the YMCA closed its boathouse in 2003, the sailors on Pontoosuc Lake found
themselves without a home. Without
a facility to sail out of most sailboat owners had no place to moore their
boat, the Williams College Sailing Team no longer had place to hold practices
and regattas and the community at large were left without a facility to rent boats. Richard Cote, former manager of the
YMCA Boathouse and coach of the Williams College Sailing Team decided that
something should be done about that.
Mr. Cote began to explore
the possibility of forming an organization
that would fill the void left behind by the closing of the old boathouse. He envisioned a community based
organization where interested parties would bring together what resources they
had, utilize pre-existing equipment and supplies and create an organization
that was self sufficient and an asset to the community.
Cote approached the members of the Pontoosuc Sailing Club, Williams College,
the City of Pittsfield Parks Department and the local community leaders. He presented his plan, and after many
community meetings, public hearings and permit applications everything was in
The new site was in
Pontoosuc Park right next door to the old boathouse. The dock and mooring field permits were in place and a license
agreement was signed between the City of Pittsfield and a new sailing
organization called Berkshire Community Sailing.
next step was to bring all the parties together and pool resources. The response was overwhelming. Mr. Cote was able to raise enough money
to purchase all the necessary equipment, the members were able to solicit
enough donated boats to build our first fleet of rental boats, Williams College
provided the docks and financial support, the American Red Cross provided most
of the safety equipment and the City of Pittsfield provided the land.
true community based organization was formed. Our first year of operation was the summer of 2004. BCS had a modest rental fleet, a two-room
construction trailer for an office, and one volunteer employee. In the second season BCS was able to
employ three part time staff persons, the rental fleet grew larger and at the
end of the season was able to add a 32 Ft. storage trailer for small
In 2006 BCS continued
grow adding several new programs to the schedule. Through all of this BCS operated a full sailing school,
hosted local and college regattas, and provided free learn to sail programs for
the community. In the
hopes to continue developing community based boating programs, develop an
adaptive sailing program and someday replace the trailers with a building.