Port Washington Yacht Club Blesses the Fleet

The Blessing of the Fleet is a centuries old tradition that began in Mediterranean fishing communities. Immigrants brought the event to the US and the Port Washington Yacht Club has held the Blessing of the Fleet every season for the past 110 years. image: bridget shirvell
The Port Washington Yacht Club Blessing of the Fleet begins with boats lining up at the end of the bay in order of seniority with the launch boat first, followed by the Commodore and flag officers. image: bridget shirvell
After lining up boats proceed past the end of the main pier for the blessing. image: bridget shirvell
The practice of a blessing from a local priest was meant to ensure a safe and bountiful season. According to tradition participation in the Blessing of the Fleet assures cruisers of fair weather and safer passage and races of success on the racecourse. Some say it’s mere superstition but the tradition continues to this day. image: bridget shirvell
When passing the main pier those onboard the boat dip their flag and salute the Commodore while the priest offers the blessing of the vessel. image: bridget shirvell
After receiving the blessing, the Fantasea returns it’s flag to it’s post. image: bridget shirvell
Captain Al Albrecht and his passengers aboard the Avalanche await the blessing
Dipping the flag at the 2015 Port Washington Yacht Club Blessing of the Fleet. image: bridget shirvell
Minister Steven Pierce center blesses one of the boats. image: bridget shirvell
Some legends say the Blessing of the Fleet goes back to Greek fishermen. Another says the tradition of asking clergy to bless boats and their crews began in Sicily after some fishermen were saved from certain death in a storm. image: bridget shirvell.
Following the Blessing of the Fleet members gather for cocktails and barbecue. (L-R) Kathy Boulukos, Former Commodore Geroge Boulukos, Minister Steven Pierce. image: bridget shirvell

Members of the Port Washington Yacht Club gathered their boats in the bay for the 110th Blessing of the Fleet on a sunny but blustery June afternoon. Minister Dr. Steven D. Pierce of the Community Reformed Church stood on the end of the yacht club dock blessing each of the boats and their passengers as the procession passed by. The centuries-old tradition ensures a safe and bountiful season on the water.