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San Juan Islands, Washington State, United States
A society formed in 2009 for the purpose of collecting, preserving, celebrating, and disseminating the maritime history of the San Juan Islands and northern Puget Sound area. Check this log for tales from out-of-print publications as well as from members and friends. There are circa 500, often long entries, on a broad range of maritime topics; there are search aids at the bottom of the log. Please ask for permission to use any photo posted on this site. Thank you.

01 May 2015

❖ History of OPENING DAY, Seattle ❖

History of Opening Day 
"As far back as 1879, a Seattle yacht club was sponsoring regattas, but the first mention we could find of the term, "Opening Day" was in 1909 when the Elliott Bay Yacht Club opened the boating season on May 1. That day the club featured a contest for its three fastest yachts. Later that year, the Elliott Bay and Seattle yacht clubs merged, taking the name of the latter.
      News releases in 1914 mention an "annual opening day," that occurred on 16 May. In 1915, Opening Day was shifted back to May 1.
OPENING DAY ❖ ❖ 12 MAY 1932
Lake Washington, Seattle, WA.
A few minutes later a light breeze sprung up
and the boats were away from the starting line. 
Original photo from the archives of the S.P.H.S.© 
Opening Day 
Lake Washington, Seattle, WA.
Dated 4 May 1934.
More than 100 sailing craft, ranging from tiny flatties
to schooner rigged yachts participated this day.
Original photo from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©
Flagship LADY GRACE ❖ ❖  3 May 1950. 
The 38-ft Kettenburg is ceremoniously dipping the flag
as she passes the LADY GRACE during the
Seattle Yacht Club's opening day regatta
on Lake Washington, Seattle, WA. 
Original photo by Acme from the S.P.H.S.©
      ...In the 1950s a more organized parade format was instituted. The proposal to include other yacht clubs was promoted, and the clubs responded. In the mid-1950s, a flag-raising ceremony and a few short speeches were added to the day's events. A military band, the hoisting of the burgees of visiting clubs and the honoring of their commodores became part of the ritual. 
      As the ceremonies became more complex, the starting time for boats to assemble on Portage Bay was gradually moved from noon to 9:30 AM. Over the years the competition for the best-decorated boat, selection of parade themes, assigning judges, and awarding prizes became part of the day. In 1970, crew racing was added to the festivities."
Above text from" Seattle Yacht Club 1892-1992; Warren, James R. 1992.

A post of 1961 Opening Day with the Freeman steamboat MOHAI can be seen here

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