Great Cove Boat Club

The Safe and Sociable Home Port for Southern Maine and Portsmouth, New Hampshire

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The Club Signal

The Great Cove Boat Club BurgeeThe 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.