Commodore Steve Harris – July, 2013
In recent weeks, since Sunday racing has resumed, I’ve had several members ask me questions about the Lambrecht Cup. At first, I didn’t consider the Cup “historical,” but then I realized that this is the 15th year for this trophy at the Club. Simply put, the Lambrecht Cup is the “Best of Season Trophy” for BLYC’s weekly sailboat races.
In the 1970’s and 1980’s, sailboat racing was a big activity at the Club. As mentioned in previous articles, several of our sailors from that time period have gone on to greatness in the sport. Unfortunately, BLYC sailing may have been a victim of its own success. As our sailors were more successful, they spent more time campaigning their boats around the country and less at BLYC. Throughout the 1990’s, sailing activity here waned. By the mid- to late-1990’s all that was left for Sunday racing was a small group of sailors in cruising-type sailboats – the large one-design classes were all but gone. However, week after week, this group of dedicated men and women would still come to the Club and race. In order to encourage racing (and hopefully increase participation), the Board established the Commodore Chris J. Lambrecht Cup – Best of Season Trophy for the 1999 Sunday series. The rules and instructions were written by your author (as Race, Regatta, & Junior Sailing Governor that year), and the beautiful silver cup awarded to the winners was donated by Commodore Nick (2001) and Michelle DeSantis. The inaugural winner of the Cup – Bill Reynolds.
Over its brief history, the rules have changed and modified as we’ve made adjustments to keep the race fair and up-to-date. Since boats of multiple designs are competing in the same race, handicapping is a must. Currently, we follow the United States Performance Racing Handicap Fleet (US PHRF) guidelines and formulas for doing this. Including 1999, the Cup has been contested fourteen different times with seven different skippers winning.
But… who was Commodore Lambrecht?
Chris Lambrecht joined BLYC as a Junior Member in 1924 and was an active member up until his death. Over the years, he was an active sailor and race officer for BLYC, and served as Commodore in 1939. In his early days at the Club, Chris was very active on the race committee. In fact, his racing instructions for both sail- and powerboat races are reproduced in BLYC’s Centennial History Book. – Incidentally, this wonderful book about BLYC History, expertly written by Dr. Tony Lisska, is an invaluable resource and enjoyable read. If you don’t have a copy, they are available at the Club for purchase. This is a must have for every BLYC member!
As a Race Officer reading Chris’ sailing instructions, I’m not sure if things were simpler or more difficult in his day, but they were certainly different. In my early days as a Race Officer at BLYC, I would typically show up early on Sundays. Chris could always be found on the front porch for the races. I probably learned more about sailboat racing from those casual porch conversations than from any book or training course. I would imagine many others at BLYC can say the same.
As a sailor, Chris was quite competitive in his younger years, in a variety of classes – most recently the Ravens. He frequently represented our Club at the Annual I-LYA Bay Week Regatta at Put-in-Bay. Although not competitively, Chris continued to sail his wooden Raven sailboat well up into his 90’s. Always a fixture at BLYC, sitting on her lift in the front basin, it was a sad day when the Raven left the Club. Although currently in disrepair, the Raven is still around and hopes are to refurbish her and use her to train new sailors at the Club.
As Commodore of BLYC, Chris’ term was marked by both accomplishments and challenges. At the start of his term the Buckeye Lake Building Company was dissolved and BLYC finally owned the island and clubhouse outright; the Club introduced the 15’ Lyman Cat and K Boat sailboats to its racing fleet; and, there were many enjoyable parties and events. But, those were the pre-war years and while the country was entering a state of “preparedness,” participation in recreational activities waned signaling difficult times ahead for both the Club and our country.
Commodore Christian J. Lambrecht passed away on December 22, 2005 at the age of 97, having been active at BLYC for over 80 years.
Races for the Lambrecht Cup are held every Sunday – late-May through September – at 2:00 pm. We welcome all sailors, future sailors, sailing fans, and everyone else to come on out and enjoy.