Fortunately Angelo Petrolito, MSC Social Officer, was the man with all the answers shared the information below:
The Sail Past tradition began at the first Yacht Club, which was formed at Cowes, in England nearly 200 years ago. The membership at Cowes Yacht Club, which is now known as the Royal Yacht Squadron, was primarily aristocratic and felt a strong association with the historical naval practices.
One such practice they adopted was something they referred to as the “review of the fleet” a continuation of the naval tradition of having Admirals (and/or Royalty) review the fleet on special occasions. This tradition required that the fleet flagship be anchored with the Admiral and staff on the quarterdeck to receive and return the salute of the fleet. As each vessel sailed past the Admiral they dipping their colours in salute, and with their captain, if hatted, also saluting with the ship’s company standing at attention. The fleet, passing in review, would be led by the Vice-Admiral, and the final vessel in the line would carry the Rear-Admiral.
At MSC our tradition is almost identical, well sort of, the salute is received by the Commodore, instead of an Admiral, and our Commodore receives the salute while standing on land vs a boat because standing in dingy for a prolonged period would likely lead too a soaking wet Commodore.
Tradition, in most clubs, dictates that all Club members participate in the Sail Past, on their own or on another member’s boat. While sailing past, each boat should maintain a distance of three boat lengths from the vessel in front. Each vessel will salute when it is at two boat lengths from the Commodore’s boat (location) until past. During the Commodore's salute, the skipper faces the Commodore and returns the salute. All the crew, if possible, should stand and face the Commodore but will not themselves salute (as they likely will need to brace themselves to avoid capsizing). Sailboats will "salute" by letting fly their jibs. Once the Sail Past is completed, no ship should return to harbour ahead of the Commodore’s vessel (or until he/she steps back from his location).
What in store for MSC Sail Past on June 1st:
10:00 to 11:00
- Members decorate, rig and launch boats.
- Club will provide: Coffee, tea & donuts available
11:00 to 12:00
- Commodore piped in
- Flag hoisting ceremony
- Commodore’s address
- Blessing of the fleet
- Introduction of New members
12:00 to 13:00
- Club will provide an assortment of sandwiches and cold beverages
- Members are requested to bring Pot Luck salads, Chips, Munchies, Appetizers, Desserts.
13:00 to 13:30
- Launch Boats
13:30 to 14:00
- Sail past the Commodore
The telephone committee will be contacting members to determine attendance numbers and requesting volunteers for set-up, lay-out, clean up etc. This is a wonderful opportunity to accumulate work hours.
As usual, all family members are welcomed, as are friends interested in finding out more about MSC and sailing
Let’s hope for good weather!