Twenty-five past commodores who are members of the International Order of the Blue Gavel (IOBG) arrived in the Marina Thursday, August 19th, along with their partners, looking forward to ordinary food, meetings and a departure back home.

But they were totally surprised with the reception they received from local hosts — including:

n IOBG district director Dave Phelps, past commodore of Santa Monica Yacht Club (SMYC);

n IOBG president Wilma Rosenberg, past commodore of Westlake Yacht Club;

n IOBG vice president Jon Robbins, past commodore of Pacific Mariners Yacht Club and

n IOBG secretary Ron Offerman, past commodore of Santa Monica Windjammers Yacht Club.

The IOBG treasurer and past commodore — who is your present boating correspondent, yours truly — also participated in the plans.

Pacific Mariners Yacht Club (PMYC) hosted the “Welcome to District #11” dinner with commodore Bill Cavaness welcoming the guests, serving libations and generally serving as a terrific host with his predecessor, staff commodore Jon Robbins.

Linda Black, wife of PMYC past commodore John Black, took all the kudos for “comfort food” for the weary travelers — “pot roast and vegs” and “chicken delish” with all the fixin’s and homemade pineapple upside-down cake.

Del Rey Yacht Club, with charm and dignity, hosted a day of food, meetings and a dinner dance with the yacht club’s usual grace.

Saturday morning, past commodores Phelps and Robbins had arranged a harbor cruise for the visiting members on boats owned by past commodores of our local yacht clubs, with hospitality provided by our newest chapter member, the Women’s Sailing Association of Santa Monica Bay.

Boats were provided by past commodores Jonathon Grell, Marina Venice Yacht Club; Gary Green, South Bay Yacht Racing Club; Dave Phelps, SMYC; Jon Robbins, PMYC; Ron Offerman, SMWYC; and Gene Levinthal, SMYC.

Past commodores of Women’s Sailing Association of Santa Monica Bay Dana Hutton, Rosalie Green, Charlie Warner and Fran Weber-Melville prepared and presented champagne with fruit and pastries to each of the boats for their cruise.

When the harbor tour ended, a bus was waiting to transport participants to the Getty Museum for lunch and a tour of the “Great Art Experience.”

Santa Monica Windjammers Yacht Club was busy preparing for another “West Coast experience” — a luau. And what a luau it was.

Pussers Rum, a sponsor of the Marina del Rey to San Diego Race in July, had its fabulous rum drinks prepared for guests, who had come from a wide area, including Canada; Cleveland, Ohio; Punta Gorda, Florida; and Anacordes, Washington.

Christopher Arpad, a steel drum band entertainer, had the dancers on the floor from the beginning of the evening to the end.

There was also a “limbo contest” for the members of five districts that participated in the weekend of activities.

Then the participants returned to their districts, having met International Order officers, prospective officers and lots of friends during the Marina event. Their next meeting will be in October, in Buffalo, New York.

Marina del Rey will always be a fond memory for this group, as the weather during the event was definitely of “chamber of commerce” quality and the warmth of the local clubs — all members of the Association of Santa Monica Bay Yacht Clubs — exceeded the clubs’ usual hospitality.

JOE GOLD MEMORIAL — Del Rey Yacht Club last week hosted a memorial in honor of Joe Gold, founder of both Gold’s Gym and World Gym, who died July 11th at the age of 82.

More than 200 people came to the yacht club to remember a man who had provided so much to the local community.

Among those who benefited from Gold’s generosity and who attended the Del Rey Yacht Club Gold memorial was Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Much energy was put into this event, which was done very tastefully.

The famous and the non-famous attended. Many celebrities were there and all paid their respect to the man who helped so many begin their careers.