Commodore Steve Harris – December, 2016
On the evening of April 24, 1906, at the first organizational meeting of what would 11 days later become known as the Buckeye Lake Yacht Club, 29-year-old Lawrence Andress Sackett of Columbus was elected Commodore — our first — to serve until the Annual Meeting of the Club the following September.
Commodore Sackett was the President of the Sackett Mining Company. His younger brother, Guy, also a founding board member of BLYC, was the Vice-President. Following that initial meeting, Commodore Sackett and his new board set to work in not only forming the Club, but also in transforming the old, shallow canal reservoir into a navigable lake — Buckeye Lake. That first season was quite successful — a Constitution & By-laws were written and adopted; emblems and burgee designs were approved; the purposes of the Club — “the promotion and elevation of yachting, the enhancement of aquatic sports, the cultivation of sociability among its members, and to help in every way possible toward improvement of Buckeye Lake for boating purposes” — were established; membership had swelled to nearly 100; several successful regattas and social events took place; and, the new upstart Club was seeing results from its efforts to influence the new State Board of Public Works to improve Buckeye Lake. However, Commodore Sackett, extremely successful leading BLYC those first few months, did not run again for the office of Commodore at the Annual Meeting in September. He was, however, elected a Governor. It is likely that he would have easily been re-elected Commodore but apparently, his father, the founder of Sackett Mining Supply, had made it clear that the company needed his full attention and that he couldn’t both run the business and be Commodore of the Yacht Club. He remained a member, and continued to serve on the Board, but his activity was limited — at least up until his father’s passing in 1910.
Throughout the years that followed, Commodore Sackett would prove to be one of the most active members at BLYC. He regularly raced his sloop Buckeye and later his K-boat, Windward, both here and on Lake Erie, regularly participating in the I-LYA regatta each summer. He, along with his brother, 1907 Commodore Charles Lynch, and several other influential founding members, established the Buckeye Lake Building Company which financed the purchase of the island and the construction of both the original Clubhouse in 1907 and the “new,” current Clubhouse 6 years later.
Commodore Sackett is the only BLYC Commodore to have served two, non-consecutive terms. He again ran and was elected Commodore for the 1919 season. It seems that he and others had been grooming Frank Miller, one of our first Junior Members just two years earlier, to take the office and become the youngest Commodore of an I-LYA Club. But Frank, at the age of 19, did not feel that he was prepared for such a responsibility and instead agreed to chair all of the power and sailing events for the Club that year. Thus, Sackett was, once again, our Commodore. Likely due to limited participation as a result of World War I, Commodore Sackett stayed on to serve as Commodore again in 1920. Later, Frank would go on to serve as Commodore of both Ashland (Kentucky) and Put-in-Bay Yacht Clubs and, of I-LYA. But, that’s another story…