The Great Burgee Swap with Winnipesaukee Yacht Club

The GPYC / WYC burgee swap

WYC board member Bruce Gokey (left) swaps burgees with GPYC commodore, Ben Ford (right).

The Great Pond Yacht Club is honored to have swapped burgees with the Winnipesaukee Yacht Club in Gilford, New Hampshire.

July 29, Junebug departed Meredith, NH, with three GPYC representatives on board: Social secretary Sheldon Perkins; treasurer, Lisa Perkins; and commodore, Ben Ford (sadly, secretary, Barb Ford, was under the weather at home). The crew headed south along Meredith Bay and into the washing machine between Weirs Beach and Governors Island. The sea was confused and frothy, not from wind or tide, but from throngs of over-sized, over-powered, and over-vinyled Formulas and Bayliners departing Weirs Beach with purposeful speed and no apparent aim. Junebug plowed through 4-foot boat wakes, squeezed under the Governors Island bridge, and rounded the bend into Sanders Bay to the WYC.

Waiting at the dock to greet us were club representatives Bruce and KK Gokey and Nancy and Andy Johnson (paying due respect to Mrs. Johnson, fourth-grade teacher of Sheldon and Bruce, we all stood up straight, smoothed our hair, and assumed our very best behavior). Then we broke out the traditional champagne, mixed it with O.J. to legitimate an early-hour cocktail, toasted to the meeting of old and new friends, admired each other’s burgees, and gripped and grinned to make the swap.

We were then treated to a clubhouse tour and a recitation of the 74-year-old institution’s history. We learned that the clubhouse was built by its members and moved twice before settling on Dockam Shore Road in Sanders Bay. The clubhouse’s campy pine-board walls are decorated with historical posters promoting yacht club events, thinly disguised lampoons of prominent club members, and wonderful original drawings and cartoons by the late Bob Montana, club member and Archie Comics artist.

Of particular significance to our commodore was a corner of the club dedicated to the WYC’s Lightning fleet, which at one time included over 100 boats. Today, the club is a major sponsor of the Lake Winnipesaukee Sailing Association’s youth sailing program run out of the WYC yacht yard adjacent to Fay’s Boat Yard. It has a thriving J 80 one-design fleet, and several Capri 22s make it out for beer-can races.

After the tour, Bruce and KK waved good bye and jumped into their Capri 22 bound for an action-packed day of racing (and an eventual victory) with winds gusting from the northeast to over 25 knots. Combined with enormous boat-traffic wakes, it must have been a wet and wild ride.

Winnipesaukee Yacht Club’s (left) and Rome Yacht Club’s (right) burgees, hanging from the “rafters” of the GPYC “clubhouse.”

WYC’s burgee has been been installed alongside ours at the GPYC’s temporary clubhouse — Ben and Barb’s house. One day, we hope to have a permanent GPYC clubhouse — we have now found our model — where the WYC flag will serve as an inspiration alongside ours.

If you ever find yourself in Gilford, NH, please stop by, say hello, and look for the GPYC burgee hanging proudly from the rafters among those of this nation’s most prestigious and established clubs.

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About Great Pond Yacht Club

Great Pond Yacht Club is for avid sailors as well as those new to the sport on Great Pond in Maine's Belgrade Lakes region. Our goal is to create and foster a culture of sailing, racing, and camaraderie on Great Pond.
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