In the sailing community, the death of a friend or family member is often recognized by an “Eight Bells” ceremony. The idea comes from the days of a sailor’s watch being marked each hour by the ringing of a bell: 2 bells at the end of the first hour, 4 at the second, 6 at the third, and then 8 bells to mark the end of their 4-hour watch. “Eight bells and all is well” is a time-honored announcement that has made it into the land vernacular as well.
There was a special Eight Bells ceremony at Island Yacht Club in January, as it marked the passing of James Rhoda, the very first Commodore of IYC when it was formed in 1970. Dozens of his family and friends from around the country gathered at IYC for dinner, music, and the celebration of his life. Jim and his sons and brothers were well-known in sports around the Bay Area, and there were big displays of photos, newspaper clippings, trophies and lots of memorabilia. It was a happy and meaningful afternoon, and emphasized the closeness that develops around the members of our local organizations.