I write this column once a month and Tim Wood and the good people at The Cape Cod Chronicle allow me to pick my topic each month. I always try to choose something pertaining to Chatham. There are unlimited stories about Chatham so I have lots to choose from.
Now that we all can drive directly to Orleans over Muddy Creek on the handsome new bridge, I have been noticing all the activity at Pleasant Bay Community Boating. PBCB is a non-profit dedicated to teaching sailing on Pleasant Bay. It was founded back in 2002 by some of the organizers of the Chatham Marconi Maritime Center. The idea was to provide sailing lessons and offer opportunities for local people to sail in Pleasant Bay. Chatham, Harwich, Brewster and Orleans all share the shoreline of Pleasant Bay. The intent was to make Pleasant Bay sailing affordable for all. Sailing lessons began in 2004 at Jackknife Harbor. In 2014, PBCB acquired the 3.6 acre property from the McClennan estate. The campus, which is what PBCB calls their home, provides an ideal location, with four dwellings, a boathouse and a dock as well as enough land for lots of parking. With every waterfront property on Pleasant Bay commanding a very high price, the fact that this new non-profit owns this site is an incredible feat. When it became possible to acquire the property at a reasonable price, PBCB launched a capital campaign. The fund raising was successful and the proceeds plus a loan from the Cape Cod Five made the purchase possible.
I called Ted Bayliss, an old friend, who is president of Pleasant Bay Community Boating. Ted very nicely emailed me brochures on their various programs. PBCB has something for everyone. Membership is inexpensive; youth (under 21) is $35 for the season, adults $60 and families $75. The application process can be handled online and is easy at the PBCB website. There are sailing lessons available for all, and they are relatively inexpensive, too. Generally speaking, youth lessons are $25 per class. They offer beginning and intermediate lessons for young people. Adult lessons in a variety of different craft are $30 per lesson. The PBCB staff includes a long list of skilled sailors and instructors. You can check the staff out, also, on the website.
PBCB has assembled a sailing fleet with a variety of different sailboats. Flying Scots, catboats, Sunfish, a laser, and 420s are all available for the members to learn on and sail. PBCB also has a number of support boats for patrolling which is important with relative newcomers out on the water. PBCB offers sailing lessons of all kinds, ranging from absolute beginner to “adventure sailing.” There are classes for parents alone and parents with a child. PBCB offers “Special Olympics Sailing” for students with cognitive disabilities. Those classes are offered free of charge. As I said, something for everyone.
And there is more. PBCB offers a series of sessions for “Muddy Creek Explorers.” These are three-hour-long nature classes that involve a number of science projects for ages 11 and up. Kayaks and canoes are available for recreational use when not in use by the marine science program. There is even the possibility of a sail in Nantucket Sound on Matt Sutphin’s 75-foot schooner Tyrone. That program is still in the development stage.
The fleet can be used for recreational sailing on Pleasant Bay in the afternoons, again for a reasonable fee. On Friday afternoons, PBCB is conducting some friendly races for its members. I’m sure there is more, but what a program for anyone who wants to get out on the water. I know this type of sailing program has existed at local yacht clubs for years, but access has not always been easy or inexpensive. PBCB, in its short existence, has opened it up for everyone. I invite you to Google them at Pleasant Bay Community Boating and see what they have for you.
Years ago, I often wrote of how wonderful Chatham was in the summer. I wrote of all the things residents and visitors could do if they were interested. Little did I know of what was to come. In the past few years, we have added The Chatham Marconi Maritime Museum and Pleasant Bay Community Boating, both with extensive programs, to all the existing recreational venues. And yes, I know that PBCB is not in Chatham, but its proximity and my favorite new bridge makes access a piece of cake. My next visit will be to the new Atlantic White Shark Conservancy in North Chatham. I know there’s a lot going on there, too.
So much to do, so little time!