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Yacht Club of the Month – Coral Bay YC

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Mocka Jumbies and Rum...

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“All are welcome at
Coral Bay
Yacht Club, where members think ‘blue blazers’ are enclosed pickups
built by Chevy and painted blue.”
(Quote attributed to Cap’n
Fatty Goodlander.)

It’s a club without a clubhouse, though people wander
into a landmark bar and restaurant at Coral
Bay on the southeastern coast of
St. John, US
Virgin Islands. It isn’t completely
clear whether this club has officers and membership rules, either. As Cap’n Fatty wrote back in 1991, “Often, its
charter members can’t remember who now is Commodore…a lot of people
who say they are members really aren’t…and a lot of people who
claim not to be members really are.” There don’t seem to be many
official club files, either. But it’s a fact that the Coral Bay Yacht
Club was established in the late 1970s by a group of boaters motivated to do
good things for their community.

to the present Commodore, Dave Conro, “these
pioneers began meeting on the first Wednesday of each month at Skinny Legs (or
maybe it was Red Beards back then). Since then, rarely a first-Wednesday has
gone by at Skinny Legs without encountering a group of folks calling themselves
the Coral Bay Yacht Club. Throughout its years of disorganized organization,
CBYC has sponsored several annual events aimed at raising money for various
groups in the Coral
Bay community.”

sponsored by the club annually are the Thanksgiving Regatta, the
Commodore’s Cup, and the Flotilla (now known as the Beach Party).

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The 24th
Annual Thanksgiving Regatta in November raised funds for KATS St. John (Kids
and the Sea), a marine safety program formed in 1988
that has educated more than 500 students from ages eight to 18.

The May
Commodore’s Cup also will benefit KATS. “This is a somewhat more
structured regatta that combines the organized, disorganized efforts of all
three of the yacht clubs on St. John –
Coral Bay Yacht Club, St. John Yacht Club, and Nauti
Yacht Club – for a weekend of some of the best racing in the waters
around St. John,”
says Conro.

A third
club event is its Beach Party. “For many years, this event was a flotilla
in which landlubbers joined skippers who volunteered their boats to sail to
Norman Island,
BVI, for a day of food, music and fun. When people started to complain that the
sailing time cut into their beach time (not to mention the thrill of clearing
customs), the event was relocated to Vie’s
Campground Beach on the East End of St. John and renamed,” the Commodore
reports. Proceeds for this event have gone to the Emmaus
Moravian Church
in Coral Bay
for its years of offering a sanctuary from hurricanes and to the
Guy H.
Benjamin Elementary School
for enhancement of the education of Coral
Bay young people.

addition to its annual money raising events, CBYC works with the VI Department
of Public Works in an annual clean up of Coral
Bay harbor and with the VI National
Park Service in preserving the beautiful park waters in
St. John.

Is this
offbeat quintessentially-Caribbean club likely to change? Commodore Conro says that every couple of years, a new CBYC member
may mention the possibility of finding a permanent clubhouse. “That idea
is quietly tabled and the members move on with the business at hand –
finding ways to volunteer their time and talents for the betterment of
St. John.”

information on joining the Coral Bay Yacht Club, call (340) 715-2666 or stop by
Skinny Legs on a first-Wednesday. Boat owners and non-boat owners are welcome.

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So Caribbean you can almost taste the rum...

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