The first thing to know is that Opening Day is an entire weekend of celebration starting with Friday, May 3rd. That’s the day boat skippers and their crews decorate their boats according to the theme. Each year the commodore has the honor of selecting the theme; Commodore Jody has selected —Derby Days (think “Run for the Roses” and “Kentucky Derby”)! Naturally, all this decorating leads to thirsty and hungry boaters. If the weather is not so great, Members make their way to the BYC lounge with food and to take advantage of the BYC great Bar deals. This particular Friday, Jim Santosuosso has invited the entire club to celebrate Angie’s 50th birthday. He is grilling up something sumptuous on the grill so bring an appetizers or a side dish and help us celebrate!! But no matter the weather, after the sun goes down Members make their way back to the BYC watering hole and join the party.

Also on Friday, the boats of the Officers of the Bridge and Trustees and Members who have made previous arrangements with Tim Mumford, this year’s Opening Day Dock Master, ( move their boats to the BYC Dock for decorating. Many BYCers sleep overnight on their boats on Friday and Saturday evenings. Some Members consider this THE start of the Party! Oh, and The Dead Pirates raise their flags; in fact, all boats fly every flag, burgee, or hankie possible!

On Saturday morning, put the final touches on your boats decorations before heading to the BYC Clubhouse at 10:30. If you own nautical/traditional boating attire, wear it today. Bring out those jaunty ties, sailor tops, anchor-inspired bling, navy slacks, and those Topsiders that were replaced with Keens. Spruce up and attend the Champagne Reception for BYC Members and their Families only that starts at 10:30 a.m. For those who need it, coffee will be available.

At High Noon the public is invited to attend the BYC Traditional Opening Day Ceremony. The ceremony begins with the national anthems, official welcomes, flag raising, Blessing of the Fleet by Bishop Kevin, and other nautical traditions. The BYC Fleet Captain organizes the Opening Day Celebration and Ceremony; this year’s Fleet Captain is Mick Corcoran.

“Boats Away” is announced immediately after the ceremony. Everyone competing scrambles to change out of their fancy nautical duds and into their costumes (yes, costumes), if any, and head to their boats. Leaving the harbor, all boats rendezvous at the Bellingham Ferry Terminal for the parade. Boats fall in line following Vice Commodore’s boat, which leads the parade. This year, Rear Commodore Jonathan Knowles will lead, aboard Rocinante. The boats make two circuits from the terminal to the Review Boat. Past Commodore Troy & Cori Curran are hosting the review judges on their S/V Typhoon. After two passes, the parade boats peeling off from formation to return to the Club for the “open boats” dockside hospitality and Club events.

The Derby Days Party begins at 3 p.m. There will be a decorated hat contest with awesome prizes. Come prepared to party. DON’T FORGET: You must bring your BYC Membership card and wear your name tag at all times. Your guests must be registered under your name and wear a name tag–at all times. This is one of the few times when the rule will be adhered to strictly.

Dance to the live music of “The Atlantics” at 5 p.m. The Dead Pirates Society will be manning the grill, and there will be Drink Specials at the BYC Bar. I’d suspect that there will be BBQ, Mint Juleps, Bourbon and Beer available at this year’s festivities. Late night games of Liar’s Poker, cribbage, and others are likely to ensue.

On Sunday morning, you will find many of your fellow BYCers at the Web Locker or Jalenpenos having breakfast, perhaps accompanied with a bit of “hair of the dog.” Yeah, it’s true: Members tend to hang on like lizards on the boats –especially if the sun is shining, but eventually the BYC dock begins to clear…Boating Season has officially begun!

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