Sailing boat

Virtual Sail Past 2020

Please Enjoy

Commodore's Address


Dear Members:
These are unprecedented times. We have spent the past few months staying at home...to protect our population from the spread of Covid-19...instead of getting our boats ready to launch. It’s been tough putting a pause in our busiest season of the year. We all want to be out on the water.
 
It’s human nature to be afraid of what we don’t know or can’t predict, and there is so much uncertainty in the world right now--about the pandemic, about distancing regulations and about the sailing season itself. We are people who enjoy the outdoors, and find peace with the wind blowing in our hair. Sailors are used to comradery, helping each other, enjoying a refreshment and competition. 
 
This season will be especially delicate, as no matter what, we must follow the rules and still practice the safeguards while out on the water. We all need to work together to make sure we have the best boating season possible, and we need to be creative and think outside the box to do that. This is why we have decided to have our first “Virtual Sailpast” in our 132 year history.
 
As a primer for all our new RHYC members, and a reminder to others, I’d like to share a bit of history around this unique event.
 
 
 
The Tradition of Sailpast – The Official Opening of the Boating Season
The “Review of the Fleet” is steeped in more than 500 years of Royal Navy tradition and history. Sailpasts have their roots in this custom of a Royal Review of the fleet. However, these reviews by the Monarch were rare, (or should we say fleeting?) as the whole fleet was never usually all in one spot. About 200 years ago, the first yacht club--The Royal Yacht Squadron--was formed at Cowes. The members there were primarily aristocratic and many were familiar with naval practice and continued the review as a special occasion.
 
The Canadian tradition of Sailpast is a much more recent phenomenon. It originated in 1954 at the Royal Canadian Yacht Club as a means to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of RCYC being granted their Royal Charter in 1854. They had the fleet sail past the Commodore--who was positioned on an anchored Flagship—and each fleet member would be saluted by the Commodore. They acknowledged the salute by luffing of the jib if sail, or a dip of the ensign if power.
 
Since then Sailpast was adopted by many other yacht clubs on Lake Ontario, and RHYC’s first Sailpast was in 1960. It is an all-day event to which all members are invited and expected to attend. It has become a wonderful means to ensure club members get on the water early in the season...and it marks the start the boating season in style and fellowship.
The Sailpast is followed by a “Blessing of the Fleet”, a long standing European tradition first practiced in Portugal.
It was done to seek divine providence for those who laboured or ventured on the sea to assure good harvest, safe passage and safe return. At RHYC our ceremony also includes the presentation of the flags, the laying of the wreath, naval music and the reading of the poem Sea Fever to round things out. All in all a wonderful way to celebrate getting out on the water.
 
The history of RHYC represents the commitment and involvement of thousands of members in our 132 year history. I would be remiss if I didn’t thank the all volunteers on the Board, the Bridge, our RHYC committees, and those who just quietly help out where needed.  Thanks to the staff who play a big role in all of this as well.
 
Introduce the VCs
-Gina Milanese VC Social & Entertainment
-Paul Cavanagh VC Yachting & Cruising
-Travis Fricker VC Sail & Power Boat Training
-Daniel Ott VC Docks & Boats
-Lee Ellis VC Pool & Grounds
-Frank Mattarocci Bridge Secretary
 
Let’s start the 2020 boating season in the spirit of friendship, cooperation and follow the rules until they are relaxed!