Expert advice on running a yacht club

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‘Yachting Customs and Courtesies’ offers history, tradition and points of etiquette

‘Yachting Customs and Courtesies’ offers history, tradition and points of etiquette

Joseph Tringali could have named his book, “Everything You Wanted to Know About Running a Yacht Club — and More,” but he has given it a more modest title, “Yachting Customs and Courtesies.”

In its third edition and first in hardcover, “Yachting Customs and Courtesies” is a handbook in coffee-table format for club officers or anyone curious about the history and tradition of yacht clubs, and the practical aspects of running one. Where else could you find a section on toasting and how to make a proper one? Or tips for speaking after dinner (Never begin with an apology, overcome the temptation to tell a joke, prepare your thoughts, be quick and relevant)?

Need to learn how to salute? Tringali’s got it. Proper uniform? How to display flags? Scripts for club ceremonies from the change of watch to the commodore’s ball? Legal implications of club membership? How to start a club? Fun activities? Tringali suggests navigation and piloting contests, poker runs and “fish and feast” picnics.

Tringali is an amateur historian and assistant Florida attorney general. He also is a former commodore of two yacht clubs, a past commander of the Buffalo Power Squadron and past president of the Florida district of the International Order of the Blue Gavel, an association of yacht club commodores. This volume reflects his broad expertise and his own experiences in the trenches.

The section on speechmaking took shape after he heard a particularly bad after-dinner speaker. “The guy didn’t know how to tell a joke,” says Tringali. “I got so infuriated with the whole thing, I wrote a section called, ‘How to give an after-dinner talk.’”

Tringali’s 470-page tome includes the Stars Register of Clubs and Flags, a listing of burgees and contact information for more than 2,000 yacht clubs, including clubs in 36 foreign countries. He and his wife Mary Lou have taken over ownership and compilation of the registry from its founders, Atley Moe and Christina Thyree, he says.

The burgees are organized in the registry by color so if a boater sees one on the water and doesn’t recognize it, he can look it up by its color.

“It’s a brilliant idea,” says Tringali, and he owes it to Moe and Thyree.

Residents of North Palm Beach, the Tringalis publish the book themselves as a hobby. “Yachting Customs and Courtesies” (Calkins Harbor Publishing, Lake Park, Fla. 2006, $49.95) is available at bookstores or online at

www.calkinsharbor.com.