At the Helm
In life, we often hear about ‘how it used to be’… with TMCA, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I love history and can listen for hours to our members’ stories and almost always learn something from them. Hank Knippa, Commodore 2001, sent me a few articles from some of our original members and I want to share one with you written by Tom Campbell, Commodore 1983 & 1986.
THE TMCA EARLY DAYS
As one of two last founding members of the TMCA, Jim McIntyre and I were
asked to provide a few articles that would help the newer members visualize what life was like way back in the "Good Old Days" or as Babs Streisand sang it "The Way We Were". Our goals were pretty much the same, but our methods may have been somewhat different, if not considered antiquated from our lack of experience and foresight. I would like to give a little overview that I wrote for our ten-year anniversary that sort of explains our humble beginning.
Though we did not realize it at the time, the actual beginning of the club started with the placing of signs at the entrances to Watergate and Seabrook Marinas, "CRUISE TO REDFISH SATURDAY-MEET AT MARKER #2 AT 10:00 A.M. The same memo was also put into the monthly billing letters of the same marinas. This worked very well for a few months but choosing not to take advantage of our gracious "Dock Lords", we developed a list of people and we started doing our own mailing and calling. This was catalyst enough and in a short time the exercise became too time consuming and costly to continue as a hobby. A meeting was called at Vince's Fuel Dock in Watergate and the name Texas Mariners Cruising Association was adopted.
Since the cruising club was a new idea for us and many of us were fairly inexperienced boaters, a giant learning curve was there to negotiate. Some of our first adventures on this learning curve produced things such as a ten-boat raft up on one anchor in twenty-five knot winds and we wondered why we were dragging at 2:00 A.M. as a thunderstorm passed over our anchorage. One time at Sabine Pass, we lost five anchors due to our lack of foresight, skills and experience. Like they say, "Experience is the best teacher", except she charges for her services.
I recall one of our first Turkey Day Cruises when we had twenty-one boats rafted up at the U-Tote-UM store in Offatts Bayou. I am not sure what brand it is now, but that is the one over on 61st Street. We had turkey and all the trimmings and served all the food from one boat.
Some of our first meetings were navigation classes on how to get to Red Fish Island because we were losing "Mariners" in route to the tropical pile of oyster shells and beer cans. To our amazement, there were many people that did not know of life beyond Redfish, so more sophisticated and extensive navigation classes were required.
Some of our first meeting places were the storage room of what is now the Claudio's, the Busch Brewery, Clear Lake Park, personal homes and offices. As the club grew and matured, the need for better defined rules and procedures were required. Terms like "By Laws" and "Roberts Rules of Order" were as common as "Starboard Tack", "Trim the Jib" and "While you're down there". It took several years of hard work by many people, but organization finally came. Even though we are not perfect, I think we are far ahead of whatever club is in second place, so if I may use some words from a noted News Broadcaster Water Cronkite, "That is the way it was and the way it is", and it is up to us to make it how it is going to be.
Captain Tom Campbell
It amazes me how far we’ve come, yet how much of TMCA’s initial intent remains the same. We can continue to help the newer members, not just visualize, but experience ‘how it used to be’, because we still enjoy the same things today. The common thread in those articles was the same we share now – our love of boating, our desire to learn to be better boaters, our comradery, sense of adventure and having fun!
BOATING * LEARNING * FRIENDSHIP * FUN
I continue to be encouraged by the number of new members, the attendance at our meetings, the participation in dock parties, cruises and social events, as well as the feedback I receive from members. Your input and participation are what helps TMCA continue to thrive.
We have 4 cruises, a return to traditional style dock party, our monthly meeting and the W.O.W. class planned in May, so the calendar is active. Hopefully there is something that interests you and you will join us for some of the upcoming events.
I have also added information for Tom Smith’s Burial at Sea Services on May 23rd. Myrna Smith was very moved that some members had expressed interest in paying tribute to him. If any boats want to cruise down to give him a send-off with TMCA Burgees flying, please contact me.
Burial at Sea Ceremony for Tom Smith
TMCA Founder and First Commodore
May 23, 2021 at 5:00 pm
The family will depart from Galveston Yacht Basin, Dock B.
Any members that would like to pay tribute by boat or land, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we can coordinate.
If you have some new TMCA members in your marina, please introduce yourself and encourage them to attend some of our activities. Maybe tell them one of our stories, offer experience on a project or help them navigate our website. Let them know that the more you participate in TMCA, the more you will gain from it and the more FUN you will have!
Ladye Jane Stone