They had plans to go sailing
The Sailing Club, Inc. was started by a few AT&T company ski club members who were winding down the ski season in March of 1983. They were gathered in a friendly pub, and someone inquired about plans for the spring. More than one said they planned to sail.
Now, ideas formed in taverns always seem superior, of course. But this one resulted in a cooperative group forming to go sailing with an emphasis on everyone enjoying the experience and with an attempt to balance sail time with land time. The group of intrepid sailors, some with chartered boats and a few privately owned boats, planned and implemented two trips that first season on the Chesapeake Bay.
Turns out that sailing together was more fun than sailing solo
Skippers and crew supported one another with advice and assistance. A helpful tow was always appreciated if you couldn’t get out of shallow water by yourself! The trips turned out to be more fun than sailing solo because there was always someone among the four or five boats that wanted to go ashore or explore an island, even if your entire crew wanted to stay aboard. Happy crew, happy boat!
In 1984, there were five trips and more people. The AT&T corporate breakup happened in January 1984. The now formally named sailing club opened membership to the general public. That required more structure, such as a membership fee and insurance to protect the club and its members. Incorporated in 1994, the club initiated a skipper qualification process that requires, in addition to sailing and safety skills, the ability to counsel new members calmly and to encourage rather than discipline. A formal training program was soon implemented for both skippers and first mates with an emphasis on mentoring
Still going strong
Now, 38 years later, the club is still strong and welcoming new members. New members are the future, but we celebrate our older members and repeat funny stories often. Sharing space on a sailboat makes good friends or removes all doubt that this is for you. Those of us who come back year after year, to share the work and the fun, know deep down this is what we love. Learn more at thesailingclub.org.
By Mary Ann Gordon