The Boating Life

Enjoying the benefits of yacht club living

October 2022 Feature Colin Peterson

The River’s Edge Yacht Club is located on the Grand River in Fairpoint Harbor, Ohio, near the Riverbend Marina, directly adjacent to Lake Erie east of Cleveland and west of Erie, Pa. As the self-proclaimed, “Best club on the Grand River,” River’s Edge provides its members with plenty of boating and social activities for the greater area around Fairpoint Harbor. The club has a full-service clubhouse that offers showers, restrooms, laundry, and a fully-equipped kitchen with an ice machine. It all brings a warm and friendly vibe and atmosphere, thanks to its welcoming members.

Members are able to use the clubhouse to rent and host private parties. Although most of the facilities are only open to members, plenty of dockage with electrical and water outlets are available for visiting boaters. Visitors also get to enjoy stunning grassy areas where club members gather for picnics during the day and campfires during the evening. Whether you’re a registered member of this club or not, you’ll enjoy the beautiful, lush surroundings this area has to offer to enhance your boating experience.

Born For Marine Life

Two special members have been involved with the River’s Edge Yacht Club for over 15 years, and as time goes by, they’re still getting a huge kick out of everything the club has to offer. Matthew and Cheryl Leutwyler can tell you all you need to know about boating on Lake Erie and all the fun you can have here. Their life represents it well. The couple’s longstanding passion for boating has led both Matthew and Cheryl to serve as club commodores and take on several leadership roles in the club for years. Matthew grew up on the shore in New Jersey, while his wife grew up in this area near Lake Erie in northeastern Ohio. From each of their upbringings, the two have a rich history of exposure to the boating world and grew up learning to enjoy the water.

“What really got us into boating was a love of the water,” Matthew says. “When our kids were young, we wanted a fun family activity, so boating just seemed like a natural fit. My buddy had a boat for sale, and he let us use it for the summer. That’s all it took, and we were hooked!”

Boating Career

Matthew and Cheryl’s first boat was a 24-foot Wellcraft. “It was the perfect boat for a new boater,” Matthew says, “but as our children grew, we soon realized we would need a bigger boat.” After three seasons on the water, the couple upgraded to a 31-foot Rinker. They used that vessel for four seasons before upgrading to their current yacht, a 36-foot Rinker. The couple has owned it now for 16 seasons.

“We named it Cool Change from the song by the Little River Band,” Matthew says. “Our boat has served us well over the years. We dock at the Riverbend Marina, and our marina is a great place to spend time during the summer. We have been there for more than 20 years, and now our grandchildren come down almost every weekend and enjoy the boat and marina as well.”

Yacht Club Years

With so much to bring to the table in regards to boating, Matthew and Cheryl officially became members of the River’s Edge Yacht Club in 2009 after participating in several events in years prior, thanks to the strong and heartfelt encouragement from their dock partners.

“We have loved it right from the start,” Matthew says. “We have a great family at our club. We travel together all over Lake Erie and we party and hang at the marina every weekend.”

Matthew and Cheryl’s club has many events throughout the year, including regattas, clam bakes, dock walks, a commodores’ ball, holiday parties and so many more events. The couple raises money for the club and local charities throughout the season as well. If you end up joining the club, you’re practically guaranteed to not be bored.

Matthew and Cheryl were already on the move in the club after they joined. Cheryl was the club secretary, and Matthew became the rear commodore, overseeing the clubhouse and beverage center.

“As my day job kept me busy, I only did it for two seasons,” Matthew says. “However, Cheryl went on to become vice commodore, and eventually our second female commodore in the club history.”

That’s quite an achievement. Cheryl has also since been a trustee and vice commodore several times. After taking a small break, she’s considering taking another shot at the commodore role in the near future. Cheryl and her husband are also members of the International Order of the Blue Gavel, an organization of past commodores, which allows them access to any yacht club worldwide.

Looking Ahead

“Being a part of this club has been very rewarding and a lot of fun,” Matthew proudly says. “We have made lifelong friends, and we have grown a lot closer to them this past season due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. We have spent a lot of time at the marina this past summer and we look forward to many more years of boating on Lake Erie.” The Leutwylers have achieved so much in the boating life, and their exposure combined with their passion drives their success in a huge way.

For More Information

River’s Edge Yacht Club

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