A widely celebrated Spring rite is the official opening day of the boating season. Typically held the first weekend in May, yacht clubs everywhere participate in this annual event. Here in the islands, San Juan Island Yacht Club, Orcas Island Yacht Club, and Lopez Island Yacht Club sponsor parades, picnics, dock parties, boat tours, and sometimes even sailboat races.
San Juan Island Yacht Club has chosen “A Community Afloat” as the theme for this year’s festivities. Held Saturday, the first of May at 1415 hours, boats will pass by Spring Street Landing and the Port Marina creatively decorated per the theme or with a maritime display. There will also be classic wooden boats as well as commercial vessels. Parade entrants receive a free night of moorage at Friday Harbor Port Marina. The parade proper is followed by an awards ceremony with a steak and prawn dinner for parade participants, skippers, and crew.
There is nothing quite like Opening Day. The boats, the people, the blue blazer, the crew uniforms, the color, the activity, the fanfare – the order of it all! The tradition.
In this society of ours, which often seems broadly skeptical about the value of tradition, it is a wonderful thing for families now in their third and even fourth generations warmly embracing the positive benefits tradition can actually carry, especially within the yachting community. The wide range of ages, from the young to the not so young, further illustrates the axiomatic: all these people, in one way or another, love the sea.