Sheepshead Bay

‘Blessing of the Fleet’ celebrates 33 years of collaborative sailing in Brooklyn

July 10, 2024 Wayne Daren Schneiderman
Joshua Reder, Miramar Yacht Club vice commodore. Photo by Wayne Daren Schneiderman
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SHEEPSHEAD BAY — The Blessing of the Fleet, a yearly ceremony that officially opens the sailing season for recreational boaters, was hosted by Varuna Boat Club on June 30. 

Miramar Yacht Club’s Stella Blue. Photo by David Shin
Miramar Yacht Club’s Stella Blue. Photo by David Shin

The flotilla, which featured more than 60 boats, sailed in and around Sheepshead Bay. It included four local boat and yacht clubs: Miramar Yacht Club, Sheepshead Bay Yacht Club, Rockaway Point Yacht Club and Varuna Boat Club. Guido Mancini’s Aquavit of Varuna Boat Club led the flotilla. 

Other lead boats included Rockaway Point’s Fiona, Sheepshead Bay’s Making Memories and Miramar’s Stella Blue. All lead boats received a blessing from clergy as they passed through the dock of Sheepshead Bay Yacht Club.

Rockaway Point Yacht Club’s Fiona. Photo by David Shin
Rockaway Point Yacht Club’s Fiona. Photo by David Shin

Steven Mattera, Varuna’s fleet captain, spoke to the Brooklyn Eagle about what it was like to host the event.

“All the clubs alternate hosting duties every year, and this time it was our turn,” Mattera said. “It was really a great experience. Our goal was to bring everyone together and get to know the other members associated with their respective clubs.”

Sheepshead Bay Yacht Club making memories. Photo by David Shin
Sheepshead Bay Yacht Club making memories. Photo by David Shin

“All in all, it was an event of camaraderie for the love of the sea and boating,” said Mattera.“Our members worked together to ensure that our guests had a good time. We wanted to show them how proud we are of our club and how we are a family here at Varuna, and I think that we accomplished that.”

Mattera also pointed out that the Brooklyn waterfront is ideal for embarkation not only to the open seas of the Atlantic but to many channels, bays and harbors of the metropolitan region. 

Joshua Reder, vice commodore of Miramar, hosted the Blessing in 2023 and said it’s great to meet new members and catch up with former members in each club.

Varuna Boat Club’s aquavit. Photo courtesy of Steven Mattera
Varuna Boat Club’s aquavit. Photo courtesy of Steven Mattera

“But it can also be a special day for their guests that may have never sailed before or never even been on a boat to be exposed to that environment,” Reder noted. “It could potentially entice them to sail down the line.”

“The fact of the matter is that if more people sailed, therapists and psychiatrists would go out of business,” Reder said with a smile. 

The “therapy” of being out on the water can make one forget about personal problems, Reder pointed out.

“It’s incredibly tranquil and, at least to me, very spiritual,” he said.


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