In 1970, when Bob and Coral Clark, Seattle builders of San Juan sailboats, arrived in New Bern, North Carolina they were amazed at the beautiful sailing waters of the Neuse River. But they found that while, if you desire, you can sail eastern Carolina almost 365 days a year, very few sailboats were seen enjoying what mother nature had given the area. By the early spring of 1972, Bob and Coral had established Clark Boats - East. They'd sold a handful of San Juan 21's in town but felt there was a lack of - and need for - an organization to promote the sport locally. A meeting of all known sailboat owners was called at Craven Community College and, as a result of the ensuing enthusiasm, it was decided to form a club. Blackbeard Sailing Club, Ltd was founded by a group of 32 North Carolina families as a "do it yourself" and "pay as you go" organization.
In 1973 BSC sponsored the first in the water boat show in this area, Also, during these years Bob and Coral Clark taught us all about racing - and there is nothing like one design racing! When you cross the finish line you know just where you stand. The San Juan 21 was the boat of the day. A few had bigger boats, but not many, Many good times were had both racing and cruising. A really big cruise was to Oriental!
The time has rushed by as we developed from a sailing confederacy without any property to call home port, to a full fledged facility. By 1974 our own land became more than a dream, it became a real possibility. We became incorporated as Blackbeard Sailing Club, Limited. The constitution and by-laws were legally documented and BSC became a recognized non-profit organization. In 1975, the club purchased its first tract of property. Clearing, draining, filling, leveling of tract one was a monumental undertaking. The underground wiring, water piping, septic tank systems including drain fields required much detailed planning and hard work by members of the club. But their efforts were rewarded with the completion of a 14 slip pier in 1976.
We operated on a shoe string, so each family was given a specific weekend to be responsible for cleaning the bathhouse. Mowing the grass and taking the garbage to the dump was done on a volunteer basis. It was ALWAYS taken care of! What years these were! Watching members children grow up and enjoy sailing and the outdoors, watching the club grow and yet still have what we had to start with, the basis for this club where "do it yourself" prevailed and kept BSC within the reach of all those young people with families who loved racing and cruising.
The membership turned out in 1977 for a vote to extend the original pier to 25 slips. The actual decking was completed late Saturday afternoon 59 days after the vote to start construction. Even the kids got into the act, gathering and stacking the wood scraps on the beach. When the last nail was driven all crowded out to the end of the pier; and following an ancient custom tossed coins into the creek.
In 1981, planning began for a clubhouse with a possible target date of 1985. "Walt Wood has agreed to chair a committee to press forward the project to build a clubhouse We all realize that this is a long-term project and Walt will head this committee until it is accomplished. Walt has a dream - and his track record in Blackbeard proves that he has a way of making his dreams for the club come true". By April of 1984, the clubhouse was making rapid progress and ready to be roofed. By August the clubhouse was done. There were ten signatures on our new first mortgage: Jerry Williams, Dale Mullins, Fill Jefferay, Robert Clark, Walt Erwin, Mel Harrison, Charles Marr, Walt Wood and Paul LoCicero. These members and used-to-be members are to be commended on believing in the club so thoroughly.
In 1985, Blackbeard's Junior Program was inaugurated for 9 year-olds and up with Dave Novak in charge. We also added a new regatta "The Clark Cup" to honor Bob & Coral Clark. The Coast Guard Auxiliary Radio Station was built under the club office and a VHF antenna mounted on the light pole next to the back steps. Thanks to a new breakwater and dock extension for "B" Dock begun in 1985, we started 1986 with another 22 dock spaces. By 1989 our new bathhouse was finished we didn't have to shower with the tree frogs anymore! The club also purchased our third piece of property, looking to a future "C" dock. By 1992 "C" Dock was complete and the club had grown to 200 families with a long waiting list of prospective members.
The last ten years have been period of consolidation, bringing for example, a new steel breakwater capable of protecting member property from any condition less severe than a hurricane, a new roof for the clubhouse, additional parking and storage space for trailer boats and an expansion of club cruises, racing and youth programs.
Now in 2009, we find the club prospering, and that same spirit of togetherness and cooperation abounds. Yes, some might say "It's not small and intimate like it used to be - there are more people and we don't know everyone the way we would like", but those who have been involved from the beginning reply "It's just like it has always been - the spirit of the club remains the same".
Need a reminder? In the fall and early spring, try cooking breakfast in the kitchen. Everyone just puts something in the pot and we laugh and tell tales on each other. During football and basketball season, we have some "rip snorting" excitement in front of the television. The many weekend cruises sometimes end up with fifteen boats rafted.
This year, Blackbeard Sailing Club Ltd's membership is celebrating its 35th anniversary of activity on Upper Broad Creek, the Neuse River and around the world. Has success spoiled Blackbeard Sailing Club? Not on your life! BSC is just the same as it always was - just more friends.
Thanks to Fred Latham and Judy Barfield for contributing to this page.
Photos from Thanksgiving & Christmas Social are Online
Photos from Thanksgiving and the Christmas Social are Online. You may access them under Photos | Galleries or by clinking on the links below.
Christmas Social Photos
Bill Green - 12/09/2014
Dock Replacement Committee
Early in 2014, the Board authorized a new Committee to develop a long-range plan for the replacement of our ageing docks. The work of the Dock Replacement Committee is ongoing and will likely continue through 2015. The Board feels it is important to update the Membership on this activity, and we have published the Committee's 2014 year-end report under Members | Club Docs.
We'll keep you updated on this important activity.
Board of Directors - 12/07/2014
2015 Budget Finalized
At its meeting on 12/06, the BSC Board of Directors accepted the budget for 2015. This document is available under Members | Club Docs.
Doug Longhini - 12/07/2014
November Epitaph is Available
The November Epitaph is available to read, download or print. Please click here.
Bill Green - 11/30/2014
Fred Latham Regatta - January 1, 2015
Blackbeard Sailing Club and San Juan 21 Fleet 8 cordially invite all San Juan 21 and Blackbeard PHRF and cruising sailboats to attend the 2015 Fred Latham Regatta. This will be Fred’s 43rd year of San Juan 21 “Mad Mama” sailing (or being on display) at BSC on each and every New Years day from 1973 to 2015. Come join us in celebrating New Years Day! The Notice of Race, registration form and Sailing Sinstrcutions can be found on the Club website under Racing | NORs.
BSC Members should sign up by logging into the Members website and navigating to the "Events" feature. When registering, please be sure to use the comments section to note the particulars of our registration: US Sailing Membership (if applicable) and number of lunches. You will also need to bring a signed registration form with you on January 1st.
- Registration fee is $20. (US Sailing Discount $5)
- Hot dog & chili lunch is $5 per person
- BSC Members may charge to their Club account.
If you can’t bring your boat, come join as crew, assist with R/C boat, mark boat or just come out and enjoy New Years Day with fellow sailors. Held, rain, snow, sleet, shine or whatever the weather.
Happy New Year!
Doug Longhini - 11/21/2014
Board Approves New Membership Procedure
At its August meeting, the Board approved a streamlined Membership Procedure to get applicants approved in a more timely manner. The new procedure requires two sponsors as before, but a nomination form is no longer needed. The Application Form now captures all essential information and the sponsors certify that basic information about the Club has been explained. In addition, the applicants' names and addresses will be submitted to the membership by email blast and members will have ten days to contact a Board member with questions.
A more detailed explanation will be included in the next Epitaph. In the meantime, you'll find the new Membership Process and Application Form in Club Documents on the Members' website.
Dave Whitney - 08/13/2014
Boat US Hurricane Preparation Guide
Hurricane Irene has taught us a lesson: We can never be too prepared for a major storm! Thirteen boats in the trees. Dock boxes and dinghy racks thrown around like matchsticks. We could have been better prepared!
Boat US publlishes Preparing Baots and Marinas for Hurricanes which can be found under "Tips | Hurricane Prep".
Every member should review this document!
Bill Green - 09/05/2011
Security at BSC
The gate should never be left open after dark! If you are not sure whether you’re the last person on site, then please assume you are and close the gate!
If you don’t know how to do this, please ask a Board member who will be happy to assist. The security of the Club’s assets (and every member’s assets) is the responsibility of each and every one of us.
Bill Green - 08/03/2010
IMPORTANT NOTICE: Alcohol Must Be Under Your Direct Control
The Club's permit issued by the NC Alcoholic Beverage Commission is at risk if members do not comply with the ABC Commission rules. Every member who brings beer, wine or liquor on the premises must have the items under their control at all times.
If you bring alcoholic beverages to the club house, please bring them in a small cooler or bag with your name on it. DO NOT place alcoholic beverages in the refrigerators. We have been given one warning in the past. Do not be the member that causes our permit to be revoked.
Bill Green - 08/02/2010