MARCO ISLAND — Friday evening, the Marco Island Yacht Club forgot about cruisin’ and focused on boozin’ and schmoozin,’ for their 10th Annual Dog Days dinner dance. Millions of dollars worth of yachts sat idle outside, as the club members, guests and reciprocals from other area clubs – the ones still in town for the summer, that is – got together to beat the heat.
Handed lemons, in the form of an unrelenting, months-long heat wave, MIYC elected to make lemonade, getting together to celebrate the annual summer doldrums. That was the inspiration for the event 10 years ago, said Ken Pagach, who dreamed up the soiree 10 years ago.
“I was the day cruise captain for the club, looking for places to go,” he said. “It was hot and muggy then, just like it is now, so I fell back on the old phrase ‘Let’s have a party.’ ”
Pagach said in addition to serving as day cruise captain, he was a former board member and chairman of the bylaws committee. Capt. Rudi Landwaard, standing next to him, interjected “we’re going to ask him to do something again.”
“And the answer is no,” replied Pagach. Landwaard, captain by virtue of having completed the Coast Guard captain’s examination, is captain of his own vessel, a 31 ft. Tiara named “Sweet Lips.”
“I get a lot of questions about it in Key West,” he said, “but it was my granddaughter Lindsay who named it.”
Lee and Dorothy Harkness, captain and first mate of a 38 ft. Sea Ray Sundancer named “Zephyr V,” haven’t let the hot weather keep them off the water. The couple just returned from a two-week cruise that took them to South Seas Plantation on Captiva, Fisherman’s Village in Punta Gorda, Boca Grande and the Caloosahatchie River.
Frank Rinker, commodore and chairman of the board for MIYC, said they will be glad when the bridge construction right outside their drive is complete.
“Someone told me today, they were trying to turn in, but went right on by, and ended up on the other side of the bridge,” he said. Along with the other club officers, he passed on the opportunity to wear his dress whites for the event. “Ken didn’t think that fit with the dog days theme,” Rinker said.
Laverne Davy, publicity chair for MIYC, said the event is a great way for those still on Marco for the summer to connect with their fellow members.
“Look around,” she said. “Everyone’s having fun.”