RI’s Edgewood Yacht Club Rebounds After Fire

The EYC clubhouse, built in 1908, was destroyed in a mid-January blaze. Photo/EYC

It has been 3 months since the historic Edgewood Yacht Club (EYC), located in Cranston on upper Narragansett Bay, was burned to the pilings in a mid-January fire. The venerable, cedar-shingled building, constructed in 1908, contained numerous sentimental and historic objects such as paintings, photos and trophies, but fortunately no one was injured in the blaze.

The fire's aftermath. Photo/EYC

As the EYC draws closer to its May 21 opening day, New England Boating checked in with Vice Commodore Sue Toland to learn the status of the club and its marina this season, and whether a new clubhouse might be in the works.

“Right now we’re focused on getting ready for the 2011 season,” said Toland, who seemed very upbeat about the future of the EYC. She said that all post-fire debris had been removed from the site, and that new pilings had been sunk to allow full use of the marina this season. A 30’ by 60’ tent on the property’s North Lot will eventually serve as a temporary clubhouse, while a large trailer will house the head and shower facilities for members. An awning or tent will also be set up on the wharf to provide a place for members to sit and enjoy the water.

New pilings were sunk to allow access to the marina docks, which will be fully functional this season. Photo/EYC

Transient dockage and moorings will be available to the public, and there is new power on the docks, as well as a new pumpout system made possible with the help of a state grant.

As far as membership, Toland says the club has not lost any members because of the fire. “If fact, we actually picked up 5 to 7 new boats since last season,” she stated.

Toland and other officers at the EYC have been quick to praise the support shown by members of the Rhode Island sailing community, as well as the club’s Cranston neighbors. In February, the club received a donation of eight 420 sails from the Newport Yacht Club to replace those lost in the fire. And just last week Brewer’s Yacht Yards of Rhode Island announced that it would donate $500 from each new summer slip contract to support the Edgewood Sailing School in Cranston. Any new customer who signs up for a 2011 summer slip at any of the 5 Brewer locations in Rhode Island (subject to space availability) will have $500 of the slip payment donated directly to the sailing school.

. A new clubhouse may be years away, but will likely occupy the same footprint as the old structure. Photo/EYC

As far as replacing the old clubhouse, Toland said, “It might be 2 or 3 years down the road, but it’ll happen.” Ever positive, she added that a new building would have the benefit of less upkeep. “The old building was in constant state of repair,” she pointed out. “And besides, it’s the people inside who make the club what it is.”

Toland said that there is consensus among club members, the area’s residents and the city that any new structure should have the same character as the old building, although it would be modified to suit modern needs and regulations. For example, any new design would have to take into account the higher flood plain created when the Providence Hurricane Barrier was installed.

While a lot of irreplaceable items were lost in the fire, workers and club members were able to find some stuff in the low-tide mud around the charred pilings during cleanup operations. “We found the starting cannon and plaques for the National Historic Register, as well as some burgees and 100-year-old Brown University plaques,” Toland said.

Stay tuned to New England Boating for more updates on the Edgewood Yacht Club this season.

For more information on the club:

Edgewood Yacht Club

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