Cody Ziegler: Being the spark plug

Published on January 8th, 2018

Cody Ziegler is a C Scow sailor from Pewaukee Lake in Pewaukee, WI. In this interview with Melges Performance Sailboats, Cody shares his observations on what has been successful in growing racing fleets on his home lake.


You race a Melges C Scow which is a tactical boat yet still fast for its size. What do you like best about the Melges C?

It has got to be the members of the fleet, which can be attributed to the design of the boat. The simple design makes it a versatile boat to sail. The C Scow can easily be skippered/crewed by men and women, young and old, big and small.

It can be sailed on small lakes, or large; and you can also put a competitive campaign together with a relatively small investment. This attracts a lot of really talented sailors to the fleet and makes racing tough and rewarding when you do well.

You have grown your local fleet considerably over the past five years. We see more youth sailors racing in your fleet. What has been recipe for this success?

Our C fleet growth has truly been a group effort, I just help organize what I can. The recipe for success is fairly simple, and can be applied to life too: have a ton of fun, engage new people, learn a lot, teach what you learn, and take advantage of a good economy!

A few years back we revived our Thursday night racing series with a little twist- we invited mostly new skippers and crew. Most of the skippers in the series didn’t own the boat they were driving, and were under 18 years old. It created a really fun racing atmosphere because it was relaxed, and the fleet was less competitive.

Our Thursday night series has been sort of like a minor league “farm fleet” for us. It created a pipeline of experienced skippers and crew, which many have migrated to our championship fleet.

Regatta attendance on all levels has been strong over the last few years. As a competitor and as someone that enjoys the social aspect of the sport, what makes a great regatta? Can you list three key factors?

1) Clean racing. It’s great when you’ve got an efficient race committee and respectful competition. It really makes the regatta go smooth. It’s always good when everyone is in good spirits when they come to shore.
2) Volunteers. The hospitality we see across the ILYA volunteers is incredible, it definitely doesn’t go unnoticed. Thanks to anyone who has ever help volunteer at a regatta!
3) Value. When a regatta can provide some extra value it really goes a long way. I always appreciate the effort when a club goes above and beyond standard operating procedure.

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