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Log Entry

...the year was 1938

Friday evening we visited one of the Chesapeake Bay's historic sailing clubs.


Our friend, neighbor, fellow AYC member, and consummate boater, Geremy, called around 1500 to ask if we wanted to go for a boat ride. Of course, the answer was yes.


Geremy keeps his center console outboard at our very local marina, now called Safe Harbor Podickory Point. We strolled through our community, chatting about our week's adventures, into the marina and by the putrid fishy trash bins, then down the dock to the boat, fired up the Yamaha, tossed the lines, and headed out into the Bay.


I asked Geremy where he wanted to go, and he replied, “I don’t know. Where do you want to go?” I thought briefly and suggested we head to Blackhole Creek on the Magothy River to see the Potapskut Sailing Association (PSA). I have to admit, this was yes, off the cuff given the non-planning aspect, but truly I've been wanting to check PSA out for some time as a dear friend, and also neighbor, gave me a burgee and sent some wonderful old pictures of her memories there.



Funny enough, I spent the latter part of my youth living and boating on the Magothy and had never been to PSA – even though it is sort of across from the community where I'd lived. I can only think it was probably because in the mid-1970s my focus was more on water skiing than sailboat racing. Anyway, off we went to check it out.



So you have some idea of where in the world this is, here's a little overview of the Magothy and zoom-in of Blackhole Creek on the chart sections above. For reference, we were traveling from right to left on the chart. The entrance is a bit tricky and narrow and would not make for safe waterskiing, so that is my excuse for never venturing there while living in Ulmstead.


A short, breezy ride up the river from Podickory to Blackhole Creek, passing a small Friday night racing fleet, we spotted PSA immediately upon entering the little creek. You really can't miss it, there is a large area full of moored sailboats. But, mind you the tiny island in the middle and spit of land going to it, mostly underwater, means you can't cut through, just follow the markers. Anyway, the club, up the hill behind the mooring field, has a small but well-kept complement of regular and floating docks that were completely full with mostly sailboats.



As we approached, a man walking the dock returned our wave, so we stopped and said hello. We told him we were exploring, decided to visit Blackhole this particular evening, and wanted to see PSA. Without hesitation, he offered us to tie up and come look around.


Of course, we were already aimed at the dock, wasted no time, and were off the boat and shaking our host's hand. The unofficial tour guide was a longtime member, and past commodore, Andy Gillis. Andy could not have been more welcoming and happy to tell us about the club he has been a part of for almost his entire life.


PSA has seemingly changed little since its inception. Holly, Geremy, and I all felt like we had been transported to a slightly warmer, more humid Maine. The grounds are neat, and the clubhouse is quaint and exceptionally well-maintained.



I digress to share some PSA history. Potapskut Sailing Association was founded in 1938 and was initially located in Rock Creek on Wall Cove, an entirely different river, the Patapsco, north of the Magothy. The first commodore was Marshall Duer. He was a successful business executive from Baltimore. In addition to being a founding member of PSA, Mr. Duer founded the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. He was a well-known competitive sailor, campaigning his boats named Marcarle, and a longtime member of the Annapolis Yacht Club.



When established, the membership in PSA was limited to forty-five, and today one hundred. Andy said that there are memberships available for interested sailors.


Other well-known racing sailors affiliated with PSA were Ron Ward, far left, and Harold “Buzz” White, center. Both men served as commodores, Buzz White twice in the 1950s and Ron Ward in 1961 (many thanks to John White for insight on the who's who). They were also Annapolis Yacht Club members.



After talking about PSA and swapping some sailing stories with Andy, we thanked him for showing us around and shoved off to head back to Podickory Point. For an impromptu visit, it turned out to be a fantastic I love yachting history story for a small but renowned sailing club with a deep past.

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2 Comments


Guest
Jul 23, 2023

Thank you for this wonderful article about Blackhole Creek and PSA. My family has been blessed being apart of PSA since the beginning. Marshall Duer was my father. Also having lived on this beautiful peaceful creek most of my life, has made life a true joy. Potapskut is truly a family oriented club for sailors, and we work together to keep it special. Thanks again, Leah Duer Alfriend

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gchelius
gchelius
Jul 10, 2023

It was an amazing night. I was glad to be a part of it, and speak with Andy. That club is something special.

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