Hosting a Cruise

potluck on Carol Lee
Cruise potluck

Hosting a cruise involves (1) set a time and place for the potluck appropriate to the destination; (2) if the destination is a dock, make arrangements with the facility well in advance to accommodate our visit; and (3) at an appropriate time before the cruise announce details to the membership. It is supposed to be more fun than effort.

The purpose of our cruises is to enjoy boating among friends. Cruises are great times to share stories, knowledge, and experiences. Each year a cruise schedule is organized by the Rear Commodore, a process most efficiently done by convening a committee of potential cruise hosts (also called cruise captains), preferably with co-hosts (it’s a lot more fun), then organize the details of each cruise.

Beyond the foregoing basics, additional activities, if any, are up to the discretion of the cruise host. Activities that may add to the enjoyment of the event are often organized by the cruise host who may wish to add some creativity to their cruise. Over the years there has been a very wide range of activities from simple cruise themes or scavenger hunts to dinghy races, contests, or navigation challenges. There have been additional potluck or pancake breakfasts, hors d’oeuvre on a preceding evening, and music sessions. Some hosts, known for breakfast rolls, etc., have distributed their specialties in the morning. It is all about fun on the water—most of which is simply just getting us together. Activities are usually not elaborate and are not expected.

There are no real traditional activities other than the potluck. Some activities are repeated from year to year and other activities are unique to an individual host. Cruise hosts are free to employ their creativity, to reach to the past or keep the cruise simple.

Relative to some mechanics: For cruises where boats will be anchoring, the cruise host need to determine a place for the traditional potluck, which may be aboard a boat, aboard a raft of boats, ashore, at the dock, etc.

Announcements these days are largely handled by e-mail. Text messaging is sometimes a better way but not everyone has text capability. Over the years we have found that it is effective to take a little time (maybe a lot of time) to make phone calls to the membership. Turnout is almost always better. It shows personal interest and it also gives the cruise hosts feedback about who might or might not be coming, a great help in getting things together. For dock destinations, the host may need information for making reservations. Often times members must be asked to make their own reservations for moorage payment and arrival time..

Finally, except for the shake-down cruise, shorter cruises are generally considered overnight (one night) where the potluck would be the afternoon or evening preceding the night. Longer cruises to Garrison Bay or Stewart Island, for example, are usually planned for three days with the end days for traveling and the middle day for the potluck and any activities.

How to Host a Cruise12-garrison-bay-raft-from-young-hill-9-4-16s

  1. Sign up as a host or co-host by signing on the sign-up sheet or contacting the Rear Commodore.
  2. Reserve marina space if required
  3. Provide information to membership about the cruise by phone, email (via Lorretta) or personal contact including hosts’ contact information
  4. Plan a place for a potluck meal
  5. Decide what activities if any you are willing to host as part of the cruise
  6. Provide members with a schedule for when activities are planned
  7. Collect names of those attending, their contact information and their anticipated departure and arrival times
  8. Send reminders about the cruise (2 weeks before, 1 week before)
  9. If you have questions, ask any member or the Rear Commodore for help
  10. After the cruise send a brief report about the cruise to the Rear Commodore

Cruise Cancellation Protocol

Ultimately the decision to venture out on the water is up to each skipper and crew. However, there may be circumstances such as weather that would require the cancellation of a cruise. In the event that cancellation is necessary, please consider the following:

  1. Cruise hosts keep track of boats planning to attend with departure date and time and contact information.
  2. Cruise hosts monitor weather forecasts
  3. If the cruise needs to be canceled for any reason consult the Rear Commodore or Commodore if possible before a final decision is made. If weather is the issue, consulting other boats attending the cruise is encouraged.
  4. The decision to cancel should be made two hours before the earliest departure time, if possible.
  5. If possible, a general notice to the membership should be made by emailing Lorretta (

You can download and print these procedures as well as a cruise participant form HERE