BY DAVID MONK
The West Shore Sail Club will celebrate its 46th anniversary this year. Established in 1972 by a group of 12 sailors from a number of marinas and yacht clubs on the western shore of Lake Erie, the club’s goal was to promote the joy and fellowship of sailing through racing, cruising and off water activities.
Founded on the premise of being a low-cost but full value organization, it would remain unencumbered by the burden of owning property and facilities since all the members would dock their boats elsewhere, but come together for meetings and activities. This approach proved to be an exceedingly popular way to promote the sport of sailing and seamanship, and the club grew in membership to more than 130 families by the mid-1980s. WSSC is proud of increasing its dues only $5 in 45 years, and keeping today’s membership renewals at only $35/year.
As the club grew, meetings moved from member’s homes to several Downriver locations. However, for the past 30 years our monthly meetings have been held on the first Thursday of every month in Mr. Nick’s banquet hall, Trenton. These membership meetings include a buffet dinner, a business meeting, and a guest speaker that presents on subjects regarding sailing, seamanship, the lakes, regulations, or other topics of interest to the membership. Above all else, these meetings promote the fellowship of sailing, and all members and non-members are welcome to attend.
Over the years, the activities of the club have expanded into a full calendar of events —racing, cruising and social. From May to September, WSSC hosts a full program of sailing races with more race starts than any club in the area, making it a leading force in sailboat club racing in the Downriver area.
The club sponsors and coordinates the very competitive Wednesday Night at the Races series that attracts boats from clubs throughout Grosse Ile, Trenton, Gibraltar, Newport, Monroe, Wyandotte and even Canada (LaSalle and Amherstburg). It also hosts a number of specialty race classics such as the male/female crewed Jack & Jill Race, the Double Handed Race, the Peg Sprigs Memorial Ladies Day Race, and the Lighthouse Challenge Regatta. The WSSC racing membership is also very involved and competitive in other racing events hosted by local and international sister clubs and associations.
However, WSSC is not only a racer’s club. Our Cruising Committee defines, coordinates and organizes various cruises, of different lengths to a number of ports of interest, for each summer season; these are the extensive club sponsored sailboat cruises in the area. Club members join together to cruise all corners of the Great Lakes and in the past, some have even sailed to the Caribbean and circumnavigated the world. Each year, the club features and celebrates many members that travel hundreds and even thousands of miles in their sailboats.
When not sailing, WSSC also hosts various social events throughout the year, including our Commodore’s Ball, a special Christmas Party supporting Toys for Tots, a wine and cheese party, Euchre Nights, sister club dinners, golf outings, theater nights, a corn roast, and numerous other recurring and one-time events. These events allow a full range of social events for our membership.
West Shore Sail Club is an incorporated, non-profit organization, a member of the Inter-Lake Yachting Association with more than 175 sister clubs and 55,000 members, and a member of U.S. Sailing and Boat U.S. It is a multi-dimensional club that offers sailing and social related activities to fit almost every sailor/friend and works very hard to support the needs of our membership.
WSSC installed new bridge officers at its Jan. 4 “Change of Watch” meeting; our Commodore’s Ball is in April and our Regatta is in June. For more information visit the club’s website, www.westshore-sailclub.org.
WSSC Commodore David Monk can be contacted at (734) 676-9656 or firstname.lastname@example.org.