OCEANSIDE — A boat parade, Opening Day ceremonies, and the call that the harbor is free of ice, officially opened boating season at the Oceanside Yacht Club on April 11.
The tradition has been carried on for 47 years in Oceanside and goes back to the 1920s in yacht clubs in New York. “It started on the East Coast to celebrate the start of yachting season,” Terri Manok, Oceanside Yacht Club junior staff commodore, said. “Historically, because of bad weather, snow and ice, boats were taken out of the water. In March and April boats go back in the water for opening day.”
In California there is boating year-round, still Opening Day marks the start of yachting and boating season when more boaters enjoy the water. “The tradition is good to come back to every year,” Slater McArdle, junior secretary and treasurer for the junior officers, said.
Festivities at Oceanside Yacht Club began with a parade of more than a dozen boats regaled with nautical flags and champagne bottles hanging from the bows. Sailboats and motorboats competed for best-dressed boat. Judges looked for flags displayed in the proper order, and checked that crews were dressed in traditional blue blazers and white slacks and give an expected salute.
“There’s different categories,” Rocket Buchanan, a parade judge, said. “There’s signal flags bow to stern, they have to be in a certain order. Everybody on board has to be dressed in blues. They have to salute and they should dip their burgee as they come by the judging boat.”
While the judging is specific, the competition for best-dressed boat is all in good fun. “Some are just in it for the fun of getting in the parade, some are in it to win it,” Buchanan said. “It’s a fun time to come out and show off your boat.”
An awards ceremony at the yacht club followed the parade to recognize military, dignitaries and visiting yacht club members in attendance and give awards for boat upkeep, club service and sailing skills. Terri Manok was awarded the Yacht Racing Union of Southern California Yachtswoman Excellence Award.
Albert Kapitanski carried on the tradition of his late father Alex Kapitanski and displayed dozens of U.S. flags at the ceremony.
See video from Opening Day at www.coastnewsgroup.com.