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All for the love of sailing...

Our Own Damn Yacht Club's history

Have something you think should be added? Email a brief with photos to

All for the love of sailing

This page is a recollection of our history, a living page that is constantly changing.

We will be adding to this, making it more complete as we go.

If you have something to add, whether it is photography, videos, or stories...



The first unofficial regatta was held on Labor Day Weekend, marking the start of club. 
This even would later be considered the First Annual Regatta.

1930 - PREWAR

In 1930 a group of sailors from Cedar Point in Shady Side and from the shores of the West River formed OODYC (Our Own Damn Yacht Club). Spearheaded by the first and five time commodore William (Billy) Heintz, the club's first regatta was held on Labor Day weekend of that year. Labor Day weekend still anchors the club's active racing and cruising schedule.

In 1933 the club's name became West River Sailing Club, and for several years activities were centered around Cedar Point, known to many as Wagner's Point. In time the focus shifted to Galesville as the club's growth dictated a need for more space and facilities.


Prominent one design classes in the '30s were the Dick Hartge designed and built Albatross, Sea Witch and Chesapeake 20. The Chesapeake 20s remain an active club fleet to the present day.

Prewar years saw WRSC keep its easygoing pace with an annual meeting under a tree or on somebody's porch. The emphasis was on racing every Sunday on the West River or at a regatta elsewhere. Host clubs were Rock Hall, Miles River, Annapolis, Indian Landing, Tred Avon, Urbanna and PRSA's President Cup Regatta on the Potomac.

WW2 - 1960

World War II kept racing and activities to a minimum. War bonds were often given as trophies. After the war, interest and participation in the club grew rapidly. In 1953, under the leadership of Commodore Walter Windsor, WRSC leased clubhouse space at Zang's Pier (located where Pirates Cove is today).

A Junior Fleet and Cruising Division were formed and the first newsletter was published in 1955.


In 1960 land was purchased and our present clubhouse, designed by WRSC member David Shaw, was erected. The land it was built on was donated by our five time commodore, Billy Heintz. It was dedicated in a gala ceremony in July 1963. The original drawings of it are shown in the clubhouse. That same year the club distributed its first Membership Roster.



In 2009, WRSC expanded into Adult Learn to Sail classes thanks to the huge effort of Peter Duncan, who collected the Albacores and brought the program to the club.

In 2019, West River Sailing Club started celebrating its 90th year at our 90th Billy Heintz (Labor Day Weekend) Annual Regatta. Whether it is the new logo celebrating OODYC's burgee (pictured below), or the new website in 2019, our 90th year will be a year of improvement and celebration. 2019 saw our club look furthur outward with the start up of the West River Sailing Foundation and our partnership as the local Sea Scout troop's host organization.

With support from the community and friends, West River Sailing Club has continued to prosper. Programs like our youth ctivities, our one-design program, our big boat racing activities, and our cruising fleet, along with high profile regattas like the Star North American Championships, 505 championships, or Albacore nationals make WRSC a highly visible part of the Chesapeake sailing scene.

Continued modernization of the facilities and an active volunteer spirit with the membership has lead WRSC into a new era of success — insuring our ability to support the sailor and sport for many years to come.

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