BLYC Juniors Make History

Commodore Steve Harris – August, 2012

The summer of 1977… Star Wars debuts and becomes the then-highest grossing movie of all time; The first Apple II computers go on sale; New York City suffers an electricity blackout lasting over 25 hours; Elvis Presley dies; the “Son of Sam” is captured; the first oil through the trans-Alaskan pipeline reaches Valdez; and BLYC make Junior Sailing history!

As has been the case every summer since the 1950’s, BLYC sends a team of Junior Sailors to Put-in-Bay for I-LYA’s annual Junior “Bay Week” Regatta.  However, back in 1977, only the Triplehanded boats sailed at the Bay, the others sailed in Port Clinton.  The I-LYA regattas served as the Quarterfinals for the United States Yacht Racing Union (now US SAILING) Junior Championships.  Winners from I-LYA would go on to compete against winner from other regional associations in “Area E.”  The winners from the Area E Semifinals then qualify for the National Championships.

1977 BLYC Sailing Team Steve Beeson, Mike Hein, Dan Dressel, Will Petersilge, Dan Roshon, Lon Moyer

In 1977, BLYC’s Junior Sailors didn’t just win – they won almost everything!  At the Smythe (singlehanded) and Bemis (doublehanded) semifinals in Port Clinton in July, BLYC’s Lon Moyer dominated the Laser fleet with finishes of 7-1-1-1-1-1 to easily secure his spot in the Semifinals.  In the doublehanded class, Steve Beeson and crew Mike Hein also easily won the Quarterfinals and went on to sail in the Semifinals at Cowan lake in August.  The Sears (triplehanded) Quarterfinals were, of course, sailed at PIB in Thistles.  After a rough start in the qualifying series, BLYC’s Sears team of Willy Petersilge, Dan Roshon, & Dan Dressel rallied to finish  the series with three straight first place finishes to secure their spot in the Quarterfinal Championship Series.  From there, they sailed strong the rest of the regatta, easily winning the Quarterfinals and continuing a strong BLYC winning tradition at that time – our fourth championship in six years!  They went on to win the Semifinals at Buffalo Canoe Club in New York against very strong competition from throughout the Great Lakes.  While the conditions were challenging and varied, Willy, Dan & Dan easily won the Semis and earned the honor of representing BLYC in the National Finals in Dallas Texas in late August.

After BLYC’s team’s dominance at the I-LYA Championships in all classes, strong finishes (including one win) at Semifinals, numerous other sailing trophies earned throughout the season.. could it really get any better?  Could BLYC make the trip to Texas and be the first Midwest Club in decades to win – the first ever inland-lake Club to win?………..

The headline in the October 1977 issue of the Log reads…


1977 Sears Cup Awards presentation

Yes, they did.  In conditions very different from those normally seen here at home on Buckeye Lake – winds of “10-20 mph and at times to 30-50 mph” – BLYC’s team sailed extremely well.  According to the October 1977 article…
“The competition was really tough but the combination of teamwork, attention to detail, sailing know-how, and sheer determination to win put Will Petersilge, Dan Roshon, and Dan Dressel in first place after the fourth race, a position they held for the rest of the series.”

Beating teams from New Jersey, California, Texas, Maine, Washington, North Carolina, and Long Island, BLYC’s team had won the Nationals – the first, and only, BLYC Junior Team to do so.

There is a photo hanging in the Commdores’ Lounge of the BLYC Clubhouse which shows all six of these young men with their trophies and medals from 1977 and a certificate in the Trophy Case commemorating their sweep of the I-LYA Championships.

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