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Cruising the Sound in good company

A Connecticut club organizes two cruise-in-company excursions, open to any area boater

A Connecticut club organizes two cruise-in-company excursions, open to any area boater

Bob Butler believes the more the merrier when it comes to cruising.

Butler, fleet captain of the Fayerweather Yacht Club in Bridgeport, Conn., organizes two cruise-in-company excursions each summer and is inviting all area boaters to participate.

“It’s not just for yacht club members,” says Butler, who has been sailing his Sabre 34 since 1978. “Anyone with a boat can come.”

The cruises to Shelter Island, N.Y., and Block Island, R.I., depart Fayerweather Yacht Club and last eight or nine days depending on weather. Butler says the trips are scheduled to take full advantage of the east flow tide. Participants are invited to hook up with the fleet at any stop. The fleet is predominantly sailboats, but powerboaters are invited as well.

The advantage to cruising in company is safety. Members stay in radio contact with each other, and are willing to help out in case something goes wrong. Butler and his friends have been making the same voyages year after year, so they are also knowledgeable about sandbars, submerged rocks and other navigational hazards. The best part about cruising in company, says Butler, is the camaraderie.

The Block Island cruise this year set off July 10. Typically, the fleet generally stops at North Cove in Old Saybrook, Conn., the first night, then continues to Block Island the next day. On the return trip, the fleet either stops in North Cove or Shelter Island.

About 30 years ago Butler and his friends enjoyed their stop in Shelter Island so much, they decided to make a special trip there. The Shelter Island cruise proved to be popular. The first year nine boats participated. In recent years there typically have been between 10 and 18 boats participating. The voyage features a full itinerary with several ports of call, a raft-up, cookouts and dinners at local restaurants. There also is ample free time for swimming, shopping and other activities.

For this year’s Shelter Island cruise the fleet departs Bridgeport Aug. 14 with an overnight stop planned in Old Saybrook’s North Cove. Slower boats often stop at Duck Island in Westbrook, Conn. The fleet meets up again in Coecles Harbor on the east side of Shelter Island.

Other ports of call include Dering Harbor, a small, protected harbor on Shelter Island directly across from Greenport, N.Y.; West Neck Harbor and Sag Harbor in New York; and Essex, Conn. The raft-up, featuring a cookout, takes place in West Neck Harbor. The group typically dines at the Griswold Inn in Essex on the return voyage.

Contact Bob Butler at (203) 268-5775 or