09 May Suma Yacht Club
Suma Yacht Club and Seattle Yacht Club have a long-standing friendship. Every three years, members from one club fly to the other, alternating who hosts and who travels. This year, 31 Suma Yacht Club members are traveling to Seattle, where they’ll be hosted at the homes of Seattle Yacht Club members, compete in sailboat races, and to enjoy Opening Day festivities. We visited Suma Yacht Club just a few weeks before the members departed for Seattle.
We’d been coordinating with Commodore Kotera and Yumiko Akegi for several weeks prior to our visit and agreed on a specific arrival time in advance. A group of members on a Grand Banks escorted us in. Another member waving an American flag saluted us from the breakwater.
Yet another group of members, including the Commodore and his wife, met us on the dock, flowers in hand.
A throwback to Starr’s 2011 visit to Suma YC!
We felt far more important than we actually are! Once Starr was secure, we invited our new friends aboard.
At Seattle Yacht Club, Starr isn’t that special. Dozens of boats are larger, newer, fancier. Here at Suma Yacht Club, Starr was twice the size of most other boats and entirely different in purpose and style. I spent much of the time in the engine room, sharing information and answering questions. One of the Suma Yacht Club members works as a ship engineer. He took many photos of the machinery and praised the cleanliness, which brought smiles to Don and me.
After visiting onboard, we were summoned to the clubhouse. Members had prepared a welcome feast, complete with plentiful snacks, soba, sushi, and a champagne toast. We should have taken more photos!
The next day I was walking out the gate to find lunch somewhere nearby. It was a cold, rainy day. Two Suma YC members, Mr. Taniguchi and Mr. Usui, saw me and we chatted briefly. I asked if they knew of a good udon place nearby. Get in the car, they said, we’re having lunch together! They dropped what they were doing, drove me to an udon restaurant, and ate lunch with me. It was delicious and we enjoyed great conversation. Thank you!
That night, Kei, Teiko, and Azusa Maruyama stopped by. Sharry and Don met them in Honolulu, where they have a condo.
After visiting on Starr, we went to a nearby sushi restaurant for dinner.
We don’t starve when we’re eating out by ourselves. Using Google Translate, we manage to order food at restaurants, but the dining experience is so much better with Japanese hosts to help us. Kei, Teiko, and Azusa not only helped translate the menu, but they also explained the intricacies of the restaurant, asked the chef about his favorite items, and so forth. Much more fun than dining alone!
We happened to be at Suma Yacht Club for an important sailboat race and we agreed to host a group of bystanders on Starr. When race day came, however, it was too windy. Even though the race was cancelled, we enjoyed visiting with more new friends throughout the morning.
After visiting all morning, Don and Celeste got a ride from to a grocery store and hardware store (thank you Mr. Taniguchi!). Sharry and I went with Yumiko, Tetsuo, and Noriko for a curry udon lunch.
Suma Yacht Club hosted a party in our honor the last night we were there. Another feast! They had sushi, pizza, snacks of all sorts, and plenty of beer and wine.
Talking with the members was a highlight of our time in Japan. They’re a diverse bunch–one moment we’d be talking with a doctor, the next to an inspector for Bureau Veritas (French nautical classification society), then to an executive at a ship navigation software manufacturer, and then a university professor. All of the members spoke better English than we spoke Japanese. They are universally passionate about the water and boats and all were interested in our journey.
We gave a short presentation about our trip, focused on the Japanese portion. Many of the members have capable sailboats that would be perfect for cruising all around Japan. We hope that our journey inspires a few members to travel a little further than they have in the past!
Thank you Suma Yacht Club for making our visit so special! We hope you have had a wonderful trip to Seattle!!