Seawanhaka was my childhood yacht club, so I think it only fair to disclose a personal bias right up front in blogging about a visit there. Having stated that caveat, and even adjusting for personal bias, our visit to Seawanhaka made for one of the best evenings we’ve experienced this summer. That’s quite an accomplishment given that we’ve had one hell of a great season cruising New England waters!
For some reason, the last three times we’d tried to get Le Saberage to a new destination (Newport to Block Island, Block Island back to Newport [on a separate cruise the following weekend], and Duck Island to the Thimbles) we’d faced 100% upwind sailing in stiff breezes and chop. Happily, our trip from Port Jefferson to Seawanhaka broke the trend and we enjoyed delightful downwind sailing in 17 knots for most of the trip.
Making a final turn in, we enjoyed a little broad reaching on port.
A beautiful afternoon of sailing puts me in a generous mood for heaping praise on a destination, but Seawanhaka earns it on every level. Here’s my shortlist for why our visit was such a pleasure:
- Seawanhaka offers a beautiful facility topped by a gorgeous clubhouse steeped in history. It hasn’t changed in the slightest in the three decades that have passed since my family cruised from here – and I hope it never does!
- Terrific harbor views from the clubhouse, and a well protected mooring field that is a visual delight for cocktail hour – whether from on-high at the clubhouse or in one’s own cockpit enjoying cheese and crackers.
- Great marine facilities for transients and members alike. Ice, fuel, water, excellent showers and a service dock are all available right onsite in a addition to a full service yacht hard with Travelifts. The only thing lacking is a grocery store close by. Like Port Jefferson, the nearest store would be an Uber ride away for transients.
- ….wait. Before detailing this bullet point, some background is in order….
There’s no polite way to say this, so I’m going to be blunt: Seawanhaka (and this region of the country in general) has a reputation for being populated with snobs. That might sound a little harsh, but having grown up there I can attest to there being some cause for the reputation (or at least there was at one time). That being said, much to our delight and surprise….
- ….Extremely friendly staff and members. We met the commodore on a launch ride and a handful of members at the bar before dinner and all were a delight. Hearing we were transients visiting, they were honestly interested in our trip, our boat, and our home club. I didn’t sense a trace of the narcissistic elitism we expected to encounter.
If you are a member of a reciprocal club and you’re cruising Long Island Sound, GO! The moorings are expensive at $70 a night for our 42-footer (equaled this summer only by Nantucket) but for all we got the price was worth that and more.