* 2017 Events

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* Opening Day



Anker Madsen, John Henley, Warren Ryan / Win Schwab officiates at club’s opening day festivities / George Bott (R) kicks off sock burning.

YPRCC Officially Opens Boating Season 

          Over seventy members and guests celebrated Yankee Point Racing and Cruising Club’s Opening Day festivities held on Meyer Creek and the organization’s clubhouse in Lancaster.  The multi-themed event, which signaled the beginning of another boating season in the Northern Neck, combined blessing of the fleet, ceremonial raising of the flag, sock burning, and feasting on oysters in one afternoon. 

          According to one of the club’s maritime history buffs, Commodore Win Schwab, the tradition of blessing the fleet dates back centuries.  He noted that it was rooted in religious beliefs and is currently celebrated in fishing and coastal communities worldwide with a simple service or, as in the case of the largest U.S. celebration in Darien, Georgia, a three-day festival with arts and crafts, food vendors, family and kid-oriented events and over 30,000 people.

          “Admission was only $5.00 in Darien,” said Schwab, “but they added ten dollars to bring a cooler.  So, I think we have a much better deal.”

          Schwab’s opening remarks were followed by a moment of silence and the traditional ringing of a bell to honor club members who had passed away since the last flag raising.  Those honored post-humously were:  Bill Jordan, Nancy Heasty and Jeremy Bennett.

          The actual blessing of the fleet was conducted jointly by husband and wife ministers Margaret Anne Fohl and Bill Arnold who stressed that a “yearning for closeness to water” was a universally felt spiritual need.  Fohl also drew a parallel to Earth Day by sharing a reading from a non-traditional source.

          The blessing was followed by a toast to Poseidon, the Greek God of the Sea (also earthquakes, storms and horses),  recognition of past commodores, and the singing of “Eternal Father Strong to Save,” the U.S. Navy’s official hymn, led by club soprano Hazle Konerding.

          Fleet Captain Anker Madsen, Vice Commodore Warren Ryan and Past Commodore John Henley hoisted the Stars and Stripes while members stood at attention and sang the “Stars Spangled Banner.”  This was followed by respectful silence and precision salutes or solemn hands covering hearts while the group recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

          Schwab then welcomed new members Mitchell and Susan Bober, Robin Meigel, Pat and Susan Patrick, Chris Brubaker and Ronnie Holmes, and Rob and Vickie Foley.

          Board trustee George Bott kicked off the “Sock Burning” celebration, a tradition-in-the-making, and Schwab stated that the oysters were almost ready and that members should bid farewell to the sock requirements of winter and greet spring and summer barefoot or with shoes only.  Another member stated that most of his socks had holes in them and several had not seen the inside of a washing machine since the last sock burning.

          Following the sock burning, the group enjoyed roasted, fried and/or stewed oysters.  Dave Turney, a former head of the Tidewater Oyster Gardeners Association, explained that one mature, hard-working oyster could filter about 50 gallons of water in one day.  Hearing this information another member said that she felt a twinge of guilt but not enough to stop eating her stew. 

          The oyster roast and programed activities were coordinated by the club’s “Team April,” co-chaired by Nina and Dave Turney and George and Marlene Bott, under Rear Commodore Nancy Hamm.  Team members included:  John and Geannie Henley, Anker Madsen, Ethel Gibbs, Bill Gesell, Win Schwab, Karsten Konerding, Sara Ford, Ellen Dugan, Bill and Judy Trezenka, Sharon Timm, John Tidwell, James Bennett, Sue Johnson and Warren Ryan.   

                                                    *** Pictures and comments provided by Ellen Dugan ***  


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