Ahoy! Annual blessing of the fleets sets sail

On Sunday, June 16, mariners from all denominations gathered for the Blessing of the Fleets, to ensure smooth sailing this summer.

Miramar Yacht Club, Deep Creek Yacht Club, Rockaway Point Yacht Club, Sheepshead Bay Yacht Club, Varuna Boat Club and Excelsior Yacht Club participated in the tradition that has been going on for 22 years.

To begin the ceremony, a wreath or flowers are tossed into the water to honor the deceased mariners from the past. The ships then sail through the canal, receiving blessings from different members of the clergy. Typically, a rabbi, a minister, and a priest are present.

This year marked an especially important ceremony, due to the passing of Mark Marchese, who revitalized the ritual, as well as to show Super Storm Sandy that sailing spirits were not dampened.

Around 400 guests were present at the after party, hosted at the Miramar Yacht Club. The Rockaway Hooligans performed, showing spirit from Rockaway Point Yacht Club—one of the clubs most harshly affected by Super Storm Sandy.

“Although the boat showing was lower than previous years, you didn’t need a boat to come to the party,” said Joseph Vega of Miramar Yacht Club.

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