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A sailing clubhouse with a difference

by Nancy Knudsen on 16 Mar 2013
Arabella, the new clubhouse destined for Manhattan Sailing Club .. .
The Arabella is the new 150ft clubhouse for the Manhattan Sailing Club in New York. Not content with using their clubhouse as an earthbound springboard for going sailing, the Manhattan Sailing Club has taken their passion for sailing to the next level - not one, but two, floating clubhouses. The Arabella is the latest.

Yes, amazing as it might seem to those of us whose clubhouses are firmly anchored on the shore, Arabella will serve as the second floating clubhouse of this unique sailing club, which only began to re-ignite sailing in New York Harbor in 1987. While The Mermaid, the floating vessel which Arabella is to replace, specialised in their sailing school, the 'Honorable William Wall' serves as a general the floating clubhouse and viewing platform of the Club.


From May through October, the clubhouse is anchored in New York Harbor just north of Ellis Island. This location offers superb views of the evening sailboat races and the stunning Manhattan skyline.


The clubhouse serves as a spectator platform for members and guests to watch the races, an educational center for teaching sailing and as an events space for corporate and member parties. From November through April, the clubhouse is docked at North Cove Marina.

The Champagne Bar on the main deck is the winter gathering spot for members. The club also runs a series of winter educational seminars onboard.

About the new Arabella:
Arabella was originally built in 1983 by Palmer Johnson. In 2000, she underwent a lengthening and top to bottom refit which enabled her to achieve USCG certification. For the past 10 years, she has been operated by a distinguished hotel group in Newport and sailed on cruises around New England in summer and the Virgin Islands in winter.

Now Arabella will begin the next chapter in her storied career as the clubhouse of Manhattan Sailing Club. Arabella will replace the Mermaid, a floating classroom which has served as their clubhouse since 1996. After sailing this year, sailing school attendees, members and their guests will be able to step aboard this 150-foot mega-yacht to relax and socialize with members and friends.

Arabella will also be an exotic platform for entertaining clients, business associates, family and friends. She will be the members' own mega-yacht at North Cove.

But she hasn't arrived yet!

Arabella is expected to arrive at North Cove within the next few weeks. Then she will undergo several months of refurbishment. It is hoped she will be open by May.


Commodore Michael Fortenbaugh and famed Americas Cup sailor Dennis Conner had been working on the Arabella project for over a year. Together, they believe this yacht will help take their club to the next level, giving them a world famous clubhouse. She will create a beautiful and commanding presence at North Cove, enhancing the marina and the surrounding community.


The addition of the Arabella will be a fitting conclusion to the Silver Jubilee celebrations of the club, which, since its inception just 25 years ago, has been changing New York Harbor for the better, by re-igniting Manhattan residents' interest in sailing.

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