With the recent opening of navigation up the East River from New York City, Long Island Sound was just beginning to see yachting activity. Local yachtsmen sought to establish a local venue from which to test their sailing skills against each other and all challengers. This spirit of competition, on which CPYC was founded, remains its focus today.
The club took its name from the point of land on the eastern shore of the entrance to the Saugatuck River from which its members’ boats were launched and races were run. A Constitution, By-laws and Sailing Regulations were quickly adopted and racing began. The original fleet, consisting mostly of catboats and sloops between 20 and 33 feet, numbered around 20. A detailed handicap system was installed and formal courses laid out in the area in which our current fleets race.
Competition was keen for a few years, but by 1894 the number of active racers fell and ongoing club operations were suspended. Like many clubs before the founding of the United States Yacht Racing Union in 1896, CPYC fell victim to the haphazard growth of a sport in which each club set its own rules, and the growing pains of a sport in which the latest “hot” design quickly became obsolete. (Some things never change.)
Interest in CPYC resumed in 1932, sparked by young Star sailors seeking a club from which they could enter races organized by the Central Long Island Sound Star Fleet. With help from an influential past Secretary of the Town Planning Commission, they rededicated Cedar Point Yacht Club, moved into a building at Compo Basin, and organized a racing program. The Star fleet was a success, and the Club was incorporated two years later. Stars were quickly followed by Snipes and the inauguration of a junior sailing program that was to become a hallmark of CPYC.
The end of World War II spurred renewed competition, and CPYC flourished. The Star and Snipe fleets were strong, the junior program was so successful that the club purchased a fleet of Beetle Cats and by 1950 membership had grown to 170 families.
The Atlantics had been a highly organized and successful class for several decades by 1954 when the CPYC fleet began. Lightning, Blue Jay and Thistle fleets followed, and by 1960 a full racing program for handicap boats resumed. Frostbiting started in 1959 in Sprites, followed by Dyers, Blue Jays, and for the last 25 years or so, Lasers.