The Caloosahatchee Marching and Chowder Society
The sailing club with the very unusual name formed around 1970 at Cape Coral, Florida, with sailors from all over Southwest Florida as charter members. The unique name came from an effort to make it forever obvious that this was not a “Knife and Fork yacht club,” but a group of offshore sailors who wanted to race, cruise and explore the coasts of Florida, the Keys, the Tortugas, and the Bahamas. The name also describes the offbeat informal humor of the offshore sailor. It consists of folks from all walks of life who unite in their love of the sea.
The fleet of CMCS grew until now it numbers close to one hundred vessels and several hundred sailors and their family members. It consists of folks from all walks of life who unite in their love of the sea. For many years, CMCS did not even have a clubhouse, but finally obtained one in the late 1970’s at Rankin’s Anchorage. In 1996, the growth in membership prompted our move to a larger facility in Salty Sam’s Marina. By 2005, our membership had doubled to over 250 members. The clubhouse, now bursting at the seams required us to seek a “new home” with adequate facilities for our crew. We are now located at the Cape Coral Yacht Club, 5819 Driftwood Pkwy., Cape Coral, Florida.
In 2012 U.S. Sailing recognized CMCS with the Outstanding Organizational Support award. The award is given annually to an individual or organization that has made notable contributions to promote public access sailing in the development and organization of sailing programs. Our little Society earned the award due to philanthropic work led from fund raising activities produced by our Summerset Regatta.
This award seems to be a first for any Florida maritime organization. In addition, CMCS member Ross Webb won the Excellence in Instruction award for his work with the Edison Sailing Center.
The Caloosahatchee Marching and Chowder Society is one of the largest, oldest, and most active sailing clubs in Southwest Florida. It is unique, with its fame spread across the nation and across the ocean. But its most endearing quality is the informal friendliness of the sailors of its fleet, who welcome everyone, everywhere, to join their love of the sea. After all, with a name like this, you know we don’t take ourselves too seriously.