New sailing group established for island-based families

Sat, 02/24/2018 - 7:15am

The following was submitted by Block Island Community Sailing, Inc.:

Block Island, with its perfect combination of fair breezes, a beautiful sheltered harbor, and excellent marine facilities, is a modern mecca for the sport of sailing. Block Island also has three centuries of a proud maritime heritage, with a history of fishermen and maritime pilots whose sailing prowess was legendary in their own time.

And yet today, with all the Island has to offer to advance the sport of sailing, few Block Island-based families have the opportunity to participate in the sport because there is no Island-based organization dedicated to make the sport of sailing affordable and available to all.

To correct this situation, a number of Block Island’s long time sailing enthusiasts have established Block Island Community Sailing, Inc. a new educational, community sailing organization, dedicated to make the sport of sailing fun, accessible and affordable to everyone, especially our youth and senior sailors. Incorporated as a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, BICS promotes an accessible and welcoming environment that encourages learning, volunteerism, and community spirit.

BICS is a member-based organization, open to everyone, and with a single low annual membership fee, our members can participate in the unlimited use of our boats, along with member discounts for sailing lessons, and racing, boating safety, and race committee certification clinics.

Our goals include:

To teach sailing, seamanship, and fair play in competitive sailing.

To provide sailboat availability to qualified sailors for recreational sailing or racing at the lowest cost possible.

To help raise the environmental awareness of Block Island’s Great Salt Pond and its surrounding waters.

To provide the “joy of sailing” experience to diverse groups including: youth sailing, women’s sailing, senior sailing, minority groups, and for the disabled or handicapped.

To provide an environment which fosters competitive sailing, which will put Block Island on the map as a regional center for sailing excellence.

Our Board of Directors includes a Who’s Who of Island sailing program supporters including Don Cox, Henry duPont, Jake Fiechter, James Gallacher, Kim Granbery, Tom Lee, Ted Merritt, Ray Torrey, and Chuck Townsend.

BICS programs include promotional “Introduction to Sailing” events for our prospective members, individual and group sailing lessons available to everyone, and to BICS members at a discount, boat use for members who demonstrate sailing proficiency, to take their friends and family sailing, and many other activities such as U.S. Sailing clinics for sailing technique, boating safety, racing, coastal navigation, and race committee qualification.

BICS looks forward to sponsoring Island based skippers and crews in regional racing events by entering our boats in regattas such as Off Soundings, BI Race Week, and in Eastern Connecticut Sailing Association events like the around Fishers Island ‘Round Island race.

We also look forward to engaging Block Island School Students with the availability of Spring and Fall sailing programs, leading to the creation of a Block Island School Sailing team, just like the sailing programs found at many other high schools in our region. These activities include the introduction of a sailing based STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) curriculum at the B.I. School as well as off season sailing opportunities such as a Caribbean sailing charter for Block Island School students during school vacation week.

BICS is building a fleet of donated keel boats suitable for teaching sailing, family recreational sailing, and racing with Block Island based skippers and crews. Some of our boats will be larger, in the 35-foot class, which will be comfortable vessels for senior sailing, offshore racing, and perfect for an overnight family sail to Newport or Stonington, for example.

BICS looks forward to working closely with other Island organizations such as the BIYC, the Block Island Club, and the Town of New Shoreham Recreational Department, to provide sailing program support for their programs. 

Please help us bring the joy and excitement of sailing to Block Island.  You can join BICS as a member, and/or make a donation to support our charitable community benefit programs. Visit us at or contact Henry duPont, Director, at