By the summer of 1928, the traditions of getting together at the Eastern Point Colony, in the shadow of the Morton Plant mansion, with all its grandeur, were ready to be stabilized. A yacht club – a friendly one incorporating local people as well as summertime visitors, could centralize the good fellowship of families who had long enjoyed summer on the water in the area. In addition, it could co-exist nicely with those whose interests leaned toward the landlubberly, but genteel game of tennis.
Fred Geiger who was from outside Philadelphia but summered at the Eastern Point Colony, interested friends Eddie Pearce, Russ Bradley and J. Lester Parsons in buying Cape Cod Knockabouts, which were 18-foot center-boarders.
The Cape Cod Knockabouts were delivered. During that same summer, Don Colyer of Glen Ridge, N.J. had the first Star boat in the area called ‘Yankee’, No. 446. He used ‘Yankee’ for racing at Black Point (Niantic) where there were seven other Stars. In a letter dated from 1977 from club founder J. Lester Parsons,
“At the end of that summer, we took the ‘Yankee’ to East Greenwich in Narragansett Bay to sail in the Star Class Championships. In the program for this event, we were the only entry listed as not belonging to any Yacht Club and this made us think about forming a yacht club at Eastern Point. We discussed the idea with Geiger and the other Cape Cod skippers, along with a number of others who had become interested in getting Cape Cods, and they were all enthusiastic. As I recall we corresponded about the idea during the winter and were all set to start the club by the beginning of the 1928 summer season.”
Also in 1927 the Spicer family had established a small “boat livery” operated by William C. Spicer, Sr. Next door was Minnie T. Spicer’s 12-acre plot and farmhouse in the same newly upscale neighborhood as the Plant mansion. In this same year Jupiter Point had been subdivided into small building lots.
The first “Cape Cod Knockabout Race” of the infant Shennecossett Yacht Club left the starting pistol on July 7, 1928, at 3 p.m. with four of the Knockabouts under sail – but no formal committee boat. The club took shape around the younger men of the Eastern Point Colony with 30 initial members of both men and women. Many more joined before the season’s end. Dues were $5.
The Spicer farmhouse and land was purchased by Edward M. Gould, Henry B. Plant, and J. Lester Parsons, Jr., with big plans for a recreational development. When the Depression hit, the three men formed Cove Realty Co., in 1931. Ernest E. Quantrell was president, and J. Lester Parsons was secretary.
Initiation fee was set for $10 for those that joined in the 1929 season. The fleet included nine Cape Cod Knockabouts and two Star class boats. Racing was conducted twice a week over one or another of several five or six mile courses in the ThamesRiver or on the Sound. Most boats were moored off or tied to the north side of the Griswold Hotel steam dock located off of Circle Avenue. The acquisition of land and a clubhouse ranked high in the club’s priorities.