The West End Sailboat Club emerged from a group of Somerset men who enjoyed sailing and boat building. It is believed that one of the first Comets was owned by Elliott ‘Nick’ Swan in 1937. However it was not until about 1940 that craftsmen like Elfie Cann, Edward ‘Jack’ Cross, Sinclair ‘Slim’ Lambert, Leon ‘Bully’ Lambert, Canute ‘Tutor’ Lambert, Ainsby Perinchief, Arnold ‘Midnight’ Knights and Lumley Burt built or secured their own boats. History tells us that Albert ‘Nervy’ Symonds, Elfie Cann, and ‘Jack’ Cross called on Ossie Philpott to enlist his support in forming a boat club. It was there in Mr. Philpott’s carpenter’s shop where meetings were held that the West End Sailboat Club came unto being with Mr. O. H. Philpott as its first Commodore in 1941.
Regular series of Comet races were held in the Great Sound and in 1945 the idea of a long distance race to St. Georges was introduced. On the day of the first Long Distance Race, twelve boats set out in a 40 knot breeze. Only four finished, with the first place honors going to Canute ‘Tutor’ Lambert sailing “Sea Hawk”. He covered the course in 1 hour and 13 minutes, establishing a record which still stands today. The Long Distance Race has become not only a major event to the local Comet sailors, but one of which is followed by thousands of supporters all across Bermuda.
The West End Sailboat Club has experienced many changes over the years since its humble beginnings at Ossie Philpott’s Carpenter Shop. Meetings were later held at the Somerset Cricket Club and at the home of the late Mr. John Davis who was Commodore from 1957-1959 and again in 1966-1971.
After operating for over 27 years, the club finally found its present home. When they acquired the building it was nothing more than a tiny cottage on the edge of the Great Sound, however over time, the membership has developed the property into a respected sailing club boasting one of the most picturesque settings anywhere.
It is believed that during the visit to Bermuda of a couple of Comet Sailors from United States, and during their boat trip across the Great Sound, they saw our comet fleet sailing, and from their inquires assisted us in becoming members of CCYRA. (Comet Class Yacht Racing Association). We are pleased to say that Albert ‘Nervy’ Symonds was named as an Honorary Member in 1972.
Vivian “Bootsie” Simons