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History of BCS


When 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.


Mr. 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 place.  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.


The 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. 


A 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 boats.  In 2006 BCS continued to 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 future BCS hopes to continue developing community based boating programs, develop an adaptive sailing program and someday replace the trailers with a building.




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