Maryland’s Universal Sailing Club Turns 20

Organizers have big plans for a late-summer birthday bash on Chesapeake Bay.

Universal Sailing Club, the only Black sailing club on the East Coast, is celebrating its 20th anniversary.Courtesy Universal Sailing Club

Directors of the Maryland-based Universal Sailing Club are organizing a 20th Anniversary Weekend Celebration to observe the achievements of its members, hosted by Maryland Yacht Club of Pasadena, Maryland, from September 3 to 6.

A USC spokesperson says that friends plan to arrive by land and by sea. The objective for the weekend is to smile, share sailing stories, and enjoy the camaraderie of the many great captains and crew in attendance. Plans for the weekend include an opportunity to speak personally to the audience about the meaning and impact that the USC has had.

USC members enjoy planned activities on and off the water.Courtesy Universal Sailing Club

Founded by Marcus Asante and further developed along with Michael Campbell in 2001, the USC remains the only African American sailing club on the East Coast of the United States. Many members are from New York and the Mid-Atlantic states, and its primary cruising area is the Chesapeake Bay. The region serves a growing Black sailing community throughout Maryland, Virginia, and Washington D.C.

After years of kayaking and small-boat sailing, Asante became a sailing instructor in Baltimore, worked on an oyster schooner and crewed on a local sightseeing vessel. These experiences led him to create a sailing club conducive to the historic experiences and interests of African Americans. After meeting and sailing with Campbell, a veteran Long Island Sound sailor, the two forged a partnership that continues to provide a foundation for the club. You can find more information about the USC, activities and its anniversary plans online at universalsailingclub.org.