Proper protocol for saying goodbye

Published on October 23rd, 2023

The yachting fraternity has its traditions, with Donald Street offering the proper protocol for saying goodbye:

In the late 1970s, all the 80s, and first half of the 90s, I spent a lot of time in amid the fantastic cruising grounds of Venezuela, and my new friends taught me the proper way to say goodbye to a fellow sailor who has departed on the long voyage to sailor’s Valhalla where winds are fair and the seas are smooth.

Take a glass or a bottle of your favorite drink, walk to the end of the pier, hoist your glass as a toast to your departed friend, drink half of the glass, and pour the other half into the sea for your departed friend.

But there are variations too.

Patience Wales, long-time editor of Sail magazine, was a resourceful lady. Her husband Knowles Pitman, a well-known sailor, yachting editor, writer, and founder of One Design and Off Shore Yachtsman magazine (now Sailing World), was well known and liked throughout the US yachting industry, died during the winter season.

Patience had a remembrance party for her husband, but it was too cold to drag everyone down to the pier, plus the harbor was frozen over so drinks could not be poured into the sea. But Patience found a solution in a big old fashioned galvanized wash tub.

She press ganged a couple of her husband’s old friends to chop a hole thru the Massachusetts ice and bring about five gallons of good salty Ipswich Harbor salt water to the house and dump it in the wash tub.

Then at the party, she assembled everyone around the wash tub, drinks in hand. One old friend did a short remembrance speech, then asked all to raise their glass in a toast to Knowles, drink half and pour the other half into the salt water in the wash tub for Knowles.

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