MARCO ISLAND — The Marco Island Yacht Club has a new bridge. This does not refer just to the recently opened second span of the Jolley Bridge, which spans the Marco River adjacent to the MIYC’s headquarters.
In naval parlance, the bridge is the slate of officers commanding, although it would take a good-sized vessel to accommodate all of the white hats running the yacht club. Saturday evening, the MIYC held the Commodore’s Ball, to celebrate the installation of new officers, and thank the outgoing contingent.
Further confusing things, this occasion is known as a “change of watch,” which has nothing to do with Daylight Savings Time.
“This changing of the guard is the most significant ceremony sponsored by the club all year,” said MIYC spokesperson Laverne Davy. The new Commodore of the club is Capt. Stuart Curtis, who replaces 2011 Commodore, Capt. Frank Rinker. Rinker now joins the ranks of Past Commodores, becoming the 10th to attain emeritus status.
“I am honored and grateful for having been Commodore of the Marco Island Yacht Club during 2011. I am pleased to pass the Commodore’s flag over to our incoming Commodore, Stuart Curtis,” said Rinker.
Resplendent in their blue blazers and white caps, the officers met, as stated in the program, at 18:00 hours for cocktails, before the welcome and invocation at 19:00 hours. For you landlubbers, that’s six o’clock and seven o’clock in the evening.
As the members gathered on the terrace outside the bar downstairs, they watched a ketch motorsailer approach the yacht basin, gliding in until it came to an abrupt stop on running aground, with the tide not fully out.
“I’ve been aground several times myself at that spot myself,” said Rinker, who is captain of the “Barefoot Contessa,” a 47-ft. Catalina sloop. “I wish we could get someone to dredge that for us. We’ve got six feet of water at a zero tide, but with a negative tide, it can get down to five feet.”
Adding insult to injury, the considerably longer Marco Island Princess ghosted out next to the unfortunate ketch, who was not a local, or at least not a member, the officers said.
In addition to Commodore Curtis, the additional 2012 bridge and officers installed on Saturday include Vice Commodore Jim Marr, Rear Commodore Russ Rath, Extended Cruise Fleet Captain Lee Harkness, Day Cruise Fleet Captain Jim Ferry, Sailing Fleet Captain Lois Dixon, Port Captain Kathy Hershberger, Safety & Training Officer Earl Meier, FCYC Director Gary Riss, and alternate FCYC Director Torben Christensen. Harkness, Dixon, Meier, Riss, and Christensen have a headstart on learning their duties, as they filled the same slots in 2011.
Past Commodore Dean Heard instructed an outsider on the significance of the various insignia on the emblem worn on the breast of the officers’ blazers. The commodore gets three stars, the vice commodore two, and the rear commodore one. Gold stars indicate a currently serving officer, while silver stars denote a former commodore.
Of course, the real power at the MIYC may be held by Chairman of the Board Vicki Brethauer.
“One does the bridge, and one does the books,” said her husband Neil. “And on our boat, I’m the captain, but she’s the admiral.”