Here we will highlight some of the key sailing clubs that helped bring sailing and racing to life in Bermuda. Another great location to note and to see for yourself is Jemmy Darrell’s home.
Jemmy Darrell’s Home
Considered to be the first black man to own a home in Bermuda, James “Jemmy” Darrell was a freed slave. Deed polls confirm that 5 Aunt Peggy’s Lane, St. George, was bought and owned by Mr. Darrell in the 18th century.
Mr. Darrell was an enslaved man who was “owned” by Captain Francis Darrell of St. George’s. Some researchers believe that Darrell [who was quite light-skinned may have been Francis Darrell’s offspring. Historians report that he was quite a valuable enslaved man, worth 100 British pounds.
In May 1795, James Darrell piloted Admiral George Murray’s ship, the 74-gun HMS Resolution, into Murray’s Anchorage on the North Shore near Tobacco Bay, St. George’s.
The Admiral was so impressed with his Mr. Darrell’s skill that he recommended that he be granted his freedom.
Governor James Craufurd released him from his enslavement on March 1, 1796.
“I do hereby declare the said Jemmy Darrell to be exonerated and released from all and all manner of Slavery or Servitude whatsoever, and I do earnestly request all Persons to treat him, as a Man actually and bona fide Free.”
Shortly after being freed he purchased a house in St. Georges on what is now Pilot Darrell’s Square. It was restored in 1992 by his great great great grandson Romano Ramirez, who lived there.
Story sourced from: bernews.com
Bermuda Native Yacht Club – 1844
- Richard Wood
- Esaw Simmons
- Richard A. Dashield
- Richard Beene
- Joseph Swan
- John Virgin
The Bermuda Native Yacht Club was the very first yacht club in Bermuda. It was led by Esau Simmons, a ferry boat operator from Salt Kettle, Paget, who raced a boat called Elizabeth.
The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club was also formed in 1844 and the two clubs often challenged each other to races.
The Bermuda Native Yacht Club disbanded a few years later.
In the 1850s Mr Simmons formed the Paget Union Club, an organisation that lasted for around seven years. A century later, another tradition arose: the Long Distance sailing race.
The race takes place on National Heroes Day, as the Edward Cross Long Distance Comet Race. Participants will wear Bermuda Native Yacht Club T-shirts in their team colours.
Story sourced from:
Sailing in Bermuda by Jack Arnell (pg. 30), Historical Research by Shirley Pearman & Maxine Esdaille
West End Sailboat Club – 1941
- Ossie Philpott
- Cyril Philpott
- Eugene Philpott
- Albert ‘Nervy’ Simons
- Charles Batson-Swan
- Mickey Manders
- Canute ‘Tutor’ Lambert
The West End Sailboat Club emerged from a group of Somerset men who enjoyed sailing and boat building. It is believed that one of the first Comets was owned by Elliott ‘Nick’ Swan in 1937. However it was not until about 1940 that craftsmen like Elfie Cann, Edward ‘Jack’ Cross, Sinclair ‘Slim’ Lambert, Leon ‘Bully’ Lambert, Canute ‘Tutor’ Lambert, Ainsby Perinchief, Arnold ‘Midnight’ Knights and Lumley Burt built or secured their own boats. History tells us that Albert ‘Nervy’ Symonds, Elfie Cann, and ‘Jack’ Cross called on Ossie Philpott to enlist his support in forming a boat club. It was there in Mr. Philpott’s carpenter’s shop where meetings were held that the West End Sailboat Club came unto being with Mr. O. H. Philpott as its first Commodore in 1941.
Regular series of Comet races were held in the Great Sound and in 1945 the idea of a long distance race to St. Georges was introduced. On the day of the first Long Distance Race, twelve boats set out in a 40 knot breeze. Only four finished, with the first place honors going to Canute ‘Tutor’ Lambert sailing “Sea Hawk”. He covered the course in 1 hour and 13 minutes, establishing a record which still stands today. The Long Distance Race has become not only a major event to the local Comet sailors, but one of which is followed by thousands of supporters all across Bermuda.
The West End Sailboat Club has experienced many changes over the years since its humble beginnings at Ossie Philpott’s Carpenter Shop. Meetings were later held at the Somerset Cricket Club and at the home of the late Mr. John Davis who was Commodore from 1957-1959 and again in 1966-1971.
After operating for over 27 years, the club finally found its present home. When they acquired the building it was nothing more than a tiny cottage on the edge of the Great Sound, however over time, the membership has developed the property into a respected sailing club boasting one of the most picturesque settings anywhere.
It is believed that during the visit to Bermuda of a couple of Comet Sailors from United States, and during their boat trip across the Great Sound, they saw our comet fleet sailing, and from their inquires assisted us in becoming members of CCYRA. (Comet Class Yacht Racing Association). We are pleased to say that Albert ‘Nervy’ Symonds was named as an Honorary Member in 1972.
Story sourced from: www.bermudacometclass.com
Spanish Boat Club – 1943
The Spanish Point Boat Club was formed in 1943 by thirteen men; Carl Simmons, Donald Simmons (Carl’s brother), Arthur Moniz (fisherman), Geoffrey Wilson, Jimmy “Jack” Lemon (Royal Navy), William Hassell (Home Paint), Sylvester “Sylvie” Barnes, Jimmy Hitchcock, Tony Soares (Boat Builder), Henry DeSilva (Fisherman), Reggie Cabral, Wilbur Franklin and Dick Harris.
In a very short time the membership grew and so did the fleet. At this time it was decided to look for a Club House. Mr Leyland Simmons (better known as Pop Simmons) offered the old wooden building known as the Bungalow. This was accepted in 1944, but a great deal of repair work was needed, with the help of the members it soon started to look like areal Club House. After moving to this new location, the membership and fleet continued to grow. Boasting a fleet of 14 boats with hardly any two alike in design, and ranging from 12 to 22 feet.
As the interest in the sailing fleet grew, some of the members purchased snipes from members of the Sandy’s Boat Club and Southampton Boat Club, while others decided to build their own boats at the Bungalow under the expert guidance of Kenneth Simmons Sr. and Tony Soares.
Again the Club membership grew and it was decided to look for a larger and more adequate premises. A decision was made to rent an old cottage at the end of Spanish Point road. The members were soon busy transforming this old cottage into a clubhouse containing; a bar, card room, dart room, and lounge. The bar was built by Tony Soares to resemble the hull and deck of a Snipe. Mr Llew Gibbons officially opened the Club on the 7th June 1951. The Club was later incorporated on the 5th July 1955.
1956 was a big year for our Club and Bermuda. The SPBC along with the St George’s Dinghy & Sports Club and the Snipe Association, were given permission by SCIRA (Snipe Class International Racing Association) to hold the Western Hemisphere Snipe Championship here in Bermuda. To
top off the year, Bermuda took first place with skipper Eugene “Penny” Simmons and crew John Shirley. This was the icing on the cake after they won the SPBC Championship and the Bermuda National Championship.
The Club as you see it today was constructed in 1968 with Albert “Brown” Tatem as Commodore, and we proudly continue the seafaring traditions of those who came before us to this day!
Story sourced from: www.spanishpointboatclub.com
Mid Atlantic Boat & Sports Club – 1946
- ‘Drake’ Laws
- Elsworth Lovell
- Lawrence Hendrickson Sr.
- Edward ‘Gates’ Smith
The Mid-Atlantic Boat & Sports Club was founded in 1946. In the early stages, the club consisted of a one room club house and ten wooden boats that were mostly built by the sailors themselves in their backyards.
Some of the founding members consisted of the Late ‘Drake’ Laws, Elsworth Lovell, Lawrence Hendrickson Sr. and Edward ‘Gates’ Smith. Gates Smith who is now in his seventies, still occasionally gets onto the race course making him one of the oldest active members in the class.
On August 11th 1963, Mid-Atlantic experienced a strange twist of fate. A day which began as a warm Sunday morning quickly deteriorated with gusts increasing to reach over 100 M.P.H as Hurricane Arlene swept throughout the island. By the time Arlene had completed her visit, among the aftermath of her devastation was the total demolition of the Mid-Atlantic club house and all ten Comets. It wasn’t until a number of years later that the boats and the club could be rebuilt and today we are known to you as Fleet #161, Territory 9. We consider ourselves to be a young fleet and what we lack in experience, we make up for in ambition. It is our contention that this positive attitude combined with a promising junior programme will soon make us a force to be reckoned with.
Story sourced from: www.bermudacometclass.com
East End Sailing Club – 1968
- Guy Millett
- James Wade
- Alton Millett
- Oliver Dickinson
- Michael Harvey
- Warren ‘Mickey’ Foggo
The EEMYC as it is commonly known, was formed by a group of adventurous individuals from the Eastern end of the island. With backgrounds of mini-yachts carved from cedar logs with lead keels and cloth sails as their guides, these men set out to establish a club house for the Comet Class sailboat which was already wide spread across the island.
During the year of 1968, the official fleet charter was established, filling St. Georges Harbour with a fleet of approximately 22 multi-colored Bermuda built Comets. Membership grew over the years with interest from area residents and nearby St. Davids creating a family and community club any community would be proud of. Sailing received a much needed boost by the introduction of the single handed dinghy the Phantom in the early 80’s; along with darts and golf providing an option for those non-mariners of the club. Although the Club’s location has remained the same over our first 2 years, structural changes has provided both members and non-members with a most attractive facility on the Harbour of St. Georges.
Story sourced from: www.bermudacometclass.com