Yachts To Return To Mecox Yacht Club

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The remnants of the Mecox Yacht Club will sputter back to life this summer as boat hulls and canvas sheets will once again adorn Mecox Bay’s eastern shores.

The Southampton Town Department of Parks and Recreation will award leases next month for 12 spots on new boat racks that it placed on the former MYC property at the end of Bay Lane in Water Mill. The leases will be awarded by a lottery on June 13. Applications may be submitted until the day prior at the Department of Parks and Recreation office.

The reappearance of sailboat hulls on the racks marks a small victory for the supporters of the effort to revive the former yacht club, which struggled through nearly a year of public hearings and has been the focus of three court challenges.

“It’s been a long road,” said Jeffrey Mansfield, a Bridgehampton resident who spearheaded the effort by a private group to revive the Mecox Yacht Club in 2011 as a children’s sailing club. “It will be nice to have the community be able to go sailing down there easily again.”

Mr. Mansfield’s group had applied to the town for a wetlands permit in 2011 to allow for the boat racks to be installed and to access the water from the old yacht club property, which the town now owns. Proponents said that it was important to have a place for sailors to store the hulls of their small boats, because, while carrying sails and rigging back and forth is a small chore, having to trailer or car-top much heavier hulls was a substantial deterrent for residents who do not live on the water.

After the Southampton Town Board approved the use of the property for the sailing club, neighbors went to court seeking a restraining order to prevent clearing for the boat racks, and challenged determinations by the town building inspector and zoning board that would allow for the repair of a small storage shed on the property. Two of the suits are still pending; the suit challenging the Town Board decision was dropped when the application was withdrawn by Mr. Mansfield’s group in 2012 after the town pledged to create a sailing storage facility on the property itself.

This week, Mr. Mansfield said he is hopeful that the staunch opposition to the use of the property is waning. He said he was asked recently by one of the residents from Bay Lane how to apply for a lease on one of the boat racks. But, he said, the users of the property still need to show residents that they will be mindful of their neighbors.

The yacht club supporters say they will now take on the role of conservators for the defunct yacht club, which hosted and organized sailing regattas on the bay from the late 1800s, when it was the Mecox Bay Yacht Club, until the early 1990s. Mr. Mansfield said he is still hopeful that someday the old boat shed will be available for sailors to store sails and equipment in, and that sailing instruction will be offered on the bay again.

The town will not have sailing instruction on Mecox this year, said Parks and Recreation Superintendent Chris Bean, relying instead on its programs at Long Beach in Sag Harbor and Tiana Beach in Hampton Bays. But he said it’s possible that a small instruction program may one day be held at the Mecox Yacht Club property.

Annual rental fees for the boat racks will be $125 per season. Mr. Bean said the money will be used to continue sprucing up the property and possibly to rehabilitate the boat shed.

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