The Chesapeake Shorthanded Sailing Society (CHESSS) is a paper club that supports and caters to minimalist sailors who manage their boats without a traditional crew compliment.
CHESSS is mainly concerned with serving solo and doublehanded sailors within the Chesapeake Bay environs but we are the only organization like it on the US East Coast. We encourage any solo or doublehanded sailors on the east coast to join and we would be happy to assist in establishing other shorthanded sailing clubs in other areas such as New England or the southern US.
What does "shorthanded" mean?
Within the confines of CHESSS the organization, "shorthanded" is used interchangeably with "doublehanded" meaning, UP TO 2 persons onboard, max. One skipper, one crew. CHESSS is also solo or "singlehanded."
Does CHESSS use a sliding formula to allow different crew sizes for different size boats?
No. CHESSS is for single and doublehanded sailors only, no matter the size and displacement of the vessel.
In fact, CHESSS is unique in that we allow doublehanded crews at all. Our affiliated Sailing Societies linked on our home page are strictly for solo sailors. If CHESSS were to allow graduated crew sizes according to length, then in the end, we would be no different than normal crewed sailing classes.
Is the main focus of CHESSS racing or cruising?
CHESSS recognizes that there are many husband/wife or doublehanded partnerships out there who are interested in cruising long distances and exploring.
CHESSS also recognizes that US social dynamics have changed since the sailing racing heydays of the 1980's and 90's. Changes in disposable income and time have led to declines in motivated, available crew for racing. Yacht designs are evolving to require fewer crew to safely operate them.
In short, CHESSS supports both racing and cruising equally. We are always looking for motivated members to design and lead fun and challenging cruising events in and around the Chesapeake Bay. If you don't see an event that interests you, feel free to offer suggestions!
CHESSS is a paper club. As such, we have no real estate assets or club house in the manner of traditional sailing clubs. Our members are often itinerant and always on the go, so an actual building wouldn't serve our members very well.
Not having to pay a mortgage, taxes and maintenance on a club house allows us to keep our annual dues to the absolute minimum while still serving our members well.
We do have a mailing address for paper correspondence.