The Fisher’s Island Sound One Designs, otherwise known as the Class A’s, were built in 1922 for the Fisher’s Island Yacht Club and raced out of Hay Harbor on the west side of the Island. Sixteen boats of this design were built by the Nevins Yard on City Island, New York. In the ‘30’s, and after a series of capsizings, the Fisher’s Island Yacht Club decided the A’s were too tippy and sent them off to a Noank boatyard to be sold. Most of the boats arrived at GLP in the 40’s, but a few were sold to “outsiders”. These lost boats were found over time and brought back to GLP during the 50’s and 60’s. Two boats, Curlew and Turnstone, were lost in Hurricane Carol in 1954.
Now, the remaining 14 boats of this one-design fleet all reside at Groton Long Point. Rumor has it that this is the 3rd oldest racing fleet in the US, but that is unconfirmed. These beautiful boats can be seen weekend afternoons in July and August starting off Main Beach and tacking across the Sound. The only thing missing for those who follow the races by binocular from the beach, is the cold spray and the loud yells as boats come together for buoy roundings and spinnaker sets. And of course, the best part of the day is the after-race get together to discuss the tactics and mishaps of the day’s events.
There is a slow but inevitable turnover in ownership of these venerable boats as families and interests age so there are opportunities to work into the fleet if desired, but one must have a love for the boats and GLP because woe unto he who sells an A boat off the Point. Newcomers are welcomed with open arms and usually given quick lesson on local knowledge by some of the senior members of the fleet, but all of it is done in fun and for the sheer pleasure of sailing these beautiful sloops. These iconic yachts symbolize for many everything good about summer at GLP, and provide an attractive centerpiece for those who don’t sail.
Be sure to check the calendar for the race schedule. These boats are beautiful to view racing off GLP, as well as to sail.