favourite shopping ports.) Perhaps it should have been named,the OneCanXL... Commodore Ryan greeted everyone and praised the membership for their outstanding participation in the unique Opening Day event. And having a full house for the dinner and dance was a wonderful send-off to the boating season ahead.
Nanoose Power Squadron Commander Jim Dutton and wife, Sandra were acknowledged as our special guests for the evening.
Past Commodore Simon Huddy welcomed the eight Past Commodores in attendance, acknowledging the years that they served.
Commander Jim toasted the SCYC club members for a safe and enjoyable boating season ahead.
And Past Commodore Bonnie Curl led us, as is tradition, in saying grace prior to dining.
Dinner was served on tables decorated with sailboat napkins and hand-picked driftwood centerpieces. These were created and assembled by the creative team: Marion Clark, Sheila Greenberg, and Andy Vallis. The decor was perfect with the burgees hanging above the tables to make the Sail Past venue festive. (Thank you Don Graham for putting those up for us, once again.)
Fairwinds presented a delicious scalloped potato and ham dinner... but we all know the best part came at the end of the meal. Who knows how many pans of sticky pudding were brought out to satiate the sweet tooths of our yacht club?
And finally came the judging of the Dress-Up Contest with Brian Steane and Linda Hamilton making the judgement using the Applause Meter. Actually, Brian and Linda should have been judged, rather than judges. They had put together excellent costumes for themselves. Five finalists were chosen: John Vallis (looking the part of Carly Simon's song, "You're So Vain" - You walked into the party like you were walking onto a yacht. (Jim Dutton's observation.), Bill Hamilton, Don Graham, Bonnie Curl, and Mary Laudien. The winners were: Bonnie Curl, John Vallis and Mary Laudien. (It must have been the stripes!??)
As the evening came to a close, the reluctant SCYC members lingered to visit a little longer, discussing cruising plans and boat preparations with one another. The official SCYC Sail Past 2019 could go down in the historical yacht club records as the most unique one ever! Flexibility, fun and friendship replaced the usual formal traditions of the Start-Up Day. Everyone adjusted with good humour and a positive acknowledgement of the good time had by all launching the Opening Day of the 2019 Boating Season.
So many members come forward from our SCYC community to make these events happen. Sometimes their contributions are more behind the scenes and not always acknowledged. The writer of this article tries hard to include all, and thus she would like to add a few more names:
- Judy Colhoun, Margaret Dedeluk, and Janette Brown - set up and greeting members at the door
- Jo McIlveen, Cathy Carey, and Donna Howells -Photographers
- Linda Watson-Preparing advertisements of the Sail Past and creating a synopsis of the event for the Scyline
- James Watson- setting up processes for e-payments and tracking these
- Fairwinds' Chef and Serving Staff for providing a perfect venue and dinner
- AND MOST OF ALL... JO GRAHAM, our Social Director who keeps coming up with these special events and always ensures IT WAS THE BEST ONE YET!
Article written by Mary Laudien (Prairie Girl- www.marylaudien.com)