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.
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.
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.