NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Just off Hudson Park in New Rochelle lies Echo Island. The island has been the home of the Echo Bay Yacht Club for over 100 years and with changing times and a decline in membership, the club reached out to Port Sailing School based at the New Rochelle Municipal Marina to provide additional services. These services will include a children's sailing program, adult sailing lessons, racing program and use of sailing school boats.
Last summer Port Sailing School opened its second location in New Rochelle. The school employs over 28 people in the season with a fleet of over thirty boats, from 23 to 36 feet long. Commodore Bill Vogt of Echo Bay Yacht Club invited the owner of Port Sailing, Chris Nihill out to Echo Island for a club event. It was there that Chris saw the potential of this charming island and a partnership was formed to develop programs and events.
"We are reinventing what a yacht club is," said Chris, "and how you go about joining. We are combining our assets to provide services that a family can afford and increase the access to the island by operating the tender service from three days a week to seven." To become a member, learn to sail and use the school's boats and use the clubs facilities, just sign up online at echobayyachtclub.org. With no initiation fees, all can sail on the boats and join the club for as little as $750.
The island will host a Junior Sailing Camp program during the weekdays in the summer with sailboats to be provided by the sailing school and children receiving a club membership. Port Sailing, with over ten years of experience, will operate the sailing camp and the kids will enjoy time on the boats and on the facilities on Echo island. The two-week sailing camp sessions run for eight weeks and are open to kids 8 and up. Interested parents can learn more at echobayyachtclub.org.
On weekends, the Port Sailing School will offer American Sailing Association certification courses to qualify individuals to sail the sailing schools fleet of 23-foot sailboats. Chris Fletcher, the fleet Captain, will organize experienced sailors to mentor new sailors. Every Friday night the club will offer racing program followed by refreshments.
Echo Island is one of New Rochelle's hidden gems with beautiful views and it would be ashamed to lose it to a developer. Just last year Stuyvesant Yacht Club in City Island closed due to low members and damages sustained during Sandy. The new alliance between Port Sailing School and Echo Bay Yacht Club allows members old and new to experience the joy of sailing and the facilities of this classic Westchester landmark.