A Short History of the Buckeye Lake Snowball

Commodore Howard “Whitey” Limes – January, 1981

The first Snowball Regatta was held in October, 1946. It was sponsored by BLYC’s own Lightning Fleet, #43. The visiting skippers and their crews sailed in boats provided by the members of BLYC.

The second Snowball was sailed on Oct. 18th and 19th, 1947. The visiting crews were told to bring their own sails and their own boats if they so desired.

In 1948 the Snowball included Lightnings and Thistles. Top flight Skippers and crews and craft came from all over the country.

For some reason the 1949 Snowball was limited to Lightnings only. They competed for the Old Lake Michigan District Trophy.

Due to the lack of records, very little can be found for the years of 1950 thru 1961. In 1953, there was a total of 83 boats registered, consisting of, Ravens, Lightnings, Highlanders and Thistles. It was decided in 1953 that the dates for the Snowball should be set as the 2nd weekend in October.

In 1962, 37 Lightnings, 32 Highlanders and 7 Ravens were entered in the regatta.

The first 2 weekend Snowball Regatta was held on Oct. 9-10 and 16-17, 1965. The first weekend was for Ravens and Highlanders, the second weekend was for Lightnings. It was during the second Highlander race on Sat. 9 October, 1965, that the only fatality to occur during a Snowball Regatta happened. A Mr. H. Smith was lost overboard from a Highlander. In the 1965 Regattas, 33 Highlanders, 8 Ravens, and 54 Lightnings were registered.

Highlanders, Ravens and Lightnings made up the racing entrees until 1969, when a new fleet at the Club, namely the Lido Fleet, entered the race.

In 1970 the Snowball Regatta went back to a 3 class event. The Raven class had dropped out. In 1970, 33 Highlanders, 6 Lidos and 43 Lightnings competed for the trophies.

In 1974, the Snowball again became a 4 fleet event. This came about with the coming of the Venture Fleet, of which there are some 18 active boats.

During the long existence of the Snowball, it has been attended and won by National Champions of the Highlander and Lightning Fleets. It has been attended and won by 3 World Champion Lightning Sailors.

Inflation has caused the Snowball to show a decrease in visiting sailors attending, but it is still the greatest single event at Buckeye Lake Yacht Club.

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