Come Sail Away
Gallery: The Cypremort Yacht Club [5 Images] Click any image to expand.
Cypremort Yacht Club
By Sherise Henry
For those who have been exposed to the peaceful rhythm of a sailboat, the bonding that takes place among crewmembers and the stories that are told at the clubhouse, sailing is not only a unique experience, but also a lifestyle of fun and fellowship. The Cypremort Yacht Club is home to this lifestyle for sailors in the Acadiana area. With a history that dates back to 1968, word soon spread that sailing enthusiasts had found the perfect place to practice their sport and bring their families.
Butch Leger joined the Yacht Club in 1981 and fondly recalls what drew him to the sport. “I had just purchased a 22-foot sailboat and knew only that I wanted to learn how to sail, and being a member gave me that opportunity through club racing and guidance from fellow members,” he says. One doesn’t have to own a boat to be a member of the Yacht Club. But for Leger the spirit of competition involved in racing his boat added to his experience. “Being a part of the races that’s really how I learned to sail,” he says.
Leger has been sailing for so long that he explains the process with ease. “Learning how to sail is a very simple process. You can sail 40 or 45 degrees into the wind. The sail draws you just as an airplane would lift you; it gives you a lift and draws you into the sail. The keel helps you also.” The keel is a flat blade attachment at the bottom of the boat that keeps the boat from being blown over. Leger also explains that at full speed a sailboat is traveling at 5 or 6 knots (every knot in sailor terms equals 1.5 miles per hour in laymen’s terms). The quiet sustaining winds and rhythm of the water is quite different from the racing sound of a boat with a motor. It is undeniable that those who’ve tried the sport seem to love it.
Some even fish off of their sailboats. In Leger’s experience, his love of sailing led to the catch of a lifetime. “I actually met my husband sailing,” says Chris Leger, Butch’s wife of nearly 30 years. “I met my husband through my brother who was a member of the Yacht Club and we were crewing on his boat,” she explains. Chris says that was her first experience sailing and her love for the sport has only grown since then. “It doesn’t matter if your boat is big or little because we have made some great trips,” she explains. “ We have made some great friendships and the best thing about having a clubhouse is you can race, sail and shower all before going home.”
Chris says the club occasionally holds socials and provides a great atmosphere for those who want social interaction. “It’s the type of sport that you can do for a lifetime. I have people that are sailing at 80 years old,” says Butch.
There are currently 120 members at Cypremort Yacht Club. Their clubhouse has a fully equipped kitchen upstairs and restrooms and showers downstairs. There’s a covered deck below and an open deck above. There are 17 wet slips for larger boats (wet slips are docking spaces for boats that are on the water) and 25 dry slips for members with trailer boats. The club also has a fleet of Sunfish sailboats for young boaters who want a chance to learn the sport. There’s even a Junior Sunfish program to teach kids, and the occasional adult, how to sail and race Sunfish sailboats.
The Yacht Club is situated on Vermillion Bay at Cypremort Point, which gives sailors a protected area to sail. However for those that seek a bigger adventure, trips have also been made offshore. Butch says when you are offshore you are pretty much sailing for 24 straight hours. Whichever your level of interest, the Cypremort Yacht Club has a program or crewmember that can help get you acquainted with your water adventure.
For those who just want to borrow the club’s appeal and sense of class, the Yacht Club is rented for weddings, receptions and seminars. And for anyone thinking of sailing into the wind after reading this, the Legers warn that this hobby has an addicting affect. “We like the competiveness - it’s exciting. It’s like any kind of hobby once you get into it. Its so much fun,” says Chris. Butch agrees, “These days, I usually race with my wife Chris as my only crew and still enjoy the thrill of racing and being out on the water. The most gratifying aspect of membership is the friendships that you forge with people who share your passion for boats, sailing and the water.”