A Brief History of the St. Margaret Sailing Club (1956-2017)
In 1956, a group of individuals met and laid the plans for what was to become the St. Margaret Sailing Club. Dr. Arthur Murphy was unanimously chosen by friends to develop preliminary plans for the club creating “a life of sail and knowledge of the sea”.
Following extensive research for a suitable dinghy, the “Fleetwind” was chosen because of its ‘learn to sail’ qualities and reasonable price. It was English designed and built, constructed of mahogany throughout, with jib and mainsail, and fitted with floatation tanks making it buoyant and easily righted if capsized. Twelve were ordered and delivered with the help of the Royal Canadian Navy on H.M.C.S. Bonaventure’s maiden voyage to Halifax from England in 1957. Wilfred Covey, of Hackett’s Cove, built duplicates of the original boats raising the competitive fleet to 15, a fleet of sailboats that formed the nucleus of the SMSC.
In August 1958, steps were taken to organize the SMSC as an out port of the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron. In the beginning, it was not intended to purchase real estate. A committee decided the venue for any particular SMSC event beforehand and the club burgee was flown above the property of the member hosting the event. The Junior Sail Program was conducted mainly from the Sunnywood Community Wharf and from the docks of a number of very generous SMSC members. For awhile, the Club rented land from the Anglican Youth Camp to operate the Jr. Sail Program. The Program was then moved to Ant Island and subsequently to Dockside Marina (now Shining Waters Marine).
In 1994, as a result of a new property development, waterfront land was offered without charge to members of SMSC to establish permanent facilities. A roof-tight but unfinished building on the property was offered for $250,000. Estimated capital to finish the building and construct a wharf was an additional $200,000. It was believed that a permanent home for our Club would provide a social focal point for SMSC members and the community, easy water access to a wider radius of residents, and a superior Junior Sail Program while maintaining the friendliness and genuine warmth of our membership. These factors provided a convincing argument to purchase the property.
In the fall of 1994, SMSC launched its Capital Campaign called “A Home for Our Club”. The goal was to raise $450,000 to purchase and complete the Clubhouse. Fall and winter 1994-1995 were busily spent campaigning and hosting open houses at the site. On 21 April 1995, the campaign goal was reached and the SMSC became the proud owner of the Clubhouse and waterfront property.
The acquisition and completion of the clubhouse was made possible through a capital bond campaign whereby members were asked to invest in a $500 bond per person. In an effort to sustain our Club and membership, annual membership dues were also increased. During the winter 1995 and spring 1996, the interior of the Clubhouse was completed with heating, plumbing and drywall, making it possible to host events year round. A ceramic tile “compass rose” was installed in the entrance hardwood floors added, and a cherry wood bar was crafted. Corporate sponsors participated in our ongoing fund raising activities, which further enhanced the new Clubhouse.
In early 1997, a ‘Wharf Plank’ campaign was undertaken ($100 per plank) to finance the 50-foot wharf. In 1998, a fund-raising campaign was initiated to complete the windows, doors and baseboards. Since that time, we have installed ceiling acoustic panels inside the Clubhouse, added a donated 48-foot signal mast, built cubbyhole storage facilities for junior sail students and obtained new property signage. The Club is often rented by members of the St. Margaret’s Bay community, which provides an additional source of revenue.
In 2017, we prepared a plan for the future development of the Club. This will significantly increase our services to members and attract new families from the St. Margaret’s Bay area and adjacent regions.