2005-07-21 / Front Page

Great Lakes Cruisers Sail Away From St. Ignace Rendezvous; City Hopes for Return Visit

By Stephen Underwood

The Great Lakes Cruising Club left the St. Ignace Marina Wednesday, July 13, feeling pretty good about its summer rendezvous here, and city administrators said they hope to bring the group back in three to five years.

During the commodore’s dinner at Little Bear East the night before, past commodore and rendezvous chairman Joe Mesenburg said the club was delighted with the marina.

“They spent a lot of time doing things for us,” he said. “I can’t thank them enough. This rendezvous was a group effort.”

He specifically mentioned the upgrade to the marina’s power system to accommodate the larger, power-hungry boats with air conditioning and other electrical amenities. The voltage on the breakers was increased from 300 to 400 amps, and 40 new 50-amp plugs were installed on the pedestals between slips after a boating club complained last year.

The Great Lakes Cruising Club brought 112 boats to the new St. Ignace marina. They took 98 of the harbor’s 140 slips and contributed about $25,000 in dockage fees and purchased about $40,000 in fuel, said Eugene Elmer, the marina director.

“It was a very successful event and everything went smoothly,” he said. “They said they were really happy with our marina and St. Ignace. They’ve already got marinas reserved for this the next two years, but we hope to get them back here in three to five.”

He recognized Bob Boynton, a member of the club from St. Ignace who was the Port Captain, for is help in getting the rendezvous to St. Ignace.

“He really helped get them here initially,” said Mr. Elmer. “It was really a two-and-a-half-year process getting them here.”

About 330 members and their families, some of them staying in nearby motels, began arriving July 8 for the annual Summer Rendezvous, and were afforded first class attention, including a daily flag raising ceremony by the U.S. Coast Guard and the singing of the national anthem.

The commodore’s dinner, with 330 in attendance, was held on the floor of the ice arena instead of the conference rooms, to accommodate the large crowd. There, the club thanked dockmaster Jeff Davenport and his staff and Mayor Bruce Dodson presented the club with the key to the city and some marina staff jackets for some of the club officers.

The Commodore’s Trophy, for the club member traveling the furthest, was given by Commodore Bob Barclay to Ralph and Mary Lou Heninger of Davenport, Iowa, who traveled 1,100 miles up the Mississippi River to get to the rendezvous.

Jim and Karen Lawler and Bill and Linda Heidebreicht were recognized for 25 years in the club, and John Winter raised $1,600 for the club’s charitable foundation in an auction.

Ardy Barclay, wife of the commodore and given the nickname “Mackinac Mindy,” gave the top prize in the pet show to Jaquie Dever for her Brittany, Maggie, and the volleyball match was won by the power boaters.

Cathi Dix and Bill Kelsey won the horseshoe competitions. Quipped Mr. Kelsey, who claimed to have played hockey for 25 years without recognition, “I can tell my friends I got a first-place trophy in an ice hockey rink in Michigan.”

Next year, the club will have its summer rendezvous at Hilton Beach, St. Joseph’s Island, Ontario.

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