THE CLUB SIGNAL
The Club Burgee’s central device, roughly a 3-legged “A” without the horizontal bar, represents the “Broad Arrow” or King’s Mark, by ancient usage affixed to property of the British Royal Navy.
Beginning in the 1680’s upon the British Admiralty’s imposition of the Broad Arrow Policy on the Piscataqua Region and Down East Maine, Royal surveyors would blaze the King’s Mark onto select White Pines 24 inches and more in diameter. Appropriated by the Crown’s appointed Surveyors of Pines and Timber, these choice specimens were reserved as masts in the service of the Royal Navy and for no other purpose.
The mast export trade was a source of great wealth for the King’s surveyors and agents, and provided employment for hundreds of tradesmen, lumbermen, teamsters and boatmen engaged in felling, hewing and transporting the mast trees. The sovereign Broad Arrow Policy however was also resented and disregarded by colonialists who, as a matter of natural law, were pleased to freely convert these providential resources for their own profit and purposes while finding the King’s authority far removed.
The mark of the Broad Arrow central to the Club’s signal is scarlet in color, signifying the nearly 100 years of existential warfare between the contending British colonialists and displaced Native Americans and their French allies. Starting with King Philip’s War in 1675, there was continuous bloodshed and terror in the Piscataqua Region through King William’s War, Lovewell’s War and countless unnamed raids and counter-raids until the cessation of hostilities with the Treaty of Paris in 1763.
By 1725, the Province of Maine beyond Kittery, York and Wells was largely depopulated by decades of hostilities and empty of colonial British settlement. For many years, the site now occupied by the Club was a war-zone of contended ground which the colonialists tenaciously defended against Native Americans who were equally desperate in reclaiming for their own survival. It is no accident that the sacrifices made in defense of their homeland, and ferocity and fighting skills harshly learned in the crucible of a hundred year war of attrition, forged in New Englanders the indomitable courage, resolution and preparedness to later openly defy the increasingly burdensome yoke of British Crown policy and ignite the American Revolution.
Turning again to the Club signal, the white field shaped as a funnel, the mouth of which is the burgee’s truck narrowing as a channel to its point, represents the anchorage long ago known as “the Great Cove”, today occupied by the Club’s slips and moorings. The encompassing remainder of the burgee in Navy blue signifies the home waters of the Piscataqua and Gulf of Maine, the natural element of the Club fleet and the scene of centuries of sea-faring history and traditions.
HISTORY OF THE GREAT COVE BOAT CLUB
The Great Cove Boat Club is located on the Kittery/Eliot town line on the Maine side of the Piscataqua River, across from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and just up-river from the I-95 Bridge. The Club is centered in the Piscataqua Maritime Region, renowned for having one of the richest and most complete nautical histories in America.
English settlers established themselves on the banks of the Piscataqua nearly 400 years ago, originally to trade and fish, but soon developed a burgeoning maritime and naval ship-building industry and a strategically critical supplier of masts for the Royal Navy. The first warship produced in North America was the 50-gun HMS Falkland in 1696 on an island just downriver from the Club. Launched from this same site in 1776 and 1777 were the Continental Navy frigates Raleigh and Ranger, constructed under the energetic supervision of John Paul Jones, the Father of the American Navy. As Captain of the Ranger, Jones sailed to Quiberon, France in early 1778, and received from its harbor fort the first recognition by a foreign government of the new American flag proudly flying from its mast.
During the mid- 19th century, many of the largest and fastest Clipper ships in the world—including the Typhoon, Red Rover, Dashing Wave, Sierra Nevada, Sea Serpent, and Wild Pigeon—were built on the banks of the Piscataqua above and below the Club, materially consolidating the United States as a major maritime power, second only to Great Britain.
Downriver from the Club, the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, established in 1800 and the oldest continuously operating shipyard in the US Navy, already had a long and storied record of distinction and achievement with the on-set of WWII. Its astounding submarine building program during the war years however may be the most glorious chapter in the history of the Yard. Launching 71 attack fleet submarines in less than 5 years, in addition to repairing and refitting many others, contributed immeasurably to the total defeat of the maritime-dependent Empire of Japan. The Yard of course continues to the present day as an important refit center for the Navy’s modern fleet of nuclear subs.
With the decline of New England’s fisheries and shipbuilding after the war years, the industrial infrastructure of the Piscataqua Region’s waterfront also entered a period of decline and neglect. In the event, recreational boating became affordable and popular with an equitable sharing of income produced by a strong American economy in the 1950’s and ‘60’s. Accordingly, with waterfront prices then depressed, several recreational marinas were established and expanded in the region. [Also during this time, starting in the early 1960’s with the historic preservation activities of the newly-founded Srawbery Banke in Portsmouth, there was renewed interest in and promotion of its history and that of the Piscatqua Region. Since then, the area has undergone a cultural renaissance transforming it to one of the most attractive and desirable areas in New England to live, work and recreate.
As part of an increased demand for recreational boating in the region, Jerry’s Marina in Eliot was developed and operated by the Berounsky family from the late 1950’s to the mid 1980’s.
This family-owned marina was then re-developed and re-organized in 1986-1987, and the Great Cove Boat Club emerged as a private, boating member-owned and managed social club in 1988-1989, for the following organizational purposes.
Presently, the Great Cove Boat Club has more than a 100 members during the boating season, and provides a full complement of services by friendly and knowledgeable staff and members in support and encouragement of what is perhaps the finest recreational boating in New England. There is every reason to believe the Club has much more history to come.
OFFICERS & COMMITTEES
Greg Mahanna, President - email@example.com
John Norling Vice President & Membership Chair - firstname.lastname@example.org
Bob Viel, Treasurer - email@example.com
Mike Kryskow, Operations Chair - firstname.lastname@example.org
Jonathan Morse, Programs Chair - email@example.com
Tom Raynor, Secretary - firstname.lastname@example.org
Butch Madden, Operations Mgr - email@example.com