The Cotuit Mosquito Yacht Club is the oldest junior yacht club in the United States. Formed in 1906, it’s bylaws restrict voting membership to unmarried young people under the age of 21. It is also the heart and soul of summer life in the village of Cotuit and played a very important role in my life through the years.
2006 is the centennial of the CMYC’s formation and to mark the occasion an all-hands effort is being waged to get as many of the club’s fleet on the water for a massive race on July 30.
The invitation came in the mail last week and was not addressed to me, but to my boat, the Chugworm, number 19, built in the late 1940s by my grandfather, Henry Chatfield Churbuck.
I have a page about the Cotuit Skiff — or “Mosquito” — as the design was once called, elsewhere on Churbuck.com. It is allegedly one of the oldest one-design racing boats continiuously raced in America. A strange hybrid that has the rig of a Cape Cod catboat — mast stepped in the prow, gaff-rigged sail, no jib — but the flat-bottomed hull of a classic clamming skiff.
They are terrifying boats to sail in a breeze, but beautiful to behold when a fleet of them comes running down the Narrows on a Sunday afternoon in August.
The fleet has undergone a wonderful renaissance in the past twenty years, reborn thanks to modern materials and the love of their classic lines by owners devoted, at any expense, to saving their boats from the indignities of the barn to sail again. My famly has two, both built by my grandfather in the boat shop attached to my house here in Cotuit, so there is no question we will be out there sailing next summer.
I’m sure there will be photos and I will be sure to blog about it.