Dropping anchor on a new clubhouse

Woodmere Bay Yacht Club rebuilds after Sandy


Woodmere Bay Yacht Club member Charles Mohr just finished rebuilding his Bay Park home after Tropical Storm Irene, when Hurricane Sandy struck Long Island and tore through Mohr’s house. Sandy also damaged the East Rockaway clubhouse of the 66-year-old group.

Mohr is once again repairing his home and along with the approximately 34 other families that belong to the yacht club, are awaiting a new boating season and a fixed up clubhouse. The club founded in 1947 by five men from Woodmere includes members from the Five Towns and the surrounding communities.

“We’re going to be rebuilding the existing structure,” said Mohr, who despite his personal problems with his home and the emotions of seeing his recreational home damaged spent nearly the first six seeks after the storm serving his neighbors by delivering wood for heat, safeguarding his neighborhood from looters and helping to organize cook outs at the Island Park train station, including one cook out that fed more than 2,000 people and had more than 200 volunteer who helped.

Elliot Cohen, a Woodmere resident and past club commodore, said the clubhouse’s destruction is a part of living by the water, but it was depressing seeing all the work that went into the building’s construction destroyed. “Sandy was quite unusual,” said Cohen, who has belonged to the club for 14 years. “We gutted most of the building and are really close to starting. We are still talking to the insurance company. We don’t have the money (for repairs) without insurance.”

In addition to the clubhouse structure being damaged some members lost their boats that were being stored on the property, said Lance Smith, a Rockville Centre resident who is the current club commodore. An eight-year member of the Club, Smith said that this was the second storm in two years that affected the club. Irene also struck the clubhouse.

“The goal is to have it ready for May, start holding events and have the pool up and running so members have a place to go,” said Smith, adding that general and board meetings and social events typically held in the clubhouse were held in restaurants and in April a member will host a potluck dinner “to keep everyone together and updated.”

That spirit infuses Mohr and other club members to rebuild their Cooke Street clubhouse. “Regardless if it will be done in time or not, nothing will hold back the members love and passion of the water for the boating season,” said Mohr, who is battling the Town of Hempstead over the allowable height to raise his house.