ILYA to honor sailing families at Inlands

Published on June 21st, 2017

The Inland Lake Yachting Association (ILYA) will celebrate the sailing achievements and contributions to the sport of 23 families at its annual championship on August 16–20, 2017. The championship will be held at Lake Geneva Yacht Club and the Buddy Melges Sailing Center in Fontana, Wisconsin, and the families will be honored at a dinner at the Yacht Club on August 18.

The 2017 theme for this major annual sailing event is “Sail It On” designed to recognize the generations of ILYA families whose excellence on the race course and dedication to the sport have inspired sailors throughout the country and helped establish the rich traditions upon which ILYA activities are based. The August 18 celebration will feature stories, videos, and speakers on each family’s accomplishments within the ILYA.

Established in 1898 to encourage and promote yachting and interlake racing, the ILYA now includes 51 yacht and sailing clubs in ten states and the District of Columbia. Its annual championship attracts World, National, Olympic, Club, and Intercollegiate champions.

The ILYA Championship is America’s #1 inland lake yacht racing competition and features some of the fastest monohull sailboats in the world. This year’s Inlands, as it is referred, is expected to attract more than 200 boats and 500 competitors to determine the top sailors in the A-Scow (38 feet, 6-7 crew), E-Scow (28 feet, 3-4 crew), C-Scow (20 feet, 2-3 crew), and the MC-Scow (16 feet, 1–2 crew).

Selected for recognition is the Melges family from Lake Geneva Yacht Club, with ILYA championship titles won by Harry C. Melges Sr. (in Class A), Olympic medalist and America’s Cup helmsman Harry C. “Buddy” Melges Jr. (Classes A, E, C), Melges 24 World Champion Harry Melges III (Classes E, C, M, X), Hans Melges (Class X), and Harry Melges IV (Class X, Melges 17).

Also, from Lake Geneva is the Porter family, with ILYA championships won by John Porter (Classes A and E), Melges 24 World Champion and 2013 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Brian Porter (Class E), Vincent Porter (Classes A, E, X, Laser), Davis Porter (Class X), and R. J. Porter (Melges 17).

From the Minnetonka Yacht Club (Minneapolis) is the Allen family, with Ken Allen, Olympic gold medalist Bill Allen (Classes A, E, C), crew Richard Allen and Bob Allen, A-Boat skipper Harry Allen, and third generation sailors Robbie Allen (Class X), Lindsay Allen (Optimist) and Amanda Allen (E Scow).

Also, from Lake Minnetonka is the Bowers family, with Finn North American Champion and Olympic team coach Gordy Bowers (Classes A, E, C, MC), brothers Mark Bowers, Dan Bowers (Class E), Steve Bowers (Class E), Tom Bowers (Class C), and Mark’s son Erik Bowers (Class E), a 2016 and 2020 Olympic Laser contender.

Additional Lake Geneva/Delavan area families to be honored are the Davenport, Lund/Mattison/Navin, and Goes families. From Pewaukee Yacht Club, the Barkow/Friend, Gutenkunst/O’Malley/Sawyer, Meyer/Ruf/Koch/Schmidt/Spencer/Tornehl/Davis families.

Other families to be recognized are Burton, Strothman/Tews (Lake Minnetonka, MN), Driessen (Gull Lake, MN), Eckert (Cedar Lake, WI), Everist (Okoboji, IA), Keck (Lakes LaBelle, Nagawicka, Beulah), Prange (Okauchee, WI), Reese/Hirn (Long Lake, IL/Lake Geneva), Tesar/Quiram (Clear Lake, IA), and Wyman (Oshkosh, WI).

The five days of racing at the 2017 ILYA Championships will be followed by award ceremonies on Saturday August 19 and Sunday August 20. Including the 2017 event, Lake Geneva Yacht Club will have been host for the championship 18 times, most recently in 2015 and 2016.

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