Sharon Historical Society Article

2006 Article in the Quarterly Newsletter of the Sharon Historical Society


Sixty Years and Still Sailing
The Sharon Transcript of July 23, 1946 carried a notice entitled "Sailboats Ahoy!" The notice alerted sailboat owners of a move to organize sailing races on Lake Massapoag. The call to organize was signed by George Bailey, Jr. and Betty Anne Beever.
On Sunday, August 10th, 1946, five boats participated in the first known organized sailboat race on Lake Massapoag. On August 22, 1946 the Massapoag Yacht Club was formed at a meeting at the home of George Bailey. James Rose, Jr. was elected Commodore, George Healy, Vice Commodore and Betty Ann Beever, Secretary- Treasurer. George Bailey was named chairman of the racing committee.
George had been sailing in Illinois while in Chicago learning radar as part of a government sponsored program recruiting young engineers. He sailed on a 19 foot Lighting and then a 55-foot yawl out of the Chicago Yacht Club. Armed with a knowledge of Vanderbilt racing rules and a handicap system, he initiated formal sail racing.
The Club built a dock and moored their boats off the public beach on the north side of the Lake. Club information was posted on the wall of Scotties’ concession stand at the Lake.
The first year's races were reported in the Transcript column “Sailing Slants,” authored by George. (It would seem his bent for writing long accounts in the local paper began early. Ed.) The detail of each race was reported in breathtaking detail especially as it applied to George's interpretation of the racing rules. There was also a good humored sense of people having fun. For example:

The competition was so fierce during last Sunday's races that we understand some eager skippers abetted their bulging canvasses with oars and paddles in a frantic endeavor to lead the fleet to the finish. This practice we might explain, is frowned upon in most racing circles, though, admittedly, the motivating spirit is quite admirable.

The Club started its second season in June 1947 with new officers and a new 30-foot dock. An attempt was made to rope off the dock to keep swimmers from sunning themselves on the decks of the sailboats.
In 1948, MYC held its first Race Day with invitations to sailboat owners. Three boats came from Lake Winnecunnet in Norton.
By January 1950, serious thought was being given to the possibility of securing property by the Lake. By sponsoring movies and selling candy, the Club raised $90. Dock assessments were continued to raise money as well. In the summer, the Club moved to a leased location on the west side of the lake off East Foxboro Street on land owned by Dr. Bruce.
It was known that there was a piece of waterfront property on Lakeview Street, but the Club was not in a position to purchase the land. A plan was developed where Nat and Mary Wentworth loaned the club $9,500 for the purchase. The Club in turn sold half the land back to them for $5,000, the remaining parcel became the present day site of the MYC. The Wentworths gave the Club a 4% mortgage.
To defray this expense, the officers of the MYC agreed to issue 600 MYC bonds, each having a face value of $10. The mortgage was paid off in 1960 and the bonds retired in 1965.
Over the next decades, the waterfront has been improved with floating docks, picnic tables, toilets, storage areas and most recently a screened club house—added in 1988 with the work being done by the members. Today there are 72 family memberships (43 from Sharon) and a wait¬ing list of 19. The Club hosted over 25 boats for the Day Sailer North American Championship on July 23-24. The Club has been named the Flying Scot Fleet of the Year for 2006. It has four active fleets and races on Sunday, Wednesday and Thurs¬day.
From modest beginnings the MYC is a fixture on the Lake and their sails are a beautiful part of the Sharon landscape.
(Thanks to George Bailey, Suzie Gray, Diane Kampf, Randy Rubinstein and Russ White for help with this article.) David Nelson, Ed
Contact Information
58 Lakeview Street P.O.Box 18, Sharon, MA 02067    Lat: 42° 5' 52" N     Lon: 71° 10' 50" W 
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