Burgee Burgee Flag

March 2024



13 April:  Dock Day! 8:30am


May 1:  Paddle Safety Class 6:30pm

May 4: Entry level Race Committee training

May 11: Cruise planning social gathering

May 18: Couples Cruising Safety Full Day Seminar 

May 21: Paddle Safety Class 6:30pm





Happy March to all:

The St. Patrick’s day parade was be held on Saturday March 16th. Our kitchen staff prepared a delicious corned beef and cabbage dinner with all the fixings after the parade.

The search for a new general manager has been started. Advertising will begin appearing in local media outlets. If you have a referral, please direct to Vice Commodore F.J. Ritt vicecommodore@newportyachtclub.org

As part of the club’s effort to control costs, a fee of 3% will soon be added to all payments when a credit card is used by a member for all club charges. This helps offset the fee charged by credit card companies. Members will be informed via blast email when the practice becomes effective for food and beverage in the lounge point of sale computer system.

On Sunday March 10th we all turned our clocks ahead one hour, providing us with longer daylight and the beginning of warmer sun. With that in mind, the club staff is getting ready for a great 2024 boating season. It was a mild winter so that should mean a hot summer!!! Our commissioning day is coming quickly, it will be held on Saturday June 1st, details to follow.

Wishing you and yours a happy spring!

All the best,

Bob and Rosalie




Question: What is the proper way to fly flags on a gaff-rigged pole?

That is probably the most frequently asked question received by the USPS Flag & Etiquette Committee. Gaff-rigged poles are used by navies, boaters and yacht clubs around the world. Onshore, the “yacht club style flagpole” with a gaff represents the mast of a ship. A gaff-rigged pole may, or may not, have a yardarm or crosstree.

A gaff-rigged pole with a yardarm is illustrated on the left flying a yacht club burgee and an officer flag. (Gaff-rigged pole flying USPS flags)

Many people are confused about the proper way to fly the national ensign from a gaff-rigged pole. As depicted in the drawing on the left, the national ensign should be flown from the gaff and the club or organization burgee should be flown at the masthead.

The gaff-rigged pole had its origins at sea. Because of all the sail carried by the rigging of these vessels, the flag of a nation could not be clearly viewed if it was placed at the top of the mast. The stern of the vessel was the position of command and the captain’s quarters were located aft. Early boats also had the nobleman’s banner, king’s banner, or English ensign staff fixed to the stern rail. As sails changed, long booms sweep across the stern rail every time the ship tacked, so the ensign staff had to be removed when the ship was under way. Since the captain and other officers were still aft, the nearest position from which they found it practical to fly the ensign was the gaff. Over time, this became the place of honor to display the national flag. When the ship was moored, the ensign staff was set up again on the stern rail. 

This was the practice in the eighteenth century, when the U.S. Navy was created. Now that warships are made of steel and the signal mast no longer carries a boom, our navy still flies the ensign at the gaff peak when under way and at the ensign staff when not underway. There is no law specifying how a flag should fly on a gaff-rigged pole, instead it is based on long standing nautical tradition. 

The usual argument given by those that think it is wrong to fly the national ensign from the gaff is that the national ensign is flying below a club burgee or other flag contrary to the Flag Code. Notice that even when the national ensign is flown from the stern of a ship, it is lower in height than other flags flying on the ship. When the ensign is flown from a gaff-rigged pole, a flag flown at the top of the mast is not considered above the ensign because it is not being flown directly above the ensign on the same halyard.

The ensign should be flown from the highest point of honor, and over time, that has become the peak of the gaff. Flying the national ensign from the top of the mast while flying another flag at the gaff would be flying another flag in a position of superior honor since the peak of the gaff is the highest point of honor.

Sourced from United States Power Squadron


Congratulations to Dennis Ferreira on his appointment as Fleet Captain. His first message is a request. Please give him your thoughts. See below.

Get ready for some summer fun in and around the water!

As your fleet captain, I am looking for your input. Please take just a few minutes to click this link and RESPOND TO A SIMPLE SURVEY https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Q7MLTJD to help me plan activities of interest to you. I am also organizing a social on May 11 to discuss potential cruise opportunities and have spoken with Adirondack about a Club sail in June…more details to follow. I’m looking forward to a great season of sailing and boating with my fellow club members.

Dennis Ferreira, Fleet Captain.


The Royal Western Yacht Club of England will run its major transatlantic races, the Original Single-handed Transatlantic Race (OSTAR) and the Two-handed Transatlantic Race (TWOSTAR), again in 2024. Once again the Newport Yacht Club will support this highly significant sailing event as it has for nearly a quarter century.

Per the Royal Western, the OSTAR represents the birth of transoceanic single handed oceanic sailing, noting “in 1956 Blondie Hasler became interested in the challenges of offshore singlehanded sailing – “one man, one boat, the ocean…”. Over the next few years he conceived of a transatlantic race against the prevailing winds and currents whose purpose was to develop the necessary seamanship, equipment and techniques.

One hundred sailors sent in letters of intent for this race, only eight started and five finished. “Self-steering gear was in its most basic homemade form, roller-reefing sails were just a dream and there were no satellite navigation systems or weather routing, just hand-held compasses and sextants. The five pioneer yachtsmen took very different options, with Blondie Hasler (Jester 25ft) opting for an extreme Northern route, Francis Chichester (Gipsy Moth III 40ft) and David Lewis (Cardinal Vertue 25ft) on the Great Circle route and Val Howells (Eira 25ft) and Jean Lacombe (Cap Horn 21.5ft) on the Azores route.”

The 2024 race will commence on 5 May.  Newport Yacht Club Past Commodore Norm Bailey, who also serves as assistant race director for the Royal Western Yacht Club will be on hand for the start in the U.K., returning to the U.S. on 7 May.

The Newport Yacht Club will once again host the finish of the race, with the first competitors expected to arrive twenty to twenty-one days after the start. This will coincide with our 1 June Commissioning Day for the Club and the Commodore of the Royal Western is expected to be here for the event.

All who finish the race will receive a medallion from the City of Newport.  Commodore Bob Antignano will award the OSTAR Line Honors winner the famous Around the World Alone trophy plate currently housed in our Club’s display cabinet. 

The Club is very active in single-handed sailing events with many devoted competitors and is pleased to support this time-honored sailing tradition.


Each summer, 130 young sailors enjoy time on the water through the Newport Yacht Club Marine Adventure Camp.  The Camp provides a unique experience for Campers ages 8-15 and is open to Campers with any level of sailing experience or background. The Marine Adventure Camp is a unique alternative to the many racing programs available on Narragansett Bay, building Camper confidence and life-long skills.

The goal is to keep the program affordable, so the fees charged do not cover the full cost of operating the program, requiring the raising of additional funds. Fortunately, through the generosity of donors, 15% of the campers who participated in the program last year received scholarships.  Scholarship donations are greatly appreciated; however, those donations are restricted specifically for scholarships and cannot be used for any other purpose. 

Unrestricted donations are needed to help cover other program costs such as fleet maintenance, fleet replacement and increased costs for wages, fuel and insurance.

 How can you help you ask? Easy, sponsor one of the Junior Sailing boats.  Simply decide on a name which could be your spouse, family, your pet, a favorite location. . . your choice and it will be placed on one of the boats in the Junior Sailing fleet.  Your generous $500 donation will go a long way to help keep the Newport Yacht Club Junior Sailing program one of the top programs on Narragansett Bay.

What will Sponsors Receive?

  • Personal Name, Business name or an appropriate name / saying on forward quarter of a junior sailing dinghy. (4” X 36” max)
  • Thank you note with picture of camper sailing in branded boat to be e-mailed to you.
  • Recognition on the public-facing home page of the NYC website.
  • Recognition in the NYC Burgee e-newsletter
  • On-water exposure – June – August. Approximately 60% of time on water in Newport Harbor 40% in East passage / Narraganset Bay.

Please feel free to contact the Junior Sailing Committee to sponsor your boat:

Michael Barszcz             609-553-7258   mbarszcz@aol.com 

Albert Sgambato            401-230-8804   sgamal01@aol.com 

Aedan Gleeson                              508-294-5383  aedan@gleesonpowers.com 

Steve Morin                      617-640-0589  samorinri@gmail.com


Our spring 2024 dock day is on April 13 at 8:30 am. We need about a dozen volunteers to prepare our marina for the 2024 summer season. If you are interested in volunteering, please send an email to Andy Vouras at andyvou@verizon.net.

After all the marina contracts are finalized by the end of March, we plan to open the waiting lists for slips, corral spaces and dinghy and kayak rack spaces in April.  Space remains tight.  The first step is to get on the appropriate list if you are interested.  No action required yet, but please look for an announcement in early April regarding how to apply.

You may have noticed a new item in the Members-only section in the club website. Now all marina assignments are posted on-line in addition to the hallway bulletin board for everyone’s convenience.

Andy Vouras Chair, Float and Dock Committee


Even at this early stage we’re getting ready for the start of the sailing season, and there are several new things worth letting you know about:

On May 4th we’re hosting a free entry level training for those wanting to join the Race Committee Team and you can get the details from the notices that Jackie Dietrich has posted at the Club.   It’s meant to be fun and informative with a free sandwich lunch, and we’ll be backing up the training subsequently with several on-the-water race simulations using the Club regatta boat “Volunteer”.  Please go to the calendar of events on the Club website to register for this training.

On a more technical level, we’ve asked the Ensigns to conform to the two season racing format that other classes use on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, and they’ve graciously consented.  (Future race scorers will be grateful!)

We’re also working with Fleet Captain Dennis Ferreira to help encourage our members (both youth and not-so-youth members) to have a bit more fun with mainly self-directed races in July and August.  We also expect that racing might sometimes deteriorate to enjoyment of a sunset sail, as there aren’t any particular rules for these “races”.  We can use Sail Newport’s J22s and possibly also the Club’s 420s for this.  This is meant to be a fun and social mixing event for all ages and abilities.  To gauge your interest in this the Fleet Captain has initiated a survey and we’d be grateful for as much feedback as possible so that we can get our plans in motion.

Looking for a fun-filled racing season!

Alan Renfrew Chair, Regatta Committee


Our Club started its 39th year of hosting blood drives with another successful effort on February 25th and met the goal of 15 successful donations with both reserved and walk-in donors participating.  Thank you to the lifesavers who gave a bit of themselves to help others in need.  

Congratulations and fair winds to Harry and Agnes Scott, stalwart blood donation coordinators for 34 years!  Their dedication saw the club surpass its 30th anniversary of blood donations in 2015 and has resulted in over 1,000 pints donated over their many years of service to the club and the (now) Rhode Island Blood Center.  Harry and Agnes were there for every yearly drive, and for the past 15 years twice a year welcoming donors and coordinating the specifics between the Blood Center and our Club.  The blood center staff have always fought for the chance to work our drives, Harry and Agnes made these drives possible.  

With Harry’s mentorship, Mary Jo Valdes and Dave Davis have stepped up in his and Agnes’ stead.  If you have any questions (or fears) of blood donation, don’t hesitate to contact either of us.  We hope you plan to donate at the next blood drive in early June.


Registration for the Offshore 160 and the New England Solo/Twin is now open and they have started coming in.  New for this year will be trackers on all the boats similar to the trackers used for the Bermuda One-Two.