By: Fay Powell – WAYC Chairwoman
Recently, I took a trip to Maryland with a couple of Arizona Yacht Club burgees in tow. My hopes were to exchange with at least one yacht club while seeing family back east.
When visiting, I typically stay in a place called Solomons Island. It’s a fantastic spot nestled on the Chesapeake Bay with Maritime Museums, a sailing association, and plenty of crab to go around. The scenery is absolutely picturesque complete with hundreds of masts in the air. It seems like no matter which direction you turn; there is sailing.
What would a sailing community be without a yacht club? The Solomons Island Yacht Club is nicknamed the friendliest club on the bay; I assure you they live up to their name.
As I approached the door, I noticed a members-only sign. I didn’t know if it was a Catalina Yacht Club situation where it’s an actual private club or if they provide reciprocal privileges. I nervously walked in to find a split-level floor plan – upstairs, a view of the Chesapeake, and downstairs a bustling bar filled with yachties.
I asked the bartender if they allowed reciprocals, and she immediately found the Commodore. The Commodore, Greg Wanamaker, signed me into the guestbook and was excited to introduce me to club members and exchange burgees. He told me that they were going for the Guinness Book of world records and currently had 509. They even have someone on their board who oversees the burgee collection.
The folks found it hard to believe there was a community of sailors, let alone a yacht club in Arizona. The questions were endless: What kind of boat do you have? How many members are there? How big is Lake Pleasant? Tempe Town Lake is just a river! After showing a few pictures and exchanging stories, they finally believed me.
A couple of Dark and Stormy‘s and fish tacos later, I headed down to the dock with the Commodore and other board members for the exchange. The Arizona Yacht Club burgee was added to the roster making their collection a nice round 510!
Post-exchange, I made some more friends and learned about the island. I was invited to home crab boils, tours of the bay by boat, and to come back and visit anytime.
Anyone in southern Maryland should check out this fabulous club and its wonderful, friendly members. I know I’ll be back.
Anchors up & full sails,
Fay Powell – WAYC Chairwoman