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How It All Started

History of Anderson Island Irregulars


The seed of Anderson Island Irregulars was planted when a group of Mystic Seaport Museum volunteers looked into what it would take to sponsor a Dyer Dhow in the Seaport's  fleet and enter it in the Dyer Dhow Derby.  With that purpose in mind, twenty-one people gathered in the fall of 1991 to meet and discuss the logistics of purchasing a Dyer Dhow and sail.  What resulted, however, was the formation of an organization, Anderson Island Irregulars.  


At the first official meeting in the spring of 1992, the first order of business for the new organization was to come up with a name.  With Mason's Island, Fishers Island, and Ram Island Yacht clubs in the neighborhood, members felt that the island thing was the way to go.  And since Anderson Island was only 50 feet from where everyone was sitting, and most members had run aground on it at one time or another, they felt it would be an appropriate base for the club's name.  Since only two members owned boats, members decided that they could not be a yacht club.  Passing over "boat club," "dinghy club," "sailing club," and "regulars," members settled on "irregulars," as they were far from being a bunch of "regulars."  Hence the name Anderson Island Irregulars was given the new club.


Now that the organization had a name, it needed a burgee.  One of A.I.I.'s members recalled how an instructor used to teach the beginner sailing class how to locate Anderson Island and thereby avoid getting grounded on it. He told students to look for sea gulls in the area of green can #47.  If students could see the knees of the gulls, there was a good chance that they were standing on Anderson Island.  From this story came the symbol for the Anderson Island Irregulars' burgee.





Until the fledgling organization accrued enough assets to appropriate a Dyer Dhow, members elected to purchase a sail that could be used as a spare on the fleet's existing Dhows.  Dues were set at $20 to cover costs.  Before construction of the sail could begin, however, members had to choose colors.  Several considerations factored into the choice of color sequence.  First, panels 2, 3, and 4, needed light colors so that sailors could see the tell tales on the other side. Secondly, members wanted to outdo Stonington Dinghy Club's decision to use pastel colors in lieu of the more traditional red and blue of other clubs.  The final color sequence reflected those considerations:  (top to bottom) purple, pink, green, pink, purple.

Meetings with Dave Raynor, head of Mystic Seaport's community sailing program at the time, revealed that there were many small things that the Youth Training Building (now known as the Mystic Seaport Sailing Center) needed but for which museum funding was unavailable.  He also identified that the Seaport needed help getting the Dyers ready for spring.  In an effort to address these needs, A.I.I. altered its goal at its second annual meeting to make it more of a "Make a Wish" program for the community sailing program and boathouse.  Since then, Anderson Island Irregulars have provided numerous small items to support the Seaport's sailing program and boathouse.  Among these are a "Weather Wizard" weather system, infant PFDs, sails for the JY-14's, sail covers for the Beetle Cats, and two fully outfitted Dyer Dhows--Anderson Island Irregulars and Jim Blackaby.  These donations were made possible through members' dues.

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