ILYA Championship Series Set for 2017

Published on January 23rd, 2017

Minneapolis, MN (January 23, 2017) – The Inland Lake Yachting Association has announced its third Annual Championship as part of a three-years series (which started in 2015), on Geneva Lake for August 16-20, 2017. The Regatta will attract 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 2017.

The Regatta, which won’t return to Lake Geneva for 7-8 years (rotates to other inland lakes), is organized by the Inland Lake Yachting Association and hosted by one of the oldest yacht clubs in U.S. (founded 1874), the Lake Geneva Yacht Club (Fontana, WI), at the recently constructed Buddy Melges Sailing Center. Considered the newest sailing facility in the United States, 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 will also be held at the Sailing Center in 2017. The 2017 Regatta will have 5-days of racing, August 16-20, with the Award Ceremony on Sunday, August 20.

The first of the ILYA series in 2015 was the first major sailing event at the Sailing Center and attracted top sailors from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, New York, New Jersey, Colorado and Florida. That year and again in 2016, 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® 2013 U.S. Yachtsman of the Year, 5-time ILYA champion and Melges 24 World Champion and Andy Burdick, a 27-time ILYA champion.

Olympic Medalist sailors, national and collegiate champions, etc., all will be competing for some of the most prestigious trophies in all of sport in the ILYA Championship. Other top champion sailors competing are fellow Lake Geneva sailors Andy Burdick 30-time ILYA Champion, Harry Melges III, Melges 24 World Champion and 7-time ILYA Champion.

“We mark this year’s annual ILYA Championship Regatta with the theme of family, – a family of scow designed sailboats, families sailing together and a true family of lifelong friends who join each year at this event, said ILYA Commodore David Porter. The theme, “Sail it On”, celebrates the many four and five generations of families who have competed in the Inland Lake Yacht Association’s 120-year regatta history.

We can trace sailors today whose ancestors were active in the very first ILYA Regatta in 1898. ILYA sailors in the Midwest enjoy generations of families sailing together. The ILYA has members of many close-knit families who perpetuate our traditions in an intergenerational organization – sailors of all ages who join together at our ILYA Championships. Each year the ILYA Championship is a time for sailors from different ILYA clubs to come together to compete against each other and join in fellowship on the water, and after sailing at parties.

For the last two years, the Lake Geneva Yacht Club has hosted the four major adult fleets, A, C, E, MC together so sailors from different fleets can enjoy camaraderie with each other. The Lake Geneva Yacht Club and community has opened its arms to welcome us for two years, and this year is expected to be another great event, and the last in the three-year series,” added Porter.

The 2017 Inland will celebrate its families of the ILYA families, families that have sailed the scow-designed classes in over 50 U.S. yacht clubs, and the Association’s extended family of friends who share in the ILYA’s traditions and heritage. The ILYA will honor selected sailing families on August 18 with a dinner party at the Lake Geneva Yacht Club.

The annual event is the #1 ranked one-design sailboat regatta in U.S. and represents some of the fastest mono-hull sailboats in the world, in the A Class and E Class, reaching speeds up to 25 miles per hour. Showcasing an athletic, healthy lifestyle that respects the environment and promotes “Green” technology, “The Inland” Regatta will determine the top scow class racers in these 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 MC-Scow Class (16 feet, 1–2 crew). This will be the 16th ILYA Championship the Lake Geneva Yacht Club has hosted.

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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, Melges 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.


Source: Event Media

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