May 25, 2018

Essex Historical Society Event Brings About Exchange of Burgees by Three Essex Yacht Clubs

On February 8, 2012 the Essex Historical Society hosted “History and Evolution of the Yacht Clubs of Essex.”  The event was held at the Essex Corinthian Yacht club to a packed room.  All six Essex yacht clubs had representation at the event and a special introduction and talk on Essex boating history was made by the Executive Director of the Connecticut River Museum, Jerry Roberts.

The presenters from the Yacht clubs were:

  • Dan Daniells from the Dauntless Club and founding member of the Essex Corinthian Yacht Club
  • Ed Birch from Frostbite Yacht Club – Vice Commodore of the Frostbite Yacht Club and past Commodore of Pettipaug and the Corinthian.
  • George Graf, Historian of the Essex Yacht Club and past Commodore of the Manhasset Bay Yacht Club
  • Toby Doyle, Historian of the Pettipaug Yacht Club
  • Jim Coer, Immediate Past Commodore of the Essex Boat Club, and
  • Jeff Going, Historian and past Commodore of the Corinthian and Pettipaug.

It was a lively and entertaining event with a lot of yacht club history mixed with some folklore and of course some good boating humor.

But the most exciting portion of the evening was saved for the end of the program for burgee exchange ceremonies.

A burgee is, usually, a triangular flag that identifies the yacht’s owner as a member of a sailing organization.  It is tradition to present ones burgee during the first visit to another yacht club.

A very special occurrence at this event was the exchange of burgees by the Essex Yacht Club and the Essex Corinthian Yacht Club. For the first time in history, the Essex Corinthian represented by Rear Commodore Deb Wallis, and the Essex Yacht Club represented by Vice Commodore Frank Flores exchanged burgees.

Essex Corinthian Rear Commodore Deb Wallis, and the Essex Yacht Club Vice Commodore Frank Flores exchanging burgees with Essex Historical Society President Mark Pratt in the background (Photo courtesy of Susan Malan)

In 1933 the clubs started as one club but in 1980 the clubs split becoming the Essex Yacht Club and the Essex Corinthian Yacht Club. Although these clubs sit side by side, they had never exchanged their burgees.

A  second first was made when an enthusiastic Jim Coer representing the Essex Boat Club exchanged their burgee for the first time ever with the Essex Corinthian Yacht Club.  This too was a monumental moment as this was the very first burgee exchange ever for the Essex Boat Club.

Jim Coer representing the Essex Boat Club and Rear Commodore Deb Wallis of the Essex Corinthian Yacht Club exchanging burgees (photo courtesy of Wini Olson)

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