imgSailboat racing in Gloucester had long since evolved from the elegant fishing schooners charging back from the Grand Banks into active one-design racing under the organization of the Cape Ann, East Gloucester and Gloucester Yacht Clubs when the occasion of Gloucester's 300th anniversary was celebrated in 1923.

A long-time resident of Eastern Point, Jonathan Raymond, was called upon by the city to organize a series of schooner races as part of the festivities. Coming on the heels of a lull in sailing activity due to World War I, these races inspired such enthusiasm that Raymond and several other Eastern Pointers convened on September 9 to discuss the birth of the Eastern Point Yacht Club.

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Jack Mehlman and crew winner of first race basis of Founder's Day Regatta. Jack is at the helm.

The following summer of 1924 saw the Club opening with, a race around Gloucester harbor on June 28th, the Raymond's bathhouse- just north of the Club's present home- serving as its quarters, and John Greenough as our first commodore. It was fitting that the first activity of the club would be a race as sailboat racing was- and has always been at the center of the Club's existence. The Sonder- a German Scow- and the Midget- designed for racing in Gloucester Harbor- were the club's first one-design classes, joined shortly by the Triangle and the Cape Cod Knockabout for the junior sailors. By 1930, the Club's success necessitated a move to Rockmere Cottage at the north end of Niles Beach. Junior members Jonathan Raymond Jr., Robert Elwell, and Peter Gamage won the Curtis Cup and went on to a second place finish in the Sears Cup- emblematic of the North American junior championship- in 1934, and won the Prince of Wales Bowl two years later. The membership swelled to 130 members in the mid-thirties with 44 racing boats in five different classes and thirteen other boats. World War II caused another temporary lull, but in 1945, the yacht clubs of the North Shore chose a C. Raymond Hunt designed boat, the 210, as its new racing standard. This boat was to become the most pervasive class in club history as the Triangle died out and others such as the 110 came and went.

imgThe Club was again in search of new quarters when the Clay property overlooking Lighthouse Cove and Dog Bar Breakwater became available and we decided to move in 1951 to this- our present location. The combination of a protected anchorage, immediate access to the ocean, and one of the original eleven cottages built on Eastern Point in 1888- at the time one of the most expensive on Cape Ann- made for perhaps the perfect Yacht Club location. The house was modified for Club use; a building for the use of juniors was added, and a swimming pool took the place of the clay tennis court. Dorothy Clay continued to summer at the Club until her death in the late eighties.

Bill Morris had been employed by the Clays as their caretaker and was retained by the Club after the transition. He took on the responsibility of running races and maintaining floats, moorings, and dinghies until his retirement after the 1980 season. Jim Whalen had served in a similar capacity prior to the move and for a long time after his retirement, he made the trip to the Club twice daily to fire the gun and see that morning and evening colors were made as they should be. Jim died at the age of 98 in 1970.

imgIn the years since, the Club has evolved significantly, while some things have stayed as constant as the sweeping beacon of the Lighthouse. The membership is no longer predominantly made up of Eastern Point residents, and the junior program is truly a community affair. Although the size of the membership shrank in the late seventies and early eighties, racing continued to be the life-blood of the Club. Twenty 210s would battle on the water and enliven the porch when they returned to shore. The National Championships were twice held at the Club, in 1985, and again in 1993. The strength of the cruising class swelled the membership to its current levels as the 210s were joined by the Rhodes 19 class. In the early nineties, our 210 fleet was the most modern in the country but now is struggling for its existence. Recently, the Club hosted 300 young sailors for the 1997 Mass Bay Sailing Junior Championships.

A general modernization of the Club has prepared it for the journey into the next century. Extensive work to the ground floor, pool area, an expansive porch added on to the ocean-facing side of the clubhouse, and further re-working of its insides were completed prior to the 1997 season. The Club is a weekend home-away-from-home for many and more so than ever, it looks the part: The Club is filled with a refreshing enthusiasm reminiscent of that September in 1923, which we must carry forward. With an eye towards the future, and feet rooted in our past, success is assured.

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The club now needed a longer season. To help towards that goal, more major renovations were completed in 2003 - 2004. Adding a heating and air-conditioning systems throughout the building helped extend the season of a few more weeks.      BTR/DLR Jr.

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