ILYA Annual Championship returns to Lake Geneva

Published on January 4th, 2016

Following what was considered one of the best ‘Inland’ Championships ever, the Inland Lake Yachting Association (ILYA) Annual Championship returns to Lake Geneva in 2016, attracting top yacht racing skippers and crew from throughout the U.S and some from the world’s yacht racing stage, to compete in the nation’s premier inland lake sailing event of 2016.

The Regatta, the second of a three-year series at Lake Geneva, is organized by the ILYA and hosted by one of the oldest yacht clubs in U.S. (founded 1874), the Lake Geneva Yacht Club (Fontana, WI), at the newly constructed Buddy Melges Sailing Center. The center is named after Harry (Buddy) Melges, Jr., world-renowned sailor, an America’s Cup winning skipper and 14-time ILYA champion. The Center is home to both the Lake Geneva Yacht Club and the Geneva Lake Sailing School.

The Annual ILYA Championship, which highlights four of the premier scow classes, will also be held at the Sailing Center in 2017. The 2016 Regatta will have 5-days of racing, August 17-21. The Award Ceremony will be Sunday, August 21.

The 2015 ILYA Regatta was the first major sailing event at the new sailing center and attracted top sailors from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, New York, New Jersey, Colorado and Florida. Over 875 sailors and 250 boats from 30 U.S. ILYA member yacht clubs are expected this August, some of which are top national and international champion sailors, including the Club’s own Brian Porter, Rolex® U.S. Yachtsman of the Year in 2013, 5-time ILYA champion and Melges 24 World Champion.

Porter will be alongside Olympic Medalist sailors, national and collegiate champions, etc., all competing for some of the most prestigious trophies in all of sport in the ILYA Championship. 2015 ILYA Champions will return to defend their titles: A-Class Chris Jewett, Lake Minnetonka; E-Class Peter Strothman, Lake Geneva; C-Class Paul Reilly, Cedar Lake; and MC Class Malcolm Lamphere, Lake Geneva.

“The excitement is already mounting for the 2016 event in the Lake Geneva community,” said Rod Rieger, Commodore of the Lake Geneva Yacht Club. “The 2015 Inland was a smashing success with the fabulous new Buddy Melges Sailing Center showing off its ability to host the full spectrum of ILYA sailing. The entire Lake Geneva area looks forward to extend their hospitality to sailors from across the country who will be participating in one of the greatest one design regattas in the nation.”

‘The Inland’ Regatta will determine the top scow class racers in four classes of yachts – A-Scow Class (38 feet, 6-7 crew), E-Scow Class (28 feet, 3-4 crew), C-Scow Class (20 feet, 2-3 crew) and the MC-Scow Class (16 feet, 1–2 crew). This will be the 16th ILYA Championship the Lake Geneva Yacht Club has hosted.

“The ILYA is proud to be able to continue its partnership with the Lake Geneva Yacht Club for the Championship regatta this coming year which will bring four of our long standing fleets together for what should be another fantastic event,” said Steve Schmidt, Commodore of the ILYA. “We look forward to building on the success of last year’s event and welcoming many new sailors to enjoy the breathtaking new Buddy Melges Sailing Center which opened spring 2015. Our three year commitment to the Lake Geneva Yacht Club was aimed at creating a lifetime experience through the combination of quality racing on the water, fantastic camaraderie and family fun on shore and a great value for the sailor. Right now, Lake Geneva and the surrounding communities are the heart of scow sailing. I’m certain the sailors appreciate all the area has to offer and looks forward to returning in August of 2016 and 2017.”

Outside the Lake Geneva area, 51 member ILYA Yacht Clubs throughout the country and many of their 10,000 members will be following the action daily on-line.

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Founded in 1874, the Lake Geneva Yacht Club is one of the oldest and most internationally renowned of the ILYA Clubs, and is the site of numerous international and national sailing competitions. The home of Olympic Medalist and World Champions sailboat racers, the Club has 250 members who compete in any of the 11 one-design boats raced at the Club. Since 1874, the Lake Geneva Yacht Club has progressed from a small group of boat owners, to a membership with an impressive record of successful competition at local, regional, national and international levels. Two individuals have achieved particular stature in competitive sailing: Jane Wiswell Pegel and Harry C. (Buddy) Melges, Jr. Both were top competitors in Club races in the 1940s and went on to win in numerous scow classes and world championships during the decades that followed. Most recently, noted club member and world champion sailor Brian Porter was named Rolex U.S. Yachtsman of the Year for 2013. The Club’s annual racing calendar includes Class A, Class E, Class C, Class MC, Melges 24, Melges 17, Sonar, 420, Laser, Class X (a junior boat) and the International Optimist Dinghy. Geneva Lake Sailing School: Over 450 children, high school and adult students take the water each summer at the Geneva Lake Sailing School to study, learn and participate in the sport of sailing. Now celebrating its 77th year, the School offers educational programs about sailing techniques, seamanship and safety, and today over 13 instructors with nine classes of sailboats conduct beginning, intermediate, advanced racing programs and learn-to-sail lessons for adults.

The Inland Lake Yachting Association was formed in 1897, and since that time has overseen the development of the scow classes of racing sailboats, designed for the protected waters of inland lakes. Today, 51 member clubs and their 10,000 members participate in racing 10 classes of sailboats, both adult and junior, under the umbrella of ILYA (A Scow, E Scow, C Scow, MC Scow, Mel¬ges 17, I-20 Scow, and in youth category—X Boat, Club 420,

International Optimist Dingy and Laser. New ILYA club expansion has taken place into New York, Texas and Florida. The ILYA organizes and manages 12 regattas each year in the U.S. Fifteen Wisconsin sailors have been inducted into the ILYA Hall of Fame, including Lake Geneva’s Harry (Buddy) Melges, Ernst Schmidt. Dr. Otto L. Schmidt, William Bentsen, Jane Pagel and William Freytag, Jr.

Report by Tim Browne. Photo by Bay & Grey Photography.

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