The Maritime Report: Sailors' Hands Across the Sea

The Maritime Report: Sailors' Hands Across the Sea

Dave Bloch

The letters to and from Lidingö, Sweden are posted below.

In celebration of the America's Cup and the Artemis Racing team choosing Alameda for their local base, the seven yacht clubs of the "Island City" recently sent a letter (a real paper one) signed by all the Commodores to the head of the Lidingö Segelsällskäp in Lidingö, Sweden. As you may have read in this space before, Lidingö is one of Alameda's sister cities, appropriate as both are islands connected to a major city (Oakland and Stockholm, respectively).

Sent by Alameda’s Island Yacht Club Commodore Kristen Soetebier, the letter introduces our clubs to the Lidingö sailors with hopes that some of their members might be coming to our area over the next year for America's Cup events. It sends a hearty "Välkomna!" welcoming any visiting club members to "please accept our invitation to come and enjoy our hospitality."

The Transatlantic mails took a while, but Island Yacht Club received a letter on September 20. LSS Chair Bengt Gustafsson gratefully accepted our invitation on behalf of his members! In his exact words:

"It is delightful to receive such an invitation from collegues (sp) and sailors in our Sister City in California. It makes our great world a little smaller and comfortably warmer, we feel. It prolonged our sailing season to watch the homepages of your Yacht Clubs!" (Our letter included images of the seven Alameda clubs' Website home pages.)

"Now the information is spread amongst LSS and the Yacht Club members.... The inivitation is also forwarded to the other 10 Yacht Clubs on Lidingö. ...we are very greatful (sp) for the invitation and the contact, which hopefully can be the beginning of a new friendship between our Yacht Clubs and Sister Cities."

It seems to your reporter that this kind of connection is exactly what Sister Cities programs are supposed to be about. It is also an example of how having an international event like the America’s Cup can create an opportunity for bringing people in different cultures closer together. I know that if any of these folks decide to make the trip over, they’ll receive a warm welcome here in our Island City!