Cedar Point Races To History

For 127 years, Cedar Point Yacht Club has had a low-key presence in Westport. More sailboat racing than “yacht,” with a clubhouse that’s more “house” than “club,” it exists in happy anonymity on Saugatuck Island, at the western edge of town.

There are no amenities. No fancy lounge or restaurant. No pool or sauna. No tennis courts. Cedar Point is simply a place where serious sailors of all ages, backgrounds and types gather to sail.

But if you were anywhere near Long Island Sound this past weekend, you couldn’t miss it. CPYC hosted the largest regatta in their century-and-a-quarter history. Over 400 sailors, from Texas to Maine, brought 100 boats for the One-Design Regatta.

A close turn, at the weekend Cedar Point regatta. (Photo/copyright Barry Hyman Photography)

A close turn, at the weekend Cedar Point regatta. (Photo/copyright Barry Hyman Photography)

It was 2 days of delightful mayhem, with 7 sets of races, 7 boat classes and 3 championships. Four winners head to Newport for the nationals in September.

Westporter — and 38-year CPYC member Carl Sherter — won the J30 fleet, by a landslide.

“Revelation” — a sleek 34.5-footer owned by Westporters George, Ann and Alex Wilbanks (with Westport’s Sarah Hamm crewing) — finished 5th in the J015 class. Weston’s Bob Zannetti was 12th.

Westport sailors finished well in other classes. Keing McCarthy was a crew member on the boat that won in the Soverel 33 National Championships. In the Beneteau 36.7 class, 4th and 5th place went to Saugatuck Harbor Yacht Club members Junius Brown and Alistair Duke.

One of the highlights of the weekend was the J70 races. The J70 — a new boat –is light, fast, exciting to handle and less expensive than many others. Younger people have embraced it, helping revitalize the sport.

J70s -- the future of sailing. (Photo/copyright Barry Hyman Photography)

J70s — the future of sailing. (Photo/copyright Barry Hyman Photography)

Regatta chairman Halsey Bullen gave a nod to the past — and present. “Cedar Point Yacht Club has been an important part of Westport since it was founded in 1887 by a group of prominent local sportsmen. They had a simple, clear purpose: to ‘promote interest in the sport of sailing.’

“Our goal this year was to show we can handle a regatta of this scale and national importance. We couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome.”

And, just as happily, this coming weekend members will slip back into the low-key, let’s-race-and-have-fun mode that has served them so well, for so long.

6 responses to “Cedar Point Races To History

  1. This piece brings back good memories. While in high school back in the early 1960s, I crewed for a couple of seasons for a friend of my father who raced his Thistle. Most Thistles raced with three aboard, but Ron (I’ve forgotten his last name) was quite a big guy and I was pushing 190 pounds myself. Between us we had enough weight to hike out when close-hauled, yet were a bit lighter than the three-person crews. We did well in the races, though my tactical contribution was simply doing what Ron told me to do. The experience inspired a long love of sailing. Over the years I’ve successfully avoided the temptation to own a boat, but did several self-captained week-long sailing vacations with family in the British Virgin Islands aboard Beneteau 45s. So my thanks to Ron and CPYC.

    • Cole Palmer

      Thanks for sharing that memory, Stephen. I was about to say, “Come back down to the club and go sailing,” but I see you’re in Arizona. Bummer. I’m happy to report that the tradition continues at Cedar Point. The club is all about sharing the love of sailing. If you want to get invited to learn how to sail and race, just come down and walk the docks on a Wednesday evening at about 5:00 to 5:30 or Saturdays and Sundays midday and ask around. You will find a welcome and a ride.

  2. Laura Trumbull

    It’s worth noting that Cedar Point has also been a significant contributor to junior sailing on Long Island, hosting big regattas every summer (on top of their own junior sailing program). Most years they host JSA (Junior Sailing Association of Long Island Sound) Race Week for Lasers, Laser Radials, and Club420s for the older kids (14 to 17) with around 250 sailors on the water as well as a one-day Optimist (single-handed small boats for the 8 to 14 set) regatta that one year had over 150 sailors in attendance.

  3. A magficent sight to get the blood pumping.

  4. Steve Stein

    Westportnow.com had a picture of veteran sailor Carl Sherter (out of Waterbury- formerly from Westport) and his J30 Fat City leading in a race- the only thing missing from the picture are the shark teeth Carl usually tapes to the front of his boat to intimidate or inspire the competition!!.

  5. Congratulations to Cedar Point Yacht Club One-Design Regatta Chairman Halsey Bullen and to everyone who created this marvelous event – and also to Bob Karpel, Jeremi Jablonski and Ched and Judy Proctor for getting us involved. The photos say it all – it was a spectacular weekend of racing!