BLYC’s First Classic Boat Regatta

Commodore Steve Harris – July, 2012

In the late 1970’s and early 80’s, sailboat racing was king at BLYC.  If one peruses the old issues of the Log available on the BLYC website (Thank you P/C Frank Foster, III for making these available), it’s easy to see that most of the Club activity at that time centered around sailboat racing and social events.  There just doesn’t seem that there was that much geared towards our power-boating and non-racing members.  In 1981, BLYC’s 75th Anniversary year, that changed…

It was first announced in the December, 1980 Log by Race & Regatta Governor Gordon Forster that a new weekend activity was being developed… “An invitational classic and antique WOODEN power and sail boat regatta.”  The first chairman was P/C Ed Metzgar.  The entry fee was $20 per boat and 28 boats participated.  According to the post-event write-up in the Log…

Commodore Jim Dressel, committee members and entrants were more than pleased after launching the first, of what’s hoped to be many, antique boat contest.

The weatherman cooperated by bathing the north shore area with plenty of sun, perfect to bring out the patina of lovingly cared-for mahogany, gleaming chrome and mellow brass…. Last minute scurrying before judging found them polishing hulls and wiping telltale finger and foot marks from chrome hardware and touch-me-not-decks.

Dan Wilson’s Matthews Cruiser tied up at BLYC at the 2012 Classic Boat Show
Photo by Greg Miller

In the past 30+ years, the show has certainly evolved.  The name has changed, it now includes classic non-wooden boats, and each year may bring different types of boats and participants from different parts of the country.  But, it doesn’t sound like that much has changed.  Every year since 1981, BLYC has hosted this highlight event of our summer season and, just as in that first show, nervous boat owners clean & polish and prepare their pride-and-joy crafts for judging and the admiration of spectators.

Margus II at the 2014 Show

At the 1981 event, the “Best of Show” Trophy went to Mrs. Zenna Sayre for her 1928, 26’ triple cockpit Chris Craft Runabout, Cherokee.  The First Place trophy for “Nearest to Original Condition” went to Phil Schell for a 1948 Chris Craft Sedan, Margus II.  If I’m not mistaken, both of these families have had boats in every Classic Boat Regatta BLYC has hosted.  And… 1981 wasn’t the only time they’ve taken home well-deserved trophies.

Commodore Tim Ryan aboard Squawman at the 2012 Show

Other BLYC member earning trophies in 1981 included Mrs. Nancy Benson, 1st Place “Oldest Restored,” for her 1928 Chris Craft Runabout and P/C Gus Schell, “Sailboat Special Award,” for his 1931 Ludke “K” Boat, Cat’s Paw.  I’m pretty sure that both boats are still around Buckeye Lake, although I know that the years have taken their toll on Cat’s Paw.  She is one of the last “K” boats remaining of what was once one of the premier sailing fleets in this region.

This year’s Classic Boat Regatta, under the Chairmanship of Governor Chuck Wadley, will be held the weekend of August 17-19.  Just as in 1981, it will certainly be a highlight of our summer season.  Not only is this a great event for our members, it is also a time when we have the opportunity to show off our great Club to the public at large.  Make plans now to attend, participate in, or volunteer for this great BLYC tradition!