PT blesses the fleet at opening day parade

Posted 5/8/19

As always, the first Saturday in May marked the official start of boating season, and while the Seattle Yacht Club’s opening day parade has become one of the largest in the nation, the Port Townsend Yacht Club made sure its maritime community got its chance to shine May 4.

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PT blesses the fleet at opening day parade

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As always, the first Saturday in May marked the official start of boating season, and while the Seattle Yacht Club’s opening day parade has become one of the largest in the nation, the Port Townsend Yacht Club made sure its maritime community got its chance to shine May 4.

Posted on the end of the Northwest Maritime Center Pier, Port Townsend Yacht Club member Charlene Quandt reported this year’s opening day parade drew 45 vessels, the event’s largest turnout yet. “In previous years, we’ve gotten as many as 35,” Quandt said.

From schooners to sloops, from yachts to cutters, and from tugboats to rowboats, the armada of boats that sailed past the pier was impressive in its diversity, although one common denominator of many crews drew laughter when event emcee Jake Beattie pointed out that almost every boat had a past commodore of the Port Townsend Yacht Club among its crew.

On a more serious note, Beattie, who serves as executive director of the Northwest Maritime Center, touted the opening day parade as yet another example of the importance of boating and the maritime industry to the local community.

“One-fifth of all the jobs in this area are supported by the maritime industry,” Beattie said, citing a statistic that would be echoed by Port Townsend Mayor Deborah Stinson minutes later.

Given the number of boats that have already been on the water “since February,” according to Beattie, he asked Stinson to issue a pardon to those boaters who ventured out before opening day.

“I’m not sure it’s necessary, but they are very much allowed,” Stinson said. Opening Day traditions are “a big part of who and what Port Townsend is. We carry the maritime heritage of the Puget Sound and the Salish Sea,” she said. “Our boaters bring out these beautiful boats of every type, just so we can watch them go by, and I have to thank our yacht club for making this possible.”

Rev. Kate Lore, of the Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, performed the blessing of the fleet at the close of the ceremony, calling on the boaters to “always treat creation with respect,” even as she requested that their creator “always return them safely to port.”

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