Yacht Clubs Plan Festive Opening Day

Water Ways
Honolulu Star Bulletin (01/30/99)
By Ray Pendleton

Yacht club. Doesn't that term just seem to have a rather lofty sound to it?

I suppose it's the broad A, nasal quality about it, but I've always thought that "boat club" has a much friendlier, less assuming tone. And besides, I don't know very many people - at least here in Hawai`i - that refer to their floating recreational vehicles as "yachts" anyway - even those who belong to yacht clubs.

But, nevertheless, that traditional term has been used for hundreds of years and will surely continue to be used for hundreds more.

I bring this up because this is the time of year that O`ahu's yacht clubs have their official 1999 opening day festivities, and some of them would like to invite all non-affiliated boaters to join in the fun.

And, I'm sure they would hope those folks are not put off just by the sound of their name.

Next Saturday, February 6, in the Ala Wai Boat Harbor, the Hawaii and Waikiki yacht clubs, with participation from the Pearl Harbor, Iroquois Lagoon and Pacific yacht clubs, will be hosting what may become Hawaii's largest boat parade.

"Whether you're a rag sailor, a stink-potter, an avid racer, a cruiser, into fishing, or even a canoe paddler, you should plan to take part," said parade organizer Mike Welsh.

The theme of the parade will be "A Tribute to the America's Cup," in honor of Waikiki Yacht Club's Aloha Racing Team - our state's America's Cup challenger.

Anyone with a boat is invited to dress it up by simply flying flags and banners, or take it to the limit of their imagination and create a floating float depicting anything that has to do with the historic America's Cup races.

"Considering New Zealand won the Cup with a boat called Black Magic and our Hawai`i challenger will be Abracadabra, there could be some magical themes," Welsh suggested.

"And naturally, some Hawai`i themes featuring Aloha Racing bringing the Cup to paradise would work.

"Or, even picking out one of Aloha Racing's private or corporate sponsors as a theme is a possibility," he added. "Just check out their web site for the list."

The parade will assemble in the Ala Wai turning basin at 1 p.m., in front of the Hawaii Yacht Club. From there, it will parade to Honolulu Harbor, where the boats will pass in review off Aloha Tower Marketplace's Pier Nine for their annual blessing.

The boats will also be judged for award categories such as best-dressed-theme, most nautical, most comical and best-of-parade, and then they will parade back to the Ala Wai harbor.

Prior to the parade, the day will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the Waikiki Yacht Club with a brunch that will include an up-to-the-minute report on Aloha Racing Team's boat-building project at Ko Olina and the latest news on its America's Cup challenge.

Following the parade, beginning about 3 p.m. and stretching into the evening, the Hawaii Yacht Club will host a barbecue and an awards presentation for the parade prize winners.

Anyone wishing to attend the morning brunch, and/or take part in one of Hawaii's biggest boat parades through Honolulu Harbor should call the Waikiki Yacht Club at 955-4405 for reservations and applications.

It should be quite a day. And don't let the name yacht club fool you, these folks are just as unassuming and friendly as any boat club, and trust me, they do know how to party.

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