>As I have mentioned in past posts, I am involved, for many years, with a sailing group, The Corinthians. This genesis of the organization was primarily about yacht owners sailing their own boats, with unpaid crew, as opposed to paid captain and crew. The organization grew out of the Great Depression as a way for owners to continue sailing under changed circmstances. As we emerge, hopefully, from what some are calling the “great recession” what better time to celebrate our 75th anniversary and as a validation that we are as relevant now as we were at our founding 75 years ago. And what better way to celebrate this important milestone than with an event at the New York Yacht Club on 44th street in Manhattan.
As the group’s shore activities chair, I have spent a number of years, more than I care to admit, as the one responsible for putting on events for the group such as our annual meeting, informal get-togethers in members homes and in this most recent case, a celebratory weekend in New York.
In spite of near record snowfalls in Annapolis and Philadelphia, where many of our members live, nearly 160 gathered on Friday evening to celebrate, make new friends and to reconnect with others. We met in the model room, perhaps the most remarkable room in New York City. Check out this panoramic view of the room. It’s amazing. As many of our members are also members of The New York Yacht Club, it was very fitting that we should choose to celebrate there, a place that has been a part of our group for many years. We have traditionally held our holiday gam there, and in the same room as Friday’s event.
This year was supposed to be even better and I wanted to be sure that we were able to really do it up so I knew that it had to be more than “just another party”. Here’s how it ended up going.
On Friday afternoon nearly 60 of us enjoyed a one hour tour, with half of us being led by the club curator, Lindsay who led us through the model room, library and dining room and did a wonderful job of helping us better understand the club and it’s rich history.
While this view isn’t of our event, it certainly speaks to the special occasion that can be had in the New York Yacht Club.
Another highlight of the event was the debut of a book written by past master Bill Thomas chronicling the 75 year history of our group. Bill wrote and edited the entire book with design and production help from Jason Calfo. The two really out did themselves in producing a book worthy of our silver anniversary. Due to the generous donations from many of our members, a copy will be provided to all members free of charge. Extra copies will be available on the club website for purchase soon.
The evening’s festivities was introduced with an a men’s a capella group The Columbia University Kingsman, an amazingly talented group of 7 young men who serenaded us to kick off the event. If you ever have an opportunity to see and hear them in concert or hire them for your event, I highly recommend it. They were just wonderful.
The evening was wonderful, with a 7 piece dance band and great fellowship, food and drink.
On Saturday morning nearly 60 members, met at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for a guided tour of selected nautical works. What a great job our guide did as she ran us from one end of the museum to the other, her enthusiasm and tremendous knowledge of the what the Met has to offer was clearly obvious for all to see. If you have never thought of having a special tour at the Met, I encourage you to consider one. For a group of 16 or more the museum will put together a custom tour just for you. The fees are very reasonable and it’s just a wonderful experience. Here’s a link that provides details on guided tours.
After our visit to the Met, thanks to a fellow member Robin, a long time friend of our hosts, we moved about 10 blocks south for an afternoon tea with all the fixings at a private home with a truly remarkable collection of British Marine Art. Our host and hostess, Tom and Letty who contributed the complete spread of food, beautifully presented, graciously shared their knowledge and home. Their collection was wonderfully described in American Heritage Magazine and I encourage you to check out the article. Believe me, as great as the description is, to see the collection is to truly appreciate what a well intentioned and educated collector can assemble when given the opportunity. Our hosts are perhaps better described as British marine art scholars as to refer to them as just collectors doesn’t begin to do justice to their depth of knowledge. Seeing the pieces was a remarkable experience but hearing of how Tom and Letty went about assembling their collection, the thought behind each piece and why it was there, added immeasurably to the afternoon.
I have often said that I give my time to The Corinthians because of getting so many nice notes and comments I get, perhaps the best “attaboy” I have gotten so far, was the special citation from Past Master Bob Ebin with whom I have worked for the last two years, when he recognized me with a special citation award on Friday at the event, in front of all of our guests.
As if that wasn’t enough, I was stunned to be recognized with a second recognition, the “Keel Bolt” award, from the membership and awards committee for my years of work on events as well. This award has been presented yearly since 1971 and is constructed from a section of a keel bolt from the Yacht America, the yacht from which the Americas Cup was named. What a thrill it is to have a piece of history in my home for the next year and to be recognized by The Corinthians, that has been such an important group to me over the years.
After all the planning with considerable help from others there comes the inevitable “morning after” when it’s time to get back into real life. It’s a quiet Sunday at home and I will now refocus my energies on the day to day and begin to think about getting Pandora back in the water. With less than two months till splash time, there’s lots to do. Now if the snow in Annapolis will just melt.