Celebrating completion of a “major” three-year restoration project, the Rhode Island Yacht Club hosted a gathering for its members and the public on Dec. 15.
“This sets us up for the next 100 years,” said Irwin Kraus, rear commodore of the 138-year-old club in Cranston, just before those on hand joined in a champagne toast led by club secretary Piers Curry and others.
Commodore Nichols Rampone said “major renovations” at the Ocean Avenue clubhouse have occurred in several phases. The project included the reconstruction of the foyer, the addition of an elevator, other accessibility improvements and the creation of a new third floor that serves as office space. The work also included new walls and the replacement of leaky windows.
“It was time,” Rampone said of the project.
The cost of the work totaled $361,000, and required no capital assessments for members. Fundraisers were held and donations sought to support the effort.
A plaque was presented prior to the toast in recognition of the efforts of Rampone, the Clubhouse Restoration Committee, which consisted of Curry, Al Coleman, Patricia Kokoska and Jennifer O’Brien, and “all volunteers and contributors.”
“Thank you for your tireless efforts and many countless hours devoted to the Rhode Island Yacht Club,” the plaque reads.
Rampone said the club remained operational throughout the project, although he did say the work led to “some inconvenience” for its approximately 200 members. Part of the impetus for Sunday’s event, he said, was to reward them.
The gathering also showcased the extensive history of the club, which was founded in 1875, is surrounded by Stillhouse Cove in Edgewood and is the oldest of its kind on Narragansett Bay. The building is home to cases filled with trophies dating from the 1800s, and its walls are adorned with images of the previous two clubhouses lost in catastrophic hurricanes – the first in 1938, and the second in 1954. The current clubhouse, a hurricane-resistant structure, was built in 1956.
The invitation to the open house celebration states that recent restorations have allowed “contemporary updates while reflecting [the club’s] rich history and strong traditions.”
Aside from the history, Kraus said the Rhode Island Yacht Club is unique in that it draws both sailors and power boaters as members with a roughly 50-50 split. The club also offers dining and can be rented for functions, providing a panoramic view of the bay.
For more information, visit the club’s website at www.riyachtclub.org.