Club History

History of the Colington Yacht Club

In 1982, Colington Yacht Club founder Bob Buchanan and his wife Elizabeth sailed from Florida to Manteo on a 37-foot center cockpit, motor-sailor sloop named Celeste with the idea of spending the summer at the town docks and returning to Florida and the Bahamas in the winter. They spotted somebody moving out of a beautiful apartment, which included a lovely view of the harbor and a private dock. They grabbed it when they found out it was for rent.

That fall, a small group of sailboat owners, who were living aboard at the town docks, decided to have a sailboat race on Labor Day. The group included Glen Van Suskil racing Island Trader, Steve and Amy Musil with a trimaran named Good Sign, Carl Bock from Wanchese with a 30-foot sloop and a few others.

After the race, the group gathered on a boat with the hailing Island Trader for a few, at which point Buchanan brought up the idea of starting a sailing yacht club. Everybody there thought it was a great idea. That fall, the originating group “talked it up” and Tony McGowan, owner of a local newspaper The Currant, gave it a great deal of exposure. Interest led to the announcement of a meeting at Manteo’s town hall that was surprisingly well attended by full and part-time residents from all of the local beach communities.

In 1983, the yacht club was established as an official Albemarle Sound Sailing Association (ASSA) registered racing club. That summer, most of the races were held just north of a channel that was conveniently dug in the Roanoke Sound for the deeper drawing boats, such as sailboats.

In 1984, a man by the name of Pete Hunter was elected as the first commodore. During this year the 400th anniversary of the English colony’s settlement on Roanoke Island was being celebrated . Princess Anne was there intermingling with club members while the club participated in the affair. A crescendo of the celebration involved the club hosting a convoy of approximately 100 boats from Elizabeth City to Manteo, with Walter Cronkite in the lead boat. Cronkite was made an honorary member of the club that day.

A few years later, many of the original members, relocated to Colington Harbour, joining other members already residing there, and somewhere around the year 1997, the club officially established itself in Colington as the Colington Yacht Club (CYC). However, to this day the original yacht club flagpole can still be seen at the town docks of Manteo.

Elizabeth and Bob Buchanan lived in the Outer Banks for 21 years, and in a letter to the club dated February 26, 2008, Bob stated that “it was a wonderful and exciting experience, and we miss the many, many friends we had there.”

To view a copy of the letter referenced above, click here.

Buchanan’s favorite sail was from Colington Harbour to Manteo Harbor, and the Colington Yacht Club continues an annual race in his honor. In addition to its official race schedule, it also hosts the casual, Wednesday evening race at 6 p.m. from March through November.

Those interested in joining the club do not necessarily have to own a boat. Interested parties are encouraged to contact the club commodore at [email protected]