In the color photo in the front page, Anne is standing near the dock of a gated luxury waterfront enclave downtown in the Village of Coconut Grove where she recently helped customers purchase a home. Nearby was the dock at the Peacock Inn, circa 1900, only footsteps distant and yet one hundred years away. November 1900 Solomon Greasley Merrick, his wife Althea and their thirteen year old son George sailed into the Bay, arrived at this dock, and then rested at the Peacock Inn on pristine Biscayne Bay in Coconut Grove. They journeyed by a horse drawn wagon into the Everglades swamp and settled on land that they later developed into the world famous City Beautiful of Coral Gables.


History Of The Coconut Grove Sailing Club
by Andrea Stringos
Commodore 2002-2003


The Coconut Grove Sailing Club (CGSC) was founded 58 years ago by a group of Miami residents that wished to establish a safe venue to teach children to sail and to run sailboat races for the community. The City of Miami granted them a lease on a parcel of land that was in the middle of park land that had been given to the city. This land has a deed restriction limiting usage to parks and recreational only. The original CGSC had no club house, merely a storage shack. There were no moorings - at that time the State owned the water and sailors just anchored out in the basin.

Soon after the CGSC was established, a group of local Coconut Grove residents sued the CGSC because they felt that a "private club" was not a proper use of the park facility. The State ruled in favor of the CGSC since its activities (teaching sailing, running sailboat races, and providing access to the bay) were indeed recreational.

Over the years, as various leases expired, the City of Miami required new capital improvements. At some point, the custom of using the sailboat basin as a free anchorage area was terminated, and the CGSC took over the management of the sailboat basin on behalf of the City. The shack got progressively bigger, docks were added, and finally, the City requested the building of the present clubhouse in order to retain a lease. Although it was a heavy financial burden, CGSC members paid for the building and even
contributed their physical labor to maintain it in order to keep the costs down.

The CGSC has been a leader in the sailing community. The CGSC provides public access to the water and water activities. It runs adult sailing classes, children's classes, racing education programs, community service sailing programs and free sailing classes. All of these programs are open to the public on a first-come first-serve basis, and where we charge fees it is at a considerably lower rate than those charged by other organizations. These classes have been offered for 58 years. The club has produced many world class racers. Just recently, Augie Diaz won the 2003 Snipe world championships in Sweden.

The CGSC also runs sailboat races. Racing is a labor intensive activity, and our race management is very highly regarded. Racing runs the gamut from local Biscayne Bay Yacht Racing Association (BBYRA) races that are open to the public through membership in BBYRA (the annual cost ranges from $126 to $220), to free club races open to the public without restriction, to national and international events. The CGSC runs international races for the Olympics, the Orange Bowl, the Snipe and Lightning fleets. Last year we were the hosting venue for the entire Olympic Classes regatta co-ordinating the efforts of five different sailing organizations from the CGSC property. Locally, the CGSC race committee has run races for the 2.4 meter Worlds at Shake-A-Leg, and for many years was the host club for the Wednesday night Shake-A-Leg races. These events are fully open to the public and non-members use our facilities in order to participate in the races.

In addition to sailing education and race management programs, the CGSC is very community minded. We are generous with our club space, and welcome community non-profit organizations to the club, opening up the meeting room at no charge. Some of the organizations using our facility without charge include the Guardian Ad Litem for their training programs, NAMI (National Association for Mental Illness) for their monthly meetings, the Biscayne Bay Park's annual Discovery Lecture Series which is open to the public, the Central Grove H.O.A. meeting, the Fl. Bandmaster Association and the Dental Leaders Executive Association. In addition, the CGSC hosts the regular meetings of other non-profit organizations such as the C.G. Rotary club, the Biscayne Bay Sailing Club, and the Venture Sailing club.

The CGSC also offers community outreach programs. We have long partnered with the Sierra club which offers environmental outings on CGSC member's boats to inner city residents. We have also established the "Intro to the Bay" program where we partner with the Virrick Park and Community Center in West Coconut Grove and the Woman's Club of Coconut Grove. This program is aimed at getting the graduates of the Virrick Swimming Program (funded by the Woman's club) into our optimist pram sailing classes. This summer we have brought optimist pram sailboats to the Virrick pool and introduced beginning swimmers to sailing. All Virrick Pool participants who pass the Red Cross Swimming certification receive scholarships to the CGSC summer sailing classes.

The CGSC offers many programs that are open to the public on a first-come first-served basis. Club membership does offer certain privileges and is available to all members of the public without restriction limited only to their ability to pay the nominal membership fees. The CGSC is operated as a financial benefits.

Look for additional bits about our early pioneers on this page in my Website in the next months.



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