By Capt. Carl Kelly
On January 9th at Konrad’s, according to tradition and in due order, The Sailing Association of Marco Island (SAMI) observed the 42nd change of watch.
Emcee, Don Mills, a former Commodore, noted the language of the watch and changing watch is ancient. For guard duty over a city or a nautical vessel, the day/night cycle was divided into several periods called a watch. The people on duty were also called the watch. The practice and language are used today by the military, by ocean going vessels, and by yacht and sailing clubs.
The officers of yacht and sailing clubs are called the watch and each year the election of new officers is called changing the watch. The change of watch is sometimes very solemn, but more often a time for a party.
SAMI’s change of watch began with an hour of eating hors d’oeuvres, drinking whatever and telling old sailor’s tales. During tale telling the incoming Commodore, Dave Dumas, waxed serious regarding his goals for 2012.
“Here we are on this beautiful body of water and it’s such a shame that so few people really go out and enjoy it.” He spoke of younger people with families who have come to this area for work, noting that he’d like somehow to connect with them and help them experience sailing here.
After supper Don Mills opened the change of watch ceremony and chose not to roast the outgoing Commodore, Barbara Fleischer, as he has done in previous years. He also noted that he would not do any music. The whole SAMI group applauded. The more serious business of the club included the traditional exchange of Commodore and other officers’ flags and stars from the 2011 bridge to the 2012.
In passing the responsibility of Commodore from herself to Commodore Sumas, Barbara Fleischer said, “Holding a position on this bridge is best accomplished as a team effort,” a comment that served as a thank you to the whole club and a goal for the coming year.
The 2012 SAMI officers are Dave Dumas, Commodore, MaryLee Cale, Vice Commodore, John Weston, Rear Commodore, John Harkless, Fleet Captain, Neva Nolan, Secretary, and Nancy Meyer, Treasurer.