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"It's all about the people"


Commodore's Blog

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  • 01 May 2013 11:31 AM | John Loving



    May Day baskets adorn the light poles and store fronts in downtown Annapolis. 

    Hopefully, everyone’s shrink wrap and pink anti-freeze have been removed for the upcoming boating season on the Chesapeake.

    April was a busy month for BackYakkers as Bob and Patti Bartlett hosted a fun-filled Happy Hour with everyone wearing their favorite hat.  Steve Bacon and Leslie Goodwyn led a Pub Crawl through downtown Annapolis ending with dessert and coffee at their home.

    It is events like these, thought up and hosted by our members, which continue to foster the camaraderie within BCYC.

    This Saturday officially kicks off the BCYC boating season with the aptly name Annual Season Kickoff at Bob and Gail Higginbotham’s waterfront home on Minnow Creek. This is also the New Member Party where we ‘honor’ new members from the past year.  In keeping with “themes”, Bob and Gail have dubbed this the Cuarto de Mayo Party featuring Margaritas, Sangria and tortillas.

    Later in May, Pat Bernhart kicks off the Mid-Week events big time with a double header "Luncheon of the Boating Party" ( on Crab Creek adjourning to Wally and Molly Stone’s lawn for Happy Hour.  There is also a “wake up breakfast” the next day for those anchoring overnight.  Check out the BCYC web site for details.

    Fleet Captain Guy Collins and Water Events Chair Juliana Nedd get the cruise season underway with the annual Memorial Day Cruise. This year we go up to the Maryland Yacht Club in Pasadena, MD (  This is always a well attended and fun weekend at one of the oldest yacht clubs in Maryland.  Details will be forthcoming on the web site.

    To see a complete listing of upcoming water events, go to the web site, click on “Calendar & Events” and then “Water Events 2013”.

    Pam and I have almost completed the 1,700 mi. trip back from Pensacola, FL.  We are currently anchored in Smith Creek off the Potomac River awaiting a little calmer Bay.  But, we are officially in Maryland!  The rest of the BCYC South contingent have all made it ‘home’ within the last few days so BCYC South is officially disbanded (until next fall)!

    See you all Saturday at the Kickoff (aka Cuarto de Mayo)!

    John & Pam

    “Compass Rose”

  • 09 Apr 2013 11:03 AM | John Loving


    A belated Happy Easter, April Fools Day and March Madness to all BackYakkers!

    Well, March is over (came in like a Lion and went out like a Lion!).  A special thanks to all who participated in the St Patrick’s Day dinner at the Kilarney House hosted by Bob and Gail O’Higginbotham and Ted and Pat O’Edmunds.

    This Friday, the “Ritter Happy Hours” resume as Bob and Patti Bartlett host a “Favorite Hat” Happy Hour at their home in Epping Forest.  So come on, put on your Maggie Thatcher hat, your Annette “mouse ears” or your “Flair Hair” visor and join your fellow BackYakkers out on the Bartlett’s deck.  It stays light an hour later now…

    Steve Bacon and Leslie Goodwyn will be hosting an Annapolis Pub Crawl on Saturday, April 20th.  Join them for all or part of the ‘crawl’ (McGarvey's, Galway Bay, Ram's Head followed by dessert and coffee at their home on Duke of Gloucester St.).

    The boating season is now just around the corner!  The annual Season Kick Off/New Member Party will be hosted by Rear Commodore Bob and Gail Higginbotham at their home on Minnow Creek.  Look for more details coming soon.

    The BCYC South contingent is slowly (is there any other way?!) making its way back to the Annapolis area.  “Fandango”, “Tug For Two” and “Quaich” are presently near the GA/FL border while “Indy” just arrived in West Palm Beach from the Bahamas.

    Pam and I just arrived in Clearwater, FL after a 25 hour overnight trip across the Gulf of Mexico.  We had a great Spring Break and Easter in Pensacola, FL and are now headed back north (at least it will be ‘north’ once we get across Florida).

    Looking forward to getting back to Annapolis and joining everyone on the Bay.

    John & Pam

    “Compass Rose”


  • 08 Mar 2013 3:50 PM | John Loving


    Greetings from Florida’s Left Coast!  “Compass Rose” is currently making its way up Tampa Bay headed for St. Petersburg, FL.

    Should you need a reason to offer a toast, consider that Daylight Savings Time begins on Sunday at 2 am.  “Spring forward” into summer!  Spring itself begins on March 20th at 7:02 am.  Boating season is just around the corner!!

    Well, for a ‘short’ month, February was certainly an active one for the members of Back Creek Yacht Club.  JJ Sullivan and Juliana Nedd started things off with their always fabulous Red Wine & Chocolate (and reading poetry) Event.  JJ and Juliana are always so gracious opening their home on Minnow Creek to us.

    Our Rear Commodore Bob Higginbotham sponsored a mid-week Educational Event “Piracy on the Chesapeake” at the Annapolis Maritime Museum preceded by dinner at Davis’ Pub in Eastport.

    Vern and Dorothy Penner held their always popular “Port Wine Tasting” Happy Hour where they displayed their knowledge and inventory of port wine developed from their “ambassadorial” days in Porto, Portugal (technically this event was on March 1st but could have been on Feb 29th).

    Not to be left out, the Back Creek Yacht Club ‘South’ contingent held a get-together on the beach near Stuart, FL. Twenty two BackYakkers came by boat, car, RV and train (aka Auto-Train). 

    Besides the extra daylight and warmer weather, upcoming March events include an Educational Event (solo circumnavigator Matt Rutherford) at the Severn School preceded by dinner at the Woodfire Grille.  The always popular St Patrick’s Day event will be held at the Kilarney House Pub.  Bob and Gail Higginbotham and Ted and Pat Edmunds will be your Irish hosts.

    Thank you to all the hosts and event organizers for keeping it ‘warm’ this winter.  It won’t be long before the shrink wrap comes off!

    John and Pam

    “Compass Rose”


  • 31 Jan 2013 1:02 PM | John Loving

    Reflections on January…

    2013…hard to believe BCYC is eleven years old!  The previous ten Commodores have all left their individual contributions and legacies to the Club.  Thank you all.

    Back Creek Yacht Club members started off the year with their individual New Year celebrations and then gathered for winter events:

    Jamie Ritter hosted a “Ritter Happy Hour” at her home on January 11th.  Over fifteen BackYakkers gave thanks that the Mayan Calendar was “mis-quoted”. 

    The 11th Commodore’s Ball culminated the month as over fifty BackYakkers danced the night away at the Westin Hotel in Annapolis.  Rosie Cavin did a fabulous job putting the whole event together. Thanks to all those volunteers who made everything fall into place.  

    The baton was passed to a new Bridge without a shot being fired.  What a great country!

    A special thanks to the night’s Emcee, Vern Penner.  His off the cuff and insightful comments added to the evening’s festivities.

    Check out the many photos of the Ball on the BCYC web site.

    Your Bridge is already busy planning the events for the year.  Please step up to help with these events.

    The recently “chartered” BCYC South held a get together at Sunset Bay Marina in Stuart Florida.  Sixteen Snow Yakkers enjoyed dinner and camaraderie under the stars.

    "Piracy on the Chesapeake", hosted by Bob and Gail Higginbotham at the Annapolis Maritime Museum, proved to be a unique and educating foray into the many buccaneers who have visited the Chesapeake.

    February continues the fun with JJ and Juliana hosting a “Red Wine & Chocolate” on February 9th.  Pat Bernhart is also planning a Mid Week Event on February 20th.

    Stay tuned…



  • 03 Jan 2013 4:50 PM | John Loving

    Pam and I would like to wish all BakYakkers a very Happy New Year.  Please excuse any typos as it is difficult to type on this iPad… the sunscreen makes my fingers slippery!

    Now that the Mayans have been proven wrong and the clock struck midnight on Monday, the new “Bridge” voted on at the Annual Membership Meeting have assumed their offices.  Your new officers are:                                                 

    Commodore:                      John Loving

    Vice Commodore:               Bill Kranzer

    Rear Commodore:               Bob Higginbotham

    Fleet Captain:                     Guy Collins

    Secretary:                          Bonnie Hetzel

    Treasurer:                           Mary Bowie


    Board of Governors:              Ted Edmunds

                                               Jamie Ritter

                                               Shay Collins   

                                               Mary Ross

                                               Terry Bidnick

                                               Colin Soucy

     Appointed Chairs:                Juliana Nedd [Cruise/Water Events]

                                              Rosie Cavin [Social/Land Events]

                                              J.J. Sullivan [Membership Committee]

                                              Mary Bowie [Finance Committee]

    A special note of “thanks” upon their departure (from the Bridge) to now Past Commodore Steve Bacon, past Fleet Captain John Yates and past Secretary Karen Kranzer.  Also, Dale Schultz and J.J. Sullivan completed a three year “tour” on the Board of Governors.  Thank you all for your time, ideas and guidance.  Steve completed a “four year run” from Fleet Captain through Commodore and BCYC owes him a tremendous debt of gratitude for all he has done for us.

    2013 promises to be another fun-filled year of social events and cruising on our own Chesapeake Bay.  Before the shrink wrap and anti-freeze are removed and Guy Collins starts “Captaining the Fleet”, Bob Higginbotham and Rosie Cavin have a number of great winter events in store.

    Speaking of the Mayans, Jamie Ritter is hosting a “The Beginning of the Next Mayan Calendar” Happy Hour on Friday, Jan 11th These “Ritter Happy Hours” are always a fun way to end the work week or start the weekend.

    The 11th Commodore’s Ball wraps up January on the 26th Rosie has put together a fantastic evening at the Westin Hotel in Annapolis.  We also have a new band this year I am sure you will enjoy.  The Annapolis based band, “A Classic Case” has played at the last four Kadey Krogen Chesapeake Rendezvous and really know how to fill the dance floor.  Pam and I will be flying back to Annapolis for the event and we hope to see all of you there. 

    *** "Compass Rose", "Quaich", "Fandango", "Tug For Two" & "Indy".

    See ya Up the Creek (at the Westin)!


    John Loving


    Back Creek Yacht Club


  • 23 Jan 2012 10:19 PM | Mary Lotto Ross

    At right is our outgoing Commodore, Bill     Falk.  I speak for all the Members of our fine Back Creek Yacht Club when I say thank you for all you did to make the 2011 season a great one!  Thanks for your memorable blog posts, which are shown below.


    Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  It’s that time of year where “giving thanks” is normative – as we would say in sociology.   In light of this, and knowing the average age of our members, hopefully no one will mind my citing an old Bing Crosby song, “Thanks for the Memories”.   Why?  Because in preparing for the annual meeting and then actually seeing so many people there, it was impossible not to recall all of the people who help – regularly or occasionally – in making BCYC a great club.  I gave special thanks to some of these people at the annual meeting.  Let me list them here, again, with brief comment.  Plus, I want to add a few I missed and close by a couple of end-of-the-year thoughts.   So, thanks to:

    The flag officers and the entire BoG --  lots of time given to attending meetings and following through on the myriad tasks involved in making the club run.

    Mary Bowie -- for all she does regularly, not only serving as Treasurer in 2011 but also completely overhauling and relaunching our web site and occasionally counseling me during my stint as commodore.

    Juliana Nedd -- for playing a similar role and, when need be, pushing me to get things done! 

    Brenda Ripley and Candy Wilson – for finding volunteers and otherwise helping with organizing and staffing all of those fabulous land and sea events during 2011.

    Pat Bernhart – for years of service as mid-week chair (assisted by Betsy Schulz).

    Bob Higginbotham and Pam Loving – for another year of Blasts and Evites.

    Otto Hetzel -- for another year of picture taking and story writing for Proptalk and Spinsheet.

    Mary Ross – for being our club photographer with lots of examples of her work on our new club web site.

    Madi Yates – for helping me think through various club issues where conversation with a wise, former commodore was useful.

    Geraldine Falk – for . . .  well, for being herself!   Hearing my laments and laughter with occasional words of advice as necessary. 

    To everyone not listed above but who helped in any way with club activities -- whether hosting an event, making food for one, setting up, cleaning up, or anything else that contributed to the job at hand, thanks!

    Mostly, though, let me say “thanks” for giving me the opportunity to serve as Commodore.  I had a ski boat, a row boat, and a hydroplane as a kid in Michigan.  I had a bass boat as an adult in Louisiana.  I’ve owned a series of express cruisers and now a trawler here in Maryland.  While I’ve spent thousands of hours on the water, I never knew much about “yacht clubs” and, to be honest, when I thought of them at all, my impression was one of elitism.   When we stumbled on to the Back Creek Yacht Club, my yacht club image was altered – radically!  It was a kind of religious experience – finding a community of individuals whose love of boating and the Chesapeake Bay matched our own, a shared reverence.  Through the club, we’ve discovered not only new places to boat on the Bay and elsewhere but, most importantly, new people with whom to share the experience.  It is hard to put a value on many of these friendships.   With Thanksgiving just ahead of us and the recent annual meeting just behind us, it’s easy for me to be thinking about saying “Thanks,” especially with respect to the role BCYC has played in my life – I have a lot for which I can be thankful.  


    Commodore’s Corner – October 2011

    In a recent column, after G and I had been cruising for a couple of weeks on the Eastern Shore, I wrote about the Back “Creak” Yacht Club.  This was a comment on my sore back which has slowly gotten better.  Alas, one more sign of aging.  Speaking of which . . . I have almost aged out of the commodore’s job.  The proposed slate of officers and BoG members is now posted on our fabulous new web site.  Steve Bacon and Mary have prepared some text to alert people to this change and to tutor them a bit on it.  We aren’t Facebooking yet but we are doing a riff on Twitter with our own Bob Higginbotham sending Blasts that show up as “Toots.”  We are all over this new technology!

    You will get to see this demonstrated at the annual meeting -- November 6 at the Fleet Reserve in downtown Annapolis.  Steve and Mary will do a “live” demo of the new web site.  It will be informative and fun.  This will also give us an opportunity to revisit some of the events from the 2011 boating and land event year.  It has been a busy time and despite record heat followed by record rain and unseasonably cold weather (who will ever forget the crab feast in 40 degree temperatures?), it’s been a lot of fun. 

    More fun is on the way:  October 22, Kranzer’s are hosting a Fall Festival sea/land event on Weems Creek.  October 28 will be a Halloween happy hour at Soucy’s.  November 6 the annual meeting.  December 1 will be Midnight Madness in Annapolis.  December 11, the first-ever holiday party, hosted by JJ and Juliana at an event room on the Kent Narrows.   And we will ring in the New Year – albeit at the end of January – with the Commodore’s Ball being held at the Westin Hotel in Annapolis.  This is shaping up to be an extraordinary event so go ahead NOW and book a room.  

    Plenty of opportunities ahead to be a BakYakker!   It’s all about the people – whether they are “up the creek” or not!


    The commodorette and I just returned from floating around the Eastern Shore for 2 weeks.   Always lessons galore from such a trip -- including, of course, ones you'd rather not have had!  First, that business about changing impellors annually?  Very good idea as it turns out.  Our generator impellor went and with temps forecast of over 100, anchoring out with no AC was hard to imagine.  The good folks at Cambridge Yacht Maintenance replaced the impellor and then had us on their bulkhead for 3 nights.  Why the extended stay?   Well, anchoring out and being agile around the boat would mean a healthy back.  Mine went out our first day in Cambridge.  Being flat on my back for 3 days gave me a chance to think about the true meaning to "Back Creak" YC!   Alas, I survived and despite the record heat, we had a great time away, some of it spent with BCYC friends.  


    This time away also reminded me of the hard work which BakYakkers do to stage club events.  A belated thanks to all of the people who helped with the annual cruise in June , especially Dusty and Candy who organized and oversaw things but also to everyone who helped with the daily events - those I remember include Karen Kranzer, Madi Yates, Michelle Sanger, the Lovings (who organized and hosted a golf event), the Campbells, the Pentanos, Harriet Lytle, Jo Rhys (fabulous ice cream sundaes and cookies in the shape of a burgee with club colors on them!), Mary Ross, the Beyers, and Ray Blake and Brenda Riple y (who got her picture in Proptalk posing by a fabulous cake symbolic of the cruise them e , "American Spirit".    About 60 people participated in the cruise over the week's time, including nearly 50 at Fairlee Creek.     This great Cruise week  was followed by the July 4th weekend at Langford Creek.  We had to miss this due to a family emergency out-of-state but as I recall, John Loving and (SOMEONE ELSE - WHO?) did a great job as chefs one day and John and Pam organized an educational event based on their travels on the ICW.  Still more examples of "It's all about the people."


    And speaking of people . . . we still have lots of water and land events remaining for get-togethers..  A raft-up in Leeds Creek got postponed due to excessive heat but in the near future we will have:  

    Lobster Feast, August 20 at the Stones.

    Labor Day event in Oxford, September 3 - 5.

    Octoberfest on the Water, September 17.

    Crab Feast, October 1.  

    Mid-week events and other land events will also be happening.  


    Aside from all of these social events, the business of the running the club continues.  The biggest single change on this will be our move to a new web site, with Mary Bowie serving as the web master.  Expect a much longer explanation about this in a month or so.  

    In the meantime, it's all about the people - who want to be "Up the Creek."

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