Point of Pittsburgh Sailing League Sailing in Pittsburgh

Sailing in the region

Sailing is a popular recreational activity in the southwestern Pennsylvania region.  Several sailing organizations, as well as racing fleets, are well established on area lakes.

Forty miles north of Pittsburgh, Lake Arthur in Moraine State Park has more than 600 sailboats based in slips, moorings or onshore.  Two sailing organizations are based at Lake Arthur.   Lake Arthur Sailing Club is a family-oriented sailing club of cruising sailboats.  Moraine Sailing Club (MSC), which includes an active racing program and a community sailing program, has a growing youth sailing program and conducts educational seminars. Deep Creek Lake in Maryland is another popular sailing venue with Deep Creek Yacht Club, Inc. (DCYC) that offers a broad range of support and education for sailors. 

Point of Pittsburgh - A Feasible Sailing Venue

The location for the proposed sailing program is on the Allegheny River in the vicinity of the Point. This area has both adequate size for a racing-oriented sailing program and is in an open river area with favorable wind conditions. 

The viability of the Pittsburgh sailing area was demonstrated in a sailing test and three sailing regattas.  River current was not a factor in the races or the sailing tests.  Based on US Army Corps of Engineers’ data, river currents subside after early-spring.  Other than during periods of major storms, river current in spring, summer and fall are minimal and will not interfere with sailing. 

Safety issues have been address through the development of sailing safety procedures that have been presented to and endorsed by the commercial boating community.  The area of the Point is also a no wake zone for weekends during summer seasons.  Most recreational boating occurs during the weekend.

River-based sailing is well established in other locales throughout the nation including the Charles River in Boston, Massachusetts, Ohio River near Louisville, Kentucky and other venues that share similar characteristic to the propose sailing area.  These sailing venues and others have satisfactorily addressed issues that would be of concern with any sailing program in areas of commercial and recreational powerboat traffic.

Sailing in Pittsburgh

The President of sailing consultant firm Reach sailing, Joe Costa, came to Pittsburgh on March 18th, 2004 to evaluate the area of the Point for a sailing program.  His findings regarding the viability of the Point of Pittsburgh as a sailing venue for a racing-oriented sailing program are particularly noteworthy:

  • The water area at the Point is more than adequate in size for a youth-oriented race-based sailing program -- even if limited to the Allegheny River channel;
  • The river current is a consideration—but not an obstacle -- for sailing;
  • The no-wake zone in the Point area significantly reduces any conflicts with recreational power boating;
  • Proximity of the proposed Pittsburgh site to numerous area high schools and colleges is comparable to other regions of the nation with successful sailing programs;
  • Affiliating the sailing program with an existing organization such as the Three Rivers Rowing Association would reduce the challenges of developing and maintaining a new program;
  • With appropriate safety procedures, larger commercial river traffic would not pose a significant safety hazard.

Vanguard Sailboat, a national manufacture of sailboats, also offered a strong endorsement of the proposed sailing venue  “The site could be one of the most spectator-friendly sailing venues in the country—it might even give San Francisco and Boston a run for their money”, August 16, 2005 Adam Werblow, Vanguard Sailboats.  

Point of Pittsburgh Sailing League ~ 245 Catalpa Place ~ Pittsburgh, PA 15228 ~ 412.997.9305 ~ sailpittsburgh@gmail.com