The Goat Yard –  A Documentary Film

700_crescent_04_priemsweb1They’ve been tagged as pirates, bikers of the lake, hippies, misfits, outcasts and even radicals. Whether dressing in prom gowns while they race or bellowing their battle cry “Huj, Huj Harja”, they stand in stark contrast to the pretentious yacht club crowd at any given regatta. These are the sailors and crew of the Detroit Sail Club.

Drive through the overgrown, vine-covered gate and you’ll find a place like no other. Once guarded by a bearded billy goat named Nemo, the Detroit Boat Works is home to the Detroit Sail Club. The club shares space with the rusted steel skeleton of a former brick factory, a decommissioned Detroit fire engine, the remains of a sunken schooner, a repurposed school bus and dozens of castoff sailboats awaiting new owners ready to breathe life into them once again.

nemo-11The Goat Yard, dubbed by the local sailors in honor of Nemo, whose stuffed and mounted head now hangs prominently in their tugboat club house, is home to the largest congregation of the Crescent Sloop, quite possibly the first fiberglass “plastic” sailboat ever made. The Crescent Class has attracted eccentric folk since its inception in the 50s. The creator, Dick Hill, a Ford Engineer, designed the boats with the idea that getting wet was part of the race. Today, the wet ride, spirit of competition, personality and camaraderie upon which the Crescent Class was built continues to live on.

The antics and exploits of the Crescent Sailors are legendary. They include flying 40-foot political banners down the Detroit River demanding the mayor retire, placing classified ads announcing an estate sale at the mansion of a well-known public official and building an “Aqua-Car” with the idea of revolutionizing the Motor City.






We have captured the lifeblood and celebrated stories of this curious band of sailors.

They say the difference between a fairy tale, and a sea story is this…a fairy tale begins “Once upon a time…” and a sea story begins “This ain’t no bullshit…”

Well, this ain’t no bullshit.

Welcome to the Goat Yard.


For additional information, please contact:  Kim Stricker at

6 Responses to “The Project”

  1. Mar Mar Wright said

    I grew up next store, my family owns Hackett Brass and CentroCast Foundries. I worked at Centro in the summers so I would drive the forklift over to take Jenn Wheeler Dales for smoke breaks and race around the grounds, climbing around the old buses taking long lunches on the river.
    We spent many years growing up in and around the boatyard/goatyard characters. Jen’s dad built the Tecumsah and we partied a ton down there quite a bit.
    I swam in the canals often “dared” to do so which you couldn’t pay me to do now. The stories and personalities are vast, most people would drive by and be afraid to cross the gate. The wonder behind the gate and the perception it’s a scary dirty place is completely the opposite. Thank you for capturing an old memory and a special place in the world. Marcia Wright, San Francisco, CA

  2. wayne jurs said


  3. Elizabeth Loch said

    You have to know my Uncle Stephen and Aunt Sue to really appreciate the goat yard!

  4. Jeff said

    Spent a summer down there crewing on a buddy’s Crescent. Eclectic to say the least. Great group of characters..

  5. Timothy Metcalf said

    An excellent story, artfully told. My wife and I loved it! We can’t wait to buy a DVD.

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