Cedar Point Yacht Club was organized in 1887 by a group of prominent Fairfield County sportsmen with a simply stated and clear purpose: to "promote interest in the sport of sailing."
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.
In 1966, thanks to the vision of a handful of Club members, CPYC moved across the river to Bluff Point on Saugatuck Island. An ambitious project was undertaken to dredge a harbor basin and fill the swampy land to develop a beautiful property with stunning views across the Sound. The membership met the challenge, and the result, which we still enjoy today, is among the finest sailboat racing facilities anywhere.
Today CPYC hosts active fleets of Atlantics, Flying Scots, J/70s, Stars, Thistles, Lightnings, Vanguard 15s, Lasers, and PHRF boats. Vanguard 15s were added in 1996 to fill the need for a two person boat enabling people to sail with their spouses or children, and has been a runaway success. The J/70s are our newest fleet, added in 2014. The junior program is stronger than ever.
In 1998 CPYC was awarded the St. Petersburg Yacht Club Trophy for excellence in race management by US Sailing. CPYC also received the One Design Club Award from US Sailing for administrative excellence, fleet growth, creative programming, regatta support, member contribution — at regional, national and international levels in 2002, 2007, and 2018.
CPYC continues its tradition of hosting annual regattas for the each of the classes with fleets here, and is regularly selected to host major championships. Over the years the Club has developed a reputation for running outstanding regattas. As CPYC looks ahead to the next century, it remains guided by the original mission first put forth in 1887, to "promote interest in the sport of sailing."