The commodore of the Breakwater Yacht Club talks about the upcoming sailing season and the many activities the sailing center offers the community.
By Stephen J. Kotz
After a long, cold winter, I’d imagine your membership is eager to get back on the water. When does the club open?
We will hold the commissioning ceremony, which in sailors’ parlance, is simply the official opening of the season, this Saturday from 5 to 7 p.m. We will hoist the American flag, and the club’s ensign. It’s really a get-together for members to mingle and talk about last season and a chance to welcome new members. We welcome the public to come down and meet members, the sailing director, Sean Elliot, and members of the board. If you have any questions we’d be happy to answer them.
I understand you have a growing high school team. Can you tell us about it?
The season has not officially opened yet, but our high school team has already been out on the water. I think we have almost 40 members coming from Pierson, the Ross School and East Hampton. In our original days we maybe had a handful of sailors. High school students can come down for a school sport activity. We provide the coaches, and we provide the boats as part of our community outreach. They learn sailing, self-reliance, and dealing the elements. There are probably about 12 teams from around Long Island that we compete with.
What about your children’s program?
Our junior summer program is open to all children from the age of 8 up. It’s basically like a summer camp that costs $325 per week. We run it from late June through August and we see 600 to 700 kids come through every year. This has been going on every since the club was founded and scholarships are provided for a number of participants.
How about adults?
Many adults come in and say “I used to sail, but haven’t done it for years,’ or ‘I live here year-round, I see the water and I really want to learn how to sail.’ One of our goals has always been to bring the young and old to the water and teach them to sail. We have instructors who have come up through our own junior program who are available to teach adults. We have two boats that adults can take out once they have learned to sail. On Thursdays in July and August, we have members who bring their boats to the dock and take other members, who maybe don’t have a boat of their own, out for a nice time on the water. And, of course, we also have our Wednesday night races, the Sag Harbor Cup and other races on weekends. And we also have JY-15 races every Sunday and Laser races, which are very fast one-man boats, on Saturdays.
How can one become a member?
It’s very simple. We are a community sailing center, so there is no review, no official vote. You can just go to our website or come down to the clubhouse to get an application. The fee is $140 for adults and $30 kids. There is a one-time initiation fee of $250 for new members. It’s a very low-key community center. Anybody who has an interest in sailing is welcome to join us.
Breakwater won an important victory last week, when the Sag Harbor Village Board decided to not contest your right to renew your lease for 10 years. What are your thoughts on it?
We are all delighted at Breakwater for the support not only of our members but also of other friends who reached out, and we are delighted the village is continuing to support Breakwater as the community sailing center. We heard some of the trustees say the lease should be longer than 10 years and we would love to work with the village to make that a reality.