Many of the traditions of yachting come from our links to the naval past of the sport. Sailpast celebrates the opening of the sailing season and is a parade of boats past the Commodore’s boat.

Only the Commodore’s boat, which is at anchor in a location to allow for the best line of sail for participants, is dressed for the occasion. Participating boats fly only their flag officer’s burgee or club burgee plus the Canadian ensign. Only the jib and main are flown, but auxiliary power may be used to maintain station and safety. If there is no wind, dinghies may be towed.

Participating crews dress up for the occasion and make sure their boats are in shipshape condition, no fenders or lines trailing, no towed dinghy. White slacks or skirts with a white or blue shirt or blouse, and an optional blazer are preferred. Clothing with the club blazer or hat badge is ideal. Ties and caps are optional.

Since you are saluting the office of the Commodore and not the Commodore personally, a hand salute is not appropriate for participating skippers and crew. Instead, simply show your respect by dipping or clasping the Canadian ensign at the stern and releasing it after the Commodore acknowledges your salute. The skipper and crew face the Commodore’s boat at attention with headgear doffed. Boats without ensigns salute by luffing their jib.

The Commodore, who should always be wearing a hat when saluting, in the naval tradition, acknowledges your boat in return with a smart hand salute.

Other boats may join the parade and HCYC has a tradition of inclusiveness by welcoming non-member boats from the marina and members of the Toronto Island Sailing Club, whose Commodore is also invited to join the Commodore’s boat and take their own salute, along with past Commodores of HCYC.

At a traditional skippers’ meeting before the event, usually on the Upper Deck, a lead boat is designated for all to follow. Then boats proceed in order of size, with larger sail boats first, dinghies next and power boats in the van. If one class of boat belongs to another club sharing our sailpast, they may elect to parade immediately before or immediately after HCYC members, to be decided at the skippers’ meeting. A VHF channel will be selected for safety and emergency issues.

Again, depending on the weather, the sailpast starts at the designated hour and afterwards members repair to the clubhouse for the Commodore’s Reception.

Once the participant’s boats are docked it is traditional to dress the fleet by either flying signal flags from the bow to the masthead and down to the stern, or by flying race and cruising award flags. All flags are dropped at sundown, according to naval protocol.

At the Commodore’s Reception, the Wind Gypsy Trophy (donated by Marcia Fraser, a past Commodore, whose boat was Wind Gypsy) will be presented to the skipper exhibiting best skills at the helm, as well as having a well turned out boat and crew.

Rev: January 1, 2009