Members gather for ceremonial opening, replete with cannon blasts
By Alison Rooney
In a ceremony heralding summer and its pleasures, members of the Garrison Yacht Club gathered there on Sunday morning, June 8, for Commissioning Day, an official start to the boating season. The fanfare was punctuated by emphatic blasts from two dockside cannons.
Fleet Captain Nathan Smith welcomed those assembled, before Eugenia Copeland sang The Star-Spangled Banner. At its conclusion, flags, including a red, white and black “burgee” [by definition “a flag bearing the colors or emblem of a sailing club, typically triangular”] featuring a sturgeon were raised, as Smith proclaimed: “I hereby announce Garrison Yacht Club is in commission for the year 2014.” Smith noted that Martin Faherty, past commander of the Peekskill Squadron and Steve Leardi, of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, were in attendance.
Leardi then read an invocation:
Let us pray.
Oh, all you powers, spirits, and mysterious creative forces, sometimes called Almighty God, you hold dominion over air and wind and rain and water, and to you alone are the mysteries of the sea revealed.
We pray that you will grant safety and success to these vessels, and to the mariners who pilot them.
When storms blow, please hold us in your protective hand and guide us to safe harbor.
Between the storms, help us enjoy our world by making the seas calm and the wind blow at our backs, and fill us with appreciation for the wonders of your creation.
At all times, give us the wisdom to respect and appreciate the mighty Hudson River, its waters, its people, plants and animals, and its valley.
We ask you these things with humble respect for your higher powers.
Neil Bloch, the club’s current commodore, then acknowledged others, including Fleet Captain Smith, Secretary Jason Heim and Treasurer Xavier Macias as well as trustees Jeff Cunningham and Leardi. He then said “It wouldn’t be complete without introducing Martin Faherty, who has been indispensible with protocol and historical issues.” Three new members, Matt McMahon, John Scanga and Tom Shortell were named.
Bloch concluded his remarks noting: “This is a working club, a volunteer club. You all volunteer to keep this place clean and running smoothly. Finally, I would like to thank two people for their selfless commitment to the club, in many different aspects over the years. Once the barge and tug leave we will be installing a plaque. Martin and Barbara Faherty, you’ve been invaluable to the club.”
With that, Smith named the club’s past commodores in attendance: Martin Faherty, Ed Finnerty, Brian Peyton, Rob Harnett, and Will Faherty. He then proclaimed: “Have a great boating season,” after which the members adjourned to the covered dock for refreshments and camaraderie.
The Garrison Yacht Club was founded in 1983. In total it is 56 years old. It is the only deep-water facility north of Haverstraw and south of Newburgh. They currently have 33 slips and a mooring field, capable of accommodating boats up to 65 feet.