Yacht/boat clubs unite for 32nd annual ‘Blessing of the Fleets’ flotilla

The roaring of cannon sounds pierced the mostly sunny afternoon sky as curious onlookers and boating enthusiasts alike bore witness to the 32nd annual “Blessing of the Fleets” event.

The 60-plus-boat flotilla, which officially opened the season for recreational boaters, included four local boat and yacht clubs this year: Miramar YC, Sheepshead Bay YC, Rockaway Point YC, and Varuna Boat Club. It took place this past June 24 at approximately 12:30 p.m., sailing in and around Sheepshead Bay. All lead boats received a blessing from clergy as they passed through the dock of Sheepshead Bay YC.

“It’s nice that clubs from different areas get together to share a love for the water; and it’s nice for the community as well,” longtime Miramar club member and attorney George Farkas told the Brooklyn Eagle.  “It draws a lot of attention to the beautiful waterfront we have here.”

Farkas, a member of Miramar for more than 30 years, has been sailing since 1982.

“The appeal of sailing, there really is nothing like it — the quiet. It’s a relief of all pressures,” he said.   

Glenn Johnson’s “Alice’s Craft,” of Sheepshead Bay YC, led the flotilla. He called the experience both “unique and humbling.”

Lead boat “Alice’s Craft,” sailing out of Sheepshead Bay YC.

“This was my first year as a commodore, and I’ve been with the club for 25 years,” Johnson said. “Through the years, I’ve sailed Blessings with family members on their boats, but this is the first time with me on my own vessel.

“Everything was well managed, and fell into place properly. Yacht and boating clubs are truly hidden gems. They are wonderful for families, and a great climate for kids.”  

Other lead boats included Rockaway Point’s “Fiona,” Varuna’s “Aquavit” and Miramar’s “The Good Life.”

David Shin, commodore of Miramar YC, called the event “a celebration of community and waterfront.”

He added, “We are hoping to change the narrative of what a yacht club is — that it’s for rich, white people. It’s not; it’s for everybody. And it’s diverse and integrated.” 

Irving Shapiro, 91, has been a member of Miramar YC for more than 61 years.

Irving Shapiro, 91, a longtime Sheepshead Bay resident, has been a member of Miramar for more than 61 years.

“I joined back in 1961, and I love this club for a number of reasons, but mainly because it has a lot of variety, people-wise — like maybe 10 nationalities in the club,” Shapiro said. “The only thing that we ask is that you be a good human being and help each other. We’re boaters. It’s a boating family — and that’s what it’s all about.”

The memorial wreath drop, to honor lost sailors, is a tradition at every Blessing.
A clergy member blesses a passing vessel.

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