Yes, it’s a new name for my monthly missive. It will still be commentary from the Commodore but I thought the new name better reflects the nautical nature of our Club. Perhaps you knew already that our neighbour, with whom we share our basin, HMCS York, is organized in exactly the same manner as an actual ship in the Canadian Naval fleet. Each crew member of HMCS York has a position/rank resembling those you would find aboard any vessel in the Canadian fleet. So too, NYC has nautical traditions that reflect at least three centuries of practical and ceremonial activities engaged in by yacht clubs around the world.
One tradition that is quite physically apparent at NYC is our flagpole, with its elaborate yardarm and variety of halyards for hoisting flags of every type. Next time you’re around the “west lawn” take a look at this structure. The rig would fit handily onto the deck of a good sized sailing ship of yesteryear. (In truth however, our old flagpole needs a little TLC. A paint job, some new halyards and maybe even some new belaying pins? Anyone out there need some Club hours?).
And so begins another boating (yachting?) season! Skippers are preparing for launch and doing the million and one things that need doing prior to Launch Day. Crew are reconnecting with their skippers so as not to miss out on a very busy month of May and the summer sailing season that follows.
By the time this piece reaches you, launch will be upon us. Saturday, May 2nd. It’s a busy day in the annual events of any yacht club, and it’s a showpiece of volunteerism at NYC. Launch weekend is followed by the annual NOTSA (National Old Timers Sailing Association) Annual General Meeting and luncheon – save the date old timers – May 5th – as long time NYC members meet to swap stories of winter sailing adventures and prepare for a new sailing season ahead. Just a few days later, Chef Dani will be cooking up some great menu ideas for our Mother’s Day brunch (May 10th). After all her hard work during pre-launch, why not treat the admiral to a well-deserved Brunch?
And then the sailing really begins with practice sessions May 12-14; Spring Round the Island Race on May 18th; Spring Race Series – May 19-21; start of Youth Sailing & Racing School – May 29th. Lots of activities to get you out on the water for some bracing Spring sailing.
May 30th is Sailpast. I wrote about this event last month and again would encourage our Senior Members to make a special effort to join the fleet for this annual NYC tradition. And why not invite some new Crew Members to join you for the sailing past of the reviewing vessel, this year, my boat Solstice. If you participate in the NYC Buddy System, please invite your buddy members to join you for Sailpast.
It’s going to be a busy summer. The PanAms and ParaPanAms are coming. NYC will again host a variety of regattas. We have never had so many club cruises planned. So… lots to do.
Finally, as I mentioned last month, Mary Lou and I were honoured to attend the Ontario Sailing Association Gala with Vice Commodore Sandy Steffen and her guests from the NYC racing gang. We spent an enjoyable evening with Janet Geisberger and friend David, Stephen Jones and wife, Wendy Fischer and Kevin Brown. I was rewarded by successfully bidding on a copy of Sir Francis Chichester’s classic Gipsy Moth Circles The World kindly donated to OSA by Lynne Beale. As I write this I am about half way through the epic tale. I am enthralled by Chichester’s accomplishments, and at the ripe old age of 65! However, it’s a very technical read for a trawler skipper (me) and at times I can only vaguely imagine what on earth he is talking about let alone understand how he could have possibly did what he did under the conditions he faced. For all you sailors out there, here’s a little piece of Sir Francis’s writing that perhaps one of my sailing brethren can translate for me sometime this summer.
It was a trying day. Gipsy Moth jibbed at sailing a certain heading on the wind, and it happened to be a most valuable heading for windward work. I spent hours trying to induce her to keep it. Gipsy Moth’s No. 2 vice making itself painfully felt. When a degree or more of heel made her ride off to leeward, as soon as she got into the attitude of sailing on her leeward bilge, she shot off like a salmon, and went suddenly quiet with it. In the end I gave up trying to coax her to sail close to the wind, and after she had slid off to leeward once again I left her there, and just enjoyed the speed and quietness.
I read this passage to Mary Lou and she exclaimed that she didn’t have the foggiest notion of what he was describing but said it sounded like poetry.
Wishing everyone an uneventful launch and fair winds for Sailpast!
Neill MacMillan, Commodore