I joined the club in 1988. I will mention a few years that I deemed significant. In 1997 Buzz Butler was Commodore. It poured that weekend (deluged) yet it stands out. Emily Poulton & Cathy DiMarco put on a scavenger hunt for the kids (of all ages). This wasn’t my first visit to the Seaport but I learned a lot. (After the weekend was over Mystic Seaport asked Baldwin Yacht Club for a copy of the scavenger hunt & for permission to use it in their children’s programs). Also this was the 1st Commissioning I attended in church. (Not the Commonwealth Church that we are in now, but the tiny chapel next to the school house). I think we raised the flag afterwards when the weather cleared briefly.
In 2000, the Amistad was launched. Baldwin had permission to raise our flag on her mast. Our Commodore Vince Peterson was black. It was very moving. 2000 was a year in which many people bought new boats & showed them off at Commissioning Weekend. It was like going to a boat show without traveling to Newport. Ron Walker (mentioned in another speech because of his wife’s sourdough that was part of the pancake recipe for years) went to the dark side. He passed his J30 to his son, Dave, and bought a Traveler “Transition”. He parked it in the corner where Bob Frew’s boat, Brave Heart, is now. This was shortly after the New York Yacht Club had left Mystic and the restaurant where Latitudes is located started arranging weddings. The bride & groom spotted Ron’s boat and asked for permission to take photos. The buttons were popping off Ron’s blazer. (Ron Walker sadly passed away last year).
2006 was my 1st year as historian but that did not make headlines. As we were enjoying our potluck supper a large yacht anchored near that tent and off walked Walter Cronkite, Andy Rooney and their wives. You can imagine the hubbub it created. We asked them to stay for dinner but they had other plans.
By 2006 the sourdough starter for the pancakes had been misplaced. As Bob Koucky was involved in running the end, I asked his son, “Chef” Bill, to give us a recipe. Bill does not like to write things down but he gave me a recipe for 40 pancakes, which I tripled. As is our tradition, we got up at 5am and started the batter using the paint mixer. We filled a 10 gallon bucket & 2 coolers. (I did not know you don’t triple baking powder). The pancakes were light. We threw out a lot of the batter. Tommy Russell mentioned how 10 electric frying pans tripped all the circuit breakers, delaying the cooking of pancakes. We had our own breakfast incident 2006.
2008 was the 1st year I brought my boat “Catbird” to the commissioning. That is not the main reason it stood out. Commodore Myron Stacks gave a most moving speech. “I finally realized what Memorial Day is all about. Freedom isn’t Free”.
In 2013 the refurbished Charles W. Morgan was relaunched and began its Round the Ports of New England tour in 2014. Many members of Baldwin contributed to this refurbishment. At the 2015 Commissioning, Dana Newsome gave our Commodore Tom Lincoln a plaque with a piece of the Charles W. Morgan (a trundle which holds a plank in place) to signify the cooperation & friendship between Mystic Seaport & Baldwin Yacht Club. May it continue for many years.