Under blue skies and perfect boating conditions, the Lake Huron Rally and official opening of the new headquarters for the GLCC was the place to be in mid August.
Port Huron’s Acheson Ventures, Desmond Marine and River Street Marina had the welcome mat out as more than forty boats and two hundred participants arrived for the weekend of August 15-17. While most came by boat from both sides of the border, three RV’s occupied a corner of the marina parking lot and a large contingent of GLCC members made the trek by car, staying in local hotels.
Courteous and well-trained dock staff made for efficient berthing, and the facilities reserved for participants could not have been better.
Those arriving early had an opportunity to tour Port Huron’s attractive waterfront and restored main street. The program officially got underway with a reception and dinner at the Port Huron Yacht Club located within walking distance of both marinas. Some members took advantage of their reciprocal docking privileges to stay at the Club. Rally participants were treated to an excellent dinner and evening program. Hosts for the evening were Rear Commodore Ted Smith and Rear Commodore Tom Lawson, who wasted no time in getting those present into a festive mood for the evening.
Following dinner, Commodore Richlak welcomed everyone and reminded them of the proud tradition of the GLCC, continuing with the move from Chicago to Port Huron. As with all GLCC events, the evening was an opportunity to welcome new members, and get caught up on the summer’s boating activities.
Saturday saw a full day of activities, including the Ship’s Store, staffed by Bobbe Miller and her volunteers. The day started early with coffee and muffins on the dock followed by the official flag ceremony by the Silent Drill Team from the United States Coast Guard at the impressive Great Lakes Maritime Centre. The Maritime Centre, located at the confluence of the Black and St. Clair Rivers is a popular attraction in Port Huron. In addition to exhibits of maritime history on the Great Lakes, volunteers are on hand to describe the features and identification marks of the various lines and their vessels as the ships pass by the Centre.
After an opportunity for participants to “dress” their ships, an impressive boat parade, led by Lady J headed out the Black River, north under the Bluewater Bridge and out past the Port Huron lighthouse at Fort Gratiot. The fleet never looked better in the brilliant sunshine and sparkling blue water. Coming back in from the lake, the procession wound its way south to the Bean Dock where the USCG cutter Hollyhock, the retired USCG cutter Bramble, the US Navy Ship Gray Fox and the schooner Highlander Sea were docked, dressed and open for the many visitors who took the opportunity to tour.
As pictures demonstrate, the highlight of the weekend was, the official opening of the Club’s new office. Centrally located on the shore of the Black River, the offices are very functional, including a large meeting room, adequate storage for the Club’s material and offices for both staff and volunteers. Adjacent parking and proximity to the docks and marinas combine to make this new location a perfect one for the Club.
The opening ceremony, with more than 200 present, was held under a tent erected on the parking lot. While not needed for rain, the tent provided an element of shade in the eighty-degree plus weather of late afternoon.
Prior to the official opening and immediately following it, guests were treated to an excellent reception hosted by Acheson Ventures. Given the biggest container of shrimps you would ever see, no one wanted to leave until the last one was gone! As with all the events of the weekend, the camaraderie and enthusiasm for the club’s new direction and location was infectious.
Commodore Richlak, was joined by the Past Commodores and special guests at the podium to cut the ribbon to mark the event. To show our deep appreciation for all his work and support of the Club in the past, and in facilitating the move to Port Huron, Fleet Captain and Past Commodore, Jim Acheson was asked to do the formal ribbon cutting. A much deserved standing ovation greeted him as he arrived at the podium “I am proud of my association with the Great Lakes Cruising Club and I wish the Club many years of success in this new location”, he commented, after cutting the ribbon.
A special feature of the opening was the announcement that the Great Lakes Cruising Club has joined the “Order of the Blue Gavel” This organization, made up of past Commodores of maritime and boating organizations, is very active in promoting boating and boating safety across the U.S. Become a member puts the GLCC in a prestigious group. On hand to present the Club’s charter were President, Lois Conti and District 25 Director Tom Lyon, from the Order of the Blue Gavel.
Saturday evening ended the formal activities of the Rally with a dinner at the Port Huron Seaway Terminal (Bean Dock) where GLCC joined with a variety of other organizations to honour the men and women of the United States Coast Guard.
Sunday’s weather was again perfect and provided great travel conditions for those who were heading back to their home ports, on to other destinations as part of their summer cruising, or just staying put to enjoy the attractions of the Port Huron area.