Issue: July 2005
Waving the Flag

The National Potomac Yacht Club flag raising ceremony goes off without a hitch.


     They couldn’t have asked for a nicer day. A crisp wind blew over the Pentagon Lagoon, early spring blossoms snapped with color, and the predicted rain showers had vanished, literally, from the radar screen as members of the National Potomac Yacht Club (NPYC) gathered on the grassy slope of the Columbia Island Marina for their annual flag raising and season-opening cookout. With everyone at attention, the U.S. Coast Guard Color Guard removed the old Old Glory and the club’s faded burgee from their halyards and snapped new ones in place. Cannons fired, the national anthem drifted through the air and the colors rose slowly to the top of the marina’s flag pole.

     The time-honored ceremony, repeated on hundreds of marina and yacht club lawns around the Bay, stems from some ancient and venerable custom, I’m sure, but at this time in this place it adds panache to the official opening of the boating season. Speeches, of course, are de rigeur, and NPYC Commodore Pat Boyd gave a particularly nice one, the sentiments of which echo resoundingly throughout the Bay area. “The members of the National Potomac Yacht Club are accomplished in their professions and have earned their way in life,” he began. “But still, we’re really a lucky bunch of people. . . . We all know the proverbial two best days in a boater’s life, but that time in between is really what counts. The joy of motion through the water; the different view of familiar places from the river; the pleasure of sitting on deck floating at the slip; and very importantly, the social bonds that seem to form more easily on a dock than just about anywhere else. We’re lucky to have this club that is energized by our dockside friendships and exists to provide us with good companionship and good times. The luckiest of the lucky are those who have time to go on our long cruise and enjoy the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay, arguably the best cruising area in the U.S.A.”

     Change a word here and there, and you’ve summed up the boating experience for just about anyone on the Bay. Long may our flags fly.