2009 Change of Watch at Windsor

JensenNR - November 4, 2009

Nearly 100 GLCC members and guests attended the Annual General Meeting and Change of Watch Ceremony at Caesars Hotel and Casino, Windsor, ON. Director Gary and Sharon Henrich; Port Captain Brad and Patricia Somers; and Port Captain Dick and Vera Haller organized this highly successful event, which took place October 23 through 25.

The program began Friday afternoon, when planning and communications committee meetings were held in the Club’s hospitality suite. Both meetings were highly productive, and brought forward fresh ideas for consideration. They included a proposal by Port Captain Bill Rohde for creating a series of on-line cruising and technical courses, and another by Brian Minton to optimize the club’s website to attract new members. You will undoubtedly hear more about those proposals, as they move forward.

The evening meal was a wonderful buffet-style dinner at the exclusive Windsor Club, which was located just a two-block walk from the hotel. Its dining room not only provided a superb meal in a comfortable setting, but also a stunning view of the Detroit skyline across the river. It was an ideal venue for members to mix and connect with their many cruising friends, as well as an opportunity to make new ones.

Saturday’s program began at 0900, with the Board Meeting of the GLCC. During the meeting, which was conducted by Commodore Jim Richlak, Rear Commodore Sally Zahnow encouraged everyone to attend the 2010 Rendezvous at Mackinaw City, MI. Commodore Jim and Karen Mesenburg are again organizing this popular event. Zahnow also announced the intention of having the 2011 Rendezvous at Gore Bay, ON, and the 2012 Rendezvous at Parry Sound, ON.

Fleet Surgeon Gail Bowdish volunteered to look into a charter flotilla cruise at the British Virgin Islands for the 2011 Spring Break event. A discussion forum has since been established on our website to gage member interest in such an event.

The Great Lakes Foundation meeting included an in-depth presentation by Community Foundation of St. Clair County to the Great Lakes Foundation. This organization’s purpose is to help donors reach their charitable and philanthropic goals through the creation, management and administration of endowed funds.

An interesting tour of the Canadian Club Brand Centre, Walkerville, followed lunch. It featured exquisite Italian architecture, an impressive art gallery, and much company history. The company’s early commitment to product quality, as well as its standing as the number one whiskey in the U.S. during Prohibition were explained in detail, including how its product was smuggled across the border. A formal whisky tasting session concluded the tour.

Later in the afternoon, the annual meetings of the Great Lakes Foundation and the GLCC were held at the hotel’s conference center. The 2010 Board of Directors was elected, and it was reported that the Club gained 143 new memberships in the past year, and now has nearly 2,800 members. This is the first time in more than a half-dozen years that the club has not lost members, and it is especially welcome news, given the current economic climate, according to Commodore Richlak.

The  evening’s program continued in the hotel’s ballroom. The social hour began at 1800, and at 1900 Commodore Richlak welcomed everyone to the dinner. Fleet Chaplain Carl Tucker did the invocation, and there were the traditional toasts to the Queen and the President of the United States. The ample buffet-style dinner, which offered a great variety of first-rate dishes and desserts, proved to be a hit with the attendees.

Commodore Richlak did the usual introductions of past commodores, officers and directors, and congratulated Ardy Barclay on her election to the Board of Directors. It was then time for the awards.

This year, there was not one, but three recipients of the Admiral Bayfield Award, which hasn't happened in the Club's recent history. This prestigious award was bestowed upon Director Roger Hankle and Deputy Port Captain Joyce Rogers; Director Chuck and Joann Mead; and Port Captain Bill and Judy Rohde. All of them fulfilled the requirement of having logged more than 5,000 miles on all of the five Great Lakes. It is quite a cruising accomplishment.

The William J. Kivel Award for an outstanding contribution to the Port Captain program went to Port Captain Jim Ehrman, and the Award of Merit for extraordinary service to the club went to Treasurer Tim Boehlke. The Founders Award for the best cruising log went to John and Deanna Peterson.

Then, Commodore Richlak turned the helm over to our new Commodore, J.E. Fordyce. Fordyce thanked Richlak for his exemplary service to the Club, gave incoming Vice Commodore Mel Wallbank his flag, and talked about his vision for the Club (for details, please see From the Bridge in the December issue of Lifeline).

The featured speaker was Chris Edwards, who gave a fascinating historical presentation entitled Rumrunners of Windsor and Detroit. His speech dovetailed nicely with the information provided earlier at the Canadian Club Centre.

After the formal part of the evening’s program concluded, a large and lively crowd of GLCC members gathered in the club’s hospitality suite. The room was definitely packed to its capacity, and there was much late-night discussion about boating and summer cruising plans.

The 2009 recipients of the Admiral Bayfield Award were (left to right) Joann and Director Chuck Mead; Deputy Port Captain Joyce Rogers and Director Roger Hankle; and Judy and Port Captain Bill Rohde.
Port Captain Jim Ehrman received the William J. Kivell Memorial Award.