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Sailing Melts Away Problems For Ossining Boaters

Tom Earle and Ray Perron of the Ossining Boat and Canoe Club love going out on the water because it lets them view the world a little differently.

"When you get out on the water, if you've had a hard day of work, everything goes away," said Perron, the club's membership chair. “Nobody can touch you out there.”

Earle, the commodore of the club, agreed.

"You see Ossining and it's just a green hill with a couple of towers sticking out," he said. "It gives you a different perspective on everything."

The Ossining Boat and Canoe Club was founded in 1915 during an era when cars were not common and highways in the area had not yet been built. The club's mission is to provide access to the river at an affordable rate.

Today the club has 110 members. About half are active boaters while the others come just to use the clubhouse facilities by the water.

Membership rates are $420 per year plus 30 work hours for a full membership and $210 per year for associate membership with no boating privileges.

The two-story clubhouse has an upstairs clubroom with a kitchen, a downstairs clubroom, lockers for members and a workroom for doing repairs. Outside, the club has dinghies tied to its dock for rowing out to where boats are anchored.

In May, when the boating seasons began, members build the club's docks, using a heavy contraption to drive poles into the bottom of the Hudson River. In September, the docks are taken out by members in preparation for winter.

"The members have always built and maintained the club. We don't hire out," Earle said. "We do all our own work and it keeps costs down."

This year, the club will host two regatta races. The first is a Solstice Regatta on June 25 and a Labor Day Regatta on Sept. 5. The club also hosts cookouts, a fish fry, a clam bake, fall work parties and an Ossining American Legion and VWF ceremony to honor servicemen and women who lost their lives at sea. During Independence Day weekend, the clubhouse is a prime spot for viewing fireworks.

For those who want to get out on the water but don't have a boat, Earle suggested joining the Ossining Community Sailing Club for $50 a year per person or $75 a year for a family membership. Members of the club can go sailing as crew members without having to worry about owning or maintaining a boat.

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