This weekend we attended the Waikiki Yacht Club‘s Opening Day Celebration and Blessing of the Fleet. An opening day in February with sunny 80-degree weather is a little different from what we’re used to. Back home, the Seattle Yacht Club’s Opening Day for the official start of boating season is in early May, when the temperature is typically in the high 50s. Coincidentally, the theme for the 2013 Seattle event is “Hawaiian Magic“. Hopefully the weather will approach their theme.
The turnout for the event was excellent, with over 200 people at the breakfast brunch. The guest speaker was long-time Waikiki Yacht Club member Colonel Frank W. Tate, who commands 3,500 troops, including the 2,600 soldiers of the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade in Afghanistan. Colonel Tate knows Afghanistan well, politically and culturally. He gave an excellent update of the country’s history, progress and current state of affairs.
Around noon, the boats gathered for the Fleet Blessing, where a boat anchored offshore carries a priest, who blesses each boat, captain and crew as they pass in review. Here’s a video Rick Heiniger shot last year aboard Don and Sharry Stabbert’s Starr as they participated in the blessing. Rick owns Nordhavn 76 Eliana, visible at the start and end of the video moored where Dirona is now.
This year, Don and Sharry (at left below) hosted the blessing on Starr and invited us to join them. Giving the blessing was Coast Guard priest Commander Haley. Other guests on board included Waikiki Yacht Club commodore Gregg Dunn, Opening Day organizers Mark and Dot Hazlett, our guest speaker Colonel Tate, and other Hawaii-based members of the Armed Forces and the Coast Guard. Every one of the Coast Guard members we spoke with also had served in the Seattle area.
The weather was perfect for pictures.
Here are a few shots of the boats passing by for blessing:
Commander Haley also blessed the Waikiki Yacht Club’s Laser (small sailing dinghy) fleet and the womens paddling crew.