The End of an Era

by Commodore Howard “Whitey” Limes
with introduction by Commodore Frank H. Foster III

The approach of our celebration in 2006 of the 100th anniversary of the founding of BLYC seemed like a good time to do what I have wanted to do and procrastinated for 25 years: reprint Kyle Armstrong’s history of the first 50 years of BLYC.

Computer technology made that task easier so the BLYC history department got it together. Commodore Harris has put it on his fantastic BLYC web site for all to download. Take a look! If you don’t have a computer, this site is a reason to get one. Go to:

By coincidence, while looking through my collection of old logs for something else, I ran into an article published in the May 1980 Log about Comm. Armstrong and written by Comm. Howard “Whitey” Limes. Comm. Limes wrote many history articles for the Log before I began doing so. I thought it would be interesting to republish Whitey’s article contemporaneously with the new availability of Comm. Armstrong’s book.

I never met Comm. Armstrong, but I feel as though I know him, especially after reading Whitey’s article. Here it is:

FHF 2005

Did You Know…

“The End of an Era . . .”

At 1815 hours on October 26 1974 an Era came to an end at Buckeye Lake. Commodore Kyle Armstrong and his Lyman sailboat left Buckeye Lake and Buckeye Lake Yacht Club.

The reader will say “What is so strange about a man and his boat leaving the Yacht Club?” This was not just another man and his boat, it was Commodore Kyle Armstrong and his sailboat “Josy”.

Commodore Kyle W. Armstong

Kyle Armstrong joined Buckeye Lake Yacht Club in 1920. In 1941 he was elected to the Board of Governors. He became Rear Commodore in 1945. During his tour of duty as Vice Commodore in 1946, Comm. Armstrong in his own words, “had never seen a copy of the Constitution and By-Laws of Buckeye Lake Yacht Club”. The last published edition was in 1933, and, since then, both had been amended several times. As a result few of the members and the Officers were familiar with the Club’s operating laws. This, to say the least, created problems in solving any difficult situation that might arise, which needed Constitutional and By-Laws rulings.

With this in mind Comm. Armstrong took it upon himself to research and assemble the articles of the two documents which would be up to date. The result was published in the Constitution and By-Laws of B.L.Y.C. as amended to March 8, 1946.

Since then several amendments have been made in both the “By-Laws” and the “Constitution”. The latest being in 1969 in the Constitution and in 1971 in the By-Laws. [Ed note: many more since. Click Here for current copy]

Kyle Armstrong was elected Commodore of B.L.Y.C. in 1947. Commodore Armstrong was awarded the Heber Award in 1954. In 1939 while Kyle Armstrong was just an active member of the Club, a new fleet of 5 small sailboats was added to the sailing fleet of B.L.Y.C.. This small sailboat was known as the Lyman Cat. The specifications were, 15 ft. long X 6 ft. beam, displaced about 450 pounds and carried 143 sq. ft. of sail. A far cry from the big K Cats which displaced 2000 pounds and carried 270 sq. ft. of sail.

Kyle Armstrong purchased one of the small sailboats, christened it “Josy” and launched her in July 1939. “Josy” and her skipper became the sixth member of the fleet, which grew to seven members and competed amongst themselves until 1945 when the Lyman class fleet for one reason or another finally disbanded. “Josy” and her skipper stayed at Buckeye Lake.

Now let me tell you about”Josy”.

Commodore Armstrong on his Lyman Cat Josy

For many years, those years that the writer has known of, a common expression around B.L.Y.C. was, “The sailing season is open. Kyle Armstrong is refinishing “Josy”.

In a short while, one would see “Josy” in her slip in the back basin, along side the bridge, swaying to and fro in her mooring. Like an anxious child wanting to play. Her Cat boat rig was a familiar sight on Buckeye Lake.

Under the steady hand and skillful sailing of Comm. Armstrong, “Josy” probably sailed into more “bays”, “inlets” and “channels” than any other one boat. In all probability it was from the cockpit of “Josy” that Comm. Armstrong made his notes, soundings and measurements of the lake from which he made the chart of the lake, a coy of which hangs on the wall of the “Gobs Mess” at B.L.Y.C..

Time has a positive way of overtaking things, boats and humans alike. The sailing season of 1972 was the last year that “Josy” and her familiar skipper plied the waters of Buckeye Lake. During the next two seasons “Josy” did not sail.

In a short talk with Comm. Armstrong on 26 October 1974, he intimated, with tears in his eyes, to the writer, that his hearing had worsened, his eyesight had failed to the extent that he could no longer read newsprint and that his memory was not what it should be.

What has become of “Josy” is not known. She was to be refinished during the winter months of 1974-75. If she is still afloat, let us hope she is still the proud little Lyman Cat she was at Buckeye Lake. No parent ever fondled a child with more loving hands than Comm Kyle Armstrong with “Josy”.

Comm. Kyle Armstrong passed away on 7 March 1976.

The above are just a few thoughts that occurred to a sentimental old fool, who, when he saw Comm. Armstrong and “Josy” leave Buckeye Lake, likes to believe that old sailors never die, they just sail over the horizon into the sunset.”

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