Catch the seafaring spark
What: Bellingham Yacht Club's Opening Day Festivities
Where: Squalicum Harbor, Bellingham Bay
WHEN: 10:30am-4pm Sat., May 1
Wednesday, April 28, 2021
Contrary to popular belief, owning a boat is not a requirement for becoming a member of the Bellingham Yacht Club. Apparently, all that’s needed is an active interest in boating—whether your seafaring spark has to do with cruising, racing, the social aspect of the sport or maritime-focused education.
This news will come in handy for those who join the BYC for its opening day festivities Sat., May 1 at their Squalicum Harbor digs or along the shores of Bellingham Bay to watch the annual boat parade that kicks off the club’s official season. This year’s theme, “A Three-Hour Tour,” will hopefully lead to some Gilligan’s Island-inspired watercraft decorations and related costumes, so if you’re watching the action from land, consider bringing along binoculars to get a closer look at the Professor, Mary Anne, Ginger, and assorted crew members.
Bellingham Yacht Club membership isn’t required to register to add your boat to the festive fleet, but if becoming a part of a club that has been around since 1925 is something that interests you, now is probably a good time to mention that BYC is waiving its typical initiation fees through May 20 as part of a membership drive, as well as prorating annual dues for the remainder of 2021. It’s a significant savings, especially considering that the benefits include access to racing and sailing events, youth regattas and other programs, safety and educational offerings, reciprocity with other clubs, COVID-safe social activities with fellow boaters, members-only use of the Inati Bay beach facilities on Lummi Island, and more.
Saturday’s event kicks off with a members’ reception at 10:30am, followed by a public ceremony at 11:30am that will include a welcome by the BYC commodore, anthems, an intro to visiting clubs and dignitaries, a blessing of the fleet, and the raising of the flags on the mast in front of the club. Starting at 1pm, a cannon will be fired and boats taking part in the parade will make their way out of the harbor to rendezvous at the Bellingham Ferry Terminal. The route will pass by the terminal and then continue along the shore past Boulevard Park, where the best vantage points can be found.
Those who choose to make their way to the waterfront on May 1 will find additional events sponsored by the Working Waterfront Coalition of Whatcom County, and a camaraderie among those who love being near or on the water.
“After more than a year of isolation and inactivity, this opening day is especially meaningful to our members and all the boating public,” BYC Fleet Captain Jim Haines says. “Boating and the bay are essential parts of Bellingham’s character, and being outside on the water is one social activity we can all do safely as we transition back to normal.”
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