Changes of Watch


Every year since the beginning of time, the club held a Change of Watch dinner in either December or January. The event is usually held on a Saturday night and is more festive than a regular monthly meeting. Silver is presented to the winners of the season’s races. The Stan Birnbaum Trophy and the other recognition trophies are presented by the outgoing Fleet Captain. Occasionally, gag awards are handed out to folks who were either naughty, did something stupid, or in general, screwed up. The new board is then introduced to the gathering and the outgoing Commodore passes the gavel to the incoming Commodore. These events have been held at various venues around New York.


On regular weekends, the club runs Mini-Rendezvous. Some typical events are:

The Annual Great Greasy Spoon Regatta, with Sound Sailing Club, was started in July 1984, and there have been attempts to have one every year since. There is a scraggly race of sorts, and weird awards are given out to the winners and/or participants. Originally run by Bob Stryker on his gorgeous old wooden boat WHITE WINGS, it is always an unusual event.

In 1981 and 1983, Sally Small organized trips to Steppingstone Park to see the New York Gilbert and Sullivan productions of “Pirates of Penzance” (1981) and “Mikado” (1983). The boats anchored out, dinked ashore and listened to the strains of G&S. For the “Pirates” event, Carol Ann Sacha Martin made pirates flags for all participating boats.




Dean Fuller always said that if a sailor tells you he’s never been aground, either he doesn’t sail much, or he’s a good liar, because eventually everyone goes aground.

It usually pays to plan ahead, i.e. check the charts and/or tide tables. During one Halloween Mini-Rendezvous, Jack Brown arrived on NAUTI-LASS in Manhasset Bay first, and put down the hook. The other boats rafted up and had a jolly ol’ time. When it came time to break up the raft, the other boats slowly dropped off. When Jack tried to pull up his anchor, he found he was hard aground (low tide had sneaked in), and had to wait for high tide to get home. (Is that depth sounder merely decorative?)

Going aground in Manhasset is not a difficult thing to do. One time NYSC member Andy Pometti was at Louie’s Dock for dinner. Pometti’s 22′ boat was a Pearson Electra – which drew only 3′. After a leisurely dinner and numerous drinks, Andy and the gang emerged and wanted to “show their stuff” and sail off the dock. Up went the sails, tighten the sheets, let loose the docking lines. The boat heeled over nicely, but sat right where it was. Hard Aground. Down came the sails, back went the docking lines, and the crew staggered up into Louie’s for more imbibing until a higher tide came. Never missed a beat.


In July 1992 there was an Op Sail Parade to honor Columbus’s discovery of America. The parade went past a viewing stand consisting of the NINA, PINTA & SANTA MARIA, after ghosting along in the fog from Sandy Hook, N.J. Several lucky NYSC members got to go on the Russian Tall Ship SEDOV (the largest sailing ship in the world at 392′). It was mysterious and exhilarating to see only the masts and sails of Tall Ships ghosting along under the Verrazano Bridge, reminiscent of days gone by.

In July 1992, NYSC participated in Sealegs – the Handicapped Sailing Experience. It was a fund raiser to help support this not-for-profit organization that provides sailing opportunities for the disabled in the NY metropolitan area.

In 1999 NYSC tried a new activity: the full moon sail. Several boat owners volunteered their


The capper to the year’s events, is the Halloween Sail. The NYSC held its first one in 1978. The club dons costumes and runs organized raiding parties to sack and pillage the local villages. Spiced cider liberally laced with Mt. Gay rum is served, as well as fish chowder, spice cookies, candied apples, among other fall delights. It is a fine way to end the sailing season (unless the winds are “a-blawing” at 40 or so like the did one year, when Frank Taranto blew out the mainsail on MARCH HARE).

October 1992 Halloween sail – Scott Stevenson rowed from shore dressed as a pirate; Nelson & Bertha’s boat MOONMIST came dressed as a Viking Ship – the first (but not last) time that a boat ever came in costume!


An early Club Cruise consisted of trying to reach Block Island and back in two weeks. Maybe the boats were smaller or slower then, because these days fast boats and ambitious sailors head for Maine and other distant areas. As an incentive to other sailors, it was a tradition to present a trophy to anyone who crossed the Atlantic. In 1970, Dean Fuller and Albin Elskus sailed to England in Dean’s C&C 31 Corvette WYANDANCE. In 1972, Ray Boc completed a double transatlantic passage – with stops at Crookhaven Ireland, England, Spain, Gibralter, the Canary islands, The Virgin Islands, etc. In 1980, Roberta Dudiak sailed transatlantic on an Allied Seawind ketch to the Azores.

Martin Spier joined the Cruising World Magazine’s adventure cruise to Tonga in 1990 in a fleet of 8 Beneteaus. The natives were very friendly and made Martin appear skinny!

1990 – Sid White was navigator and tactician on a boat that finished first in the Bermuda Race on PIRATE – a 38′ Swan owned by a Professor at NYU. (I guess it pays to know where the Meander is!) He also sailed in the Mediterranean in PIRATE in 1991, where he learned some interesting things, not the least of which is that the buoys are “Green Right Returning” – boater beware.


The following are some highlights of the 1974 Sailing Schedule, from Fleet Captain Don Bryan:

April 27: Got the spring Blauzes? Sail them by on the 1st Annual Hart Island circumnavigation.

July 13,14: Bastille Day Corinthian Club Cruise

July 28: (part of the club cruise) – East End Mt. Sinai Harbor (Rick Allmen will autograph copies of his book, if out. If not, will accept any drinks offered.)

July 29: Joshua Cove, North of Sachem Head (watch out for “%” as they can spoil cocktail hour)

July 31: Thru gut to Cherry Harbor. Anchor, go ashore and get shot at by Lord Gardiner’s private army. On second thought, best to stay rafted and plan for another day.

August 4: Dinner ashore Greenport, informal racing, drinking, boat cleaning. Watch your F.C. fix his head for the nth time. Learn profanities in several languages.

August 9: Sail thru fog to Cuttyhunk.

August 10: Hadley Harbor – invite Malcolm Forbes over for Scotch Whisky.

August 15: Menemsha – Watch Walter Wrow Ashore Whilst Drinking On The Lido Deck.

September 2: 3rd Annual Labor Day at Duck Island. Race for Silver, Rum Swizzle Party – Mysterious Midnight Swyms – 2nd Annual “Where did I sleep last night?” mystery. Headaches.