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January 2016 Starting a New Year

 

Hello Corinthians and Friends,

Here we are in the heart of winter in Florida. Although it’s been a little chilly on some days this January, considering the alternative, it’s not bad. Rather than contemplating such things I’ve chosen to focus on the coming months during which the fun and frolic on the water and off will continue for us at Stuart Corinthian Yacht Club.

We round out this first month of the year with our annual Italian Night on the 23. Real Italian, from the hearts and minds of real Italians (well most of them) and what a night we enjoyed. Gourmet treats on a chilly night that provided comfort for the hearty, even here in Paradise.

Next weekend our Fleet Captain and Mate will lead us on a short cruise to the new Ft. Pierce City Marina. He was only able to put together 22 boats for this one and three are still on the wait list for slips. No worries crews, Jack will provide! Docktails Friday and Saturday night including a group dinner later on Saturday night. I can’t wait for February and March!

Speaking of February, how about Mardi Gras Madness to start the month. Next our Membership Chair and crew will host a Friday Open House to see if there are still any fun-loving people out there who don’t belong to SCYC. If so, we’re as close as your phone.

A Nautical Tradition in Stuart takes place every February. That would be the annual Blessing of the Fleet when more than 10 yachting organizations gather on the North Fork of the St. Lucie River with official representatives of each faith on a committee boat who bless each boat as they pass by. Non-boaters in SCYC are always welcome on Club boats so that no one is left out of the fun. This event is then followed by another very “Yachty” affair; our annual Change of Watch that takes place on the last Saturday of February. The new Officers and Board of Directors are formally presented to the Membership during a ceremony where each is presented the flag attendant to his or her Club position. The ceremony is then followed by dinner and dancing.

Whew, how to keep up! We start March with a member wedding and reception that is sure to be a great affair. That’s followed by a 9 day cruise to St. Augustine led by our Vice Commodore and Mate with exciting intermediate stops on the way and the return. Many of our non-boaters are sure to meet us in this historic city and spend a weekend in local B and Bs.

The Fleet will return in plenty of time to enjoy Hot Havana Nights in a “way it was” atmosphere. Hope you can all join us in the frivolity.

Chuck


Cruise to Vero Beach & Indian Harbor Beach

SCYC October Cruise
Stuart, Vero Beach and Indian Harbor Beach

On Friday, October 9th, 2015 a smaller than normal fleet of Stuart Corinthian Yacht Club boats numbering just five departed Stuart via the Intracoastal Waterway for Vero Beach and the Loggerhead Marina arriving before noon. The size of the fleet was restricted due to difficulty reserving slips over the busy Columbus Day weekend. Long a favorite stop for SCYC cruisers, Loggerhead offers a delightful pool area, floating docks and a Captains Lounge that can be reserved for dining. The short distance makes for the start of a very relaxed weekend.

As the group arrived and boats were secured all went about the tasks that are part of cruising. Engine room checks, maybe a quick wash-down and putting up sun shades over the cockpit. Then, it’s grab a cool drink and head to the pool for the typical conversation and stories with friends. As the afternoon sun bore down on the group, several returned to their boats for a nap in preparation for cocktails at 5 PM in the lounge. Cocktails were followed by eating steaks, chicken or whatever, cooked on the grills in the pool area. This was in addition to a variety of selections provided by each crew for the pot luck dinner. A busy day means an early end to a great day of cruising and conviviality.

Saturday morning we were again up and ready for departure at 9 AM. The ride to the Eau Gallie Yacht Club in Indian Harbor Beach between the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean was again delightful. Light winds and clear skies again meant an arrival before noon. The same routine applied at Eau Gallie as the prior day. Eau Gallie provided a very large pool with a restaurant and bar adjoining where several enjoyed lunch and a drink. Relaxation, whether at the pool or on a boat reading, was the byword for the remainder of the day. All met at the Yacht Club lounge at 6 PM for cocktails followed by dinner including excellent food and very good service.

After dinner a hearty group caught a cab and proceeded to Lou’s Blues, a local bar with great, loud music and a questionable reputation. Both went together to provide a fun ending to another memorable day on the water.

If it seems that eating and liquid refreshment is a large part of the activities enjoyed on SCYC cruises then you haven’t participated in a Club cruise. The real fun is the association between members and getting to know each other better. Even so, Sunday broke with clear skies and delightful late summer temperatures just so that we could enjoy the unbelievable Eau Gallie Sunday Brunch. Seafood, carving table with beef or ham, any kind of eggs or omelet, fresh fruit, pastries and delectable deserts all for the taking without limit. Too much for most humans to handle but we survived and happily paid the $17 per person tab. Incredible!

Sunday evening brought a gorgeous sunset while all 14 cruisers met for cocktails aboard Tartan, our lead boat. The group had brought along our personal troubadour and Paul treated us to his guitar and repertoire of seafaring and cruising songs. As the cocktail hour progressed toward evening several Eau Gallie Yacht Club members migrated from the pool or restaurant to Tartan in order to enjoy the music and singing or maybe get a refill of their chosen refreshment. The crews agreed that such days are what cruising is all about at Stuart Corinthian.

Monday again brought excellent weather for the trip back to Stuart. All arrived safely and agreed that we are indeed fortunate to enjoy the friendship of our fellow members and these delightful days on the waters of Florida. This was a great example of the Yachting Traditions at SCYC.


The Viking Rhine River Cruise

The Viking Rhine River Cruise

Cher Foth

 

We Corinthians are never still. Loading our boats we cruise the Florida coasts–North to South, East to West–island hopping in between. But this time we flew over an ocean to our destination, Basil, Switzerland, and the starting point of our Viking River Cruise.

 

Twelve couples arrived just in time for a buffet lunch on board the Kvasir. We stowed our baggage and hoped we had packed the right clothes for the predicted temperatures. But, alas, the fickle weather turned warm and some of us had to buy extra shorts or repurpose the bathroom sink into a washing machine.

 

As we snaked our way along the Rhine River, we glided by the medieval towns dotting the banks passing through parts of four countries in one week: Switzerland, Germany, France, and The Netherlands. Our first docking was in Breisach, Germany where we traveled by bus into the Black Forest. And the forest isn’t black, but covered with evergreens where the fairy tales of Hansel and Gretel and Little Red Riding Hood were born. We learned how cuckoo clocks are made and watched demonstrations on baking a Black Forest Cake–samples passed around. Some took the World War II tour visiting the sites and museum in Colmar.

 

Arriving early the next morning in Strasbourg, we piled into buses for different destinations of a city tour, wine tasting and winery tour, and the Mercedes Factory. Needless to say, the factory excursion was quite popular with the men offering a unique and fascinating opportunity to witness state of the art automobile manufacturing. It was the highlight of the cruise for many.

 

Germany is famous for its castles and our next stop was Worms and a tour of the Heidelberg Castle, a lovely ruin surrounded by green woods, sitting high above the city seeming to float among the clouds. It was abandoned over 300 years ago and still houses the world’s largest wine barrel made from 130 oak trees once holding 50,000 gallons of wine. While we were at the castle, the Kvasir cast off to pick up the group at Mainz. Then, after lunch, moved again to Rudesheim where we finally roosted for the night. Many of us boarded a mini-train for dinner and entertainment at the Rudesheim Schloss located on the Drosselgasse. The energy of the oom-pah-pah band encouraged some of our group to throw inhibitions aside and simultaneously down shots of schnapps without spilling a drop. After this rowdy dinner we returned to the ship in time for a glassblowing demonstration. The fun never stopped!

 

At the junction of the Rhine and Mosel, lies Koblenz, another (surprise!) Roman settlement. We wasted no time piling on the buses again for a visit to the Marksburg Castle, headquarters of the German Castle Association which protects and preserves castles and stately homes. Walking through the gates and over the drawbridge of this 700 year old structure, we realized this was a castle of fortification and protection, not a princely palace. We visited the bed chamber, kitchen, wine cellar, and the armory featuring over 2000 years of weaponry and amour. The requisite torture chamber and privy drew the most interest. The privy contained an outhouse type of seat and hung from the side of the castle wall over the grounds. It also posed a threat to the safety of the inhabitants with sneaky alien soldiers able to climb up through the hole into the castle. To thwart this maneuver the privy door was always bolted shut from the outside. The guide also told us that, when in use, the door was left open so the occupant inside wouldn’t miss any of the dinner conversation.

 

The Romans established a major settlement in Cologne and their stamp is everywhere. Some visited the Roman Germanic Museum where the centerpiece of its collection is the 220 AD Dionysus Mosiac, a floor in amazing condition discovered in 1941 by workers building an air raid shelter. Great treasures are often discovered with the turn of a shovel. Of course the greatest treasure is the Cologne Cathedral, a gothic masterpiece taking six centuries to build. The massive interior, capably seating 20,000 worshippers, was illuminated with candles and streams of light filtering through the stained glass windows. It is a World Heritage Site and houses the shrine of the three wise men. Outside, flanking the cathedral is a large work pit where the stone masons are kept busy with continual repairs and renovations.

 

Another treasure was the discovery of the world’s oldest fragrance company. Over 300 years ago, Italian perfumer, John Maria Farina, created the first modern perfume which reminded him of an Italian spring morning after the rain. The shop was adorable and bustling with shoppers. There was a list of previous buyers including Queen Victoria, Voltaire, Mozart, Napoleon, Mark Twain, Princess Diana, and Bill Clinton. With those recommendations, we knew we had to buy a few bottles.

 

Our last port of call before disembarking in Amsterdam was Kinderdijk, land of the windmills. The day was full with tours of the windmills, an excursion to a Dutch cheese maker, and a Dutch Masters presentation in the ship’s lounge–with a farewell dinner to top it all off. From the ship we could see the flat landscape dotted with these “ground sailors” lined up along the canals. They’re still used to pump the contained water, held in by dykes, into the reservoirs. Built from brick, their large slow turning sails come within one foot off the ground, a testament to Dutch ingenuity.

 

All too soon we arrived in Amsterdam and the rush to collect baggage and a mad dash to airports or other destinations. We came away with “camaraderie” on our lips–surely that was the best thing about our cruise–the strengthening of friendships and bonds. We had a lot of laughs, many toasts with glasses filled with fine regional wines, and a few blisters on our feet. We talked excitedly about where our next adventure might be–the Royal Clipper in the Med or maybe Cuba. But we’re a travelin’ bunch with itchy feet. I know it won’t be long till those feet begin to itch again telling us it’s time to get movin’. There is no doubt we will.


The Abacos Cruise 2015

So it’s summertime at Stuart Corinthian Yacht Club and one of our favorite hot weather things to do is head to the Islands. Last Wednesday 7 boats with 18 members aboard set out for a two week trip to the Abacos. We spent the first two nights at Old Bahama Bay on West End. We met up with 10 other members who were there passing through from one direction or another. It sounded like a great excuse for a party so we set up a beachside dinner under the Tiki Hut (see our Facebook page for pics).

There were lots of Goombay Smashes and lots of laughs. There was even an impromptu Conch Shell blowing contest. I was gifted my own shell and instructed to blow. I definitely need to practice this art; I was put to shame by another member who is quite talented with this particular instrument. The next morning we set out on a gorgeous morning for Green Turtle. The day was clear and the seas were calm. After settling into our slips we had some friends aboard for an afternoon chat when we heard a loud bellowing sound. Soon we realized it was the champion conch blower challenging me from her boat. Never one to dismiss a challenge, I grabbed my shell, stood proudly on my boat and gave it everything I had. While I’m sorry to report that I was still outdone by my fellow Corinthian, my skills are improving and I still have many days of the trip left to hone my talent. Today I will lead my group over to Guana Cay where we settle in for a few days of Island living and of course the party at Nippers tomorrow. Until next time……the Captain