Since the early 1980s, South Florida’s Sailfish Point has earned an enviable reputation as a sun-drenched mecca for outdoor living. The private residential club on the southernmost tip of Hutchinson Island—about an hour north of Palm Beach—is jam-packed with opportunities for sun and fun.
For starters, there’s the beach. Not many residential developments in Florida can claim five miles of shoreline stretching along the Atlantic Ocean, St. Lucie Inlet, and the Indian River. “A lot of country clubs have beautiful golf courses, and some might have marinas, but very few are directly on the beach,” says Kristen Cheskaty, broker/managing partner at Sailfish Point Realty. “We have all these features in one geographical location.”
The community’s not far from Stuart, Florida, the sailfish capital of the world. Little wonder that the Sailfish Point marina and inner harbor offer slips for 74 boats and dry storage for 45 more. Vessels range in size from a 15-foot skiff to a 100-foot Ocean Alexander.
“The yacht club is very active. Sometimes there’ll be a three-day cruise going south, and people often talk about sailing west to Naples and then going their own way,” says harbormaster Chris Dempsey. “And we are close to the Bahamas, just 90 miles out.”
Jack Nicklaus designed the community’s par-72, 18-hole golf course, one that ranks fourth in South Florida’s residential courses. He completed it in 1981, then returned for a renovation in 2007. The 18th hole is called “Window on the Sea,” and for good reason. Its sweeping views of the Atlantic are jaw-dropping.
It’s a popular course, but there are plenty of other activities for homeowners. “Just over half the members here are golfers,” says E. J. Ewing, general manager and COO at Sailfish Point. “Mornings and afternoons, bikers, joggers, walkers, and skaters are out in force,” he says. “Fitness classes are full and varied, and beachgoers sit quietly or walk along the surf.”
Then there are the eight clay tennis courts, fitness center, spa, salon, and recently renovated clubhouse. Dining options include the informal, open-air Beach Club, the more elegant Ocean Room, and the casual Terrace Grill Sports Bar and outdoor Crossroads Cafe.
Mobil Land Corporation, Mobil Oil’s development arm, launched the community in the early 1980s. “They created the marina and inner harbor and put in the golf course. In the mid-1990s, they turned the project over to members,” Cheskaty says.
The property is now built out with 522 high-end, luxury residences: condos, townhomes, and standalone golf villas and estate homes nestled into the golf course, marina, and inner harbor. About 30 to 40 residential opportunities open up every year, with prices ranging from $500,000 to more than $10 million.
“We’ve had a good market for the last few years, with about 10 percent of the community becoming available annually,” Cheskaty says. “We’re currently in a cycle of bringing in younger members as older members leave. We anticipate these new members will be as loyal as those who’ve been here 30 years or so.”
Members and staff alike are committed to protecting the environment. “We organize a volunteer beach cleanup and hold art contests from the trash that comes in,” Dempsey says. Plus, everyone’s conscious of the manatee population. “The turning basin of the marina is a favorite spot for them to take a nap,” he says. “All you see are their backs.”
Perhaps the most creative and environmentally sensitive gesture on the island is Sailfish Point’s ongoing effort to re-nourish sand on its oceanfront beach. “Mother Nature deposits and takes sand away, so the beach is ever-changing,” Cheskaty says. “But we strive to protect our dune line.”
The community dredges its navigation channel, then deposits the dredged sand on the beach. “It eventually gets back into the channel and we dredge again,” she says. “We also dredge at the mouth of the harbor. It’s a natural recycling.” This all takes place over a two-year period, depending on when sea turtles and shore birds are in residence. “Environmental companies monitor the animals,” Dempsey says. “The sea turtle nests can be moved but the shorebird nests can’t.”
The Palm Beaches are just 60 miles south, which makes them easily accessible as a cultural and social destination. “Many of our members enjoy The Palm Beaches, but they like having the residences up here, where it’s more relaxed in terms of social and charity activities,” Cheskaty says. “Palm Beach is close enough if you want to be involved in the social scene, but this is a much more laidback way of life.”
Members at Sailfish Point are less concerned with the image they project and more concerned with creating their own friendly vibe. “It’s a fabulously close-knit community,” she says. “There’s a very relaxed atmosphere where members check their egos and credentials at the gate and enjoy a fantastic group of people.”
Not to mention the abundance of recreational opportunities offered on this little-known island on South Florida’s Atlantic coast.