Our Club's History
“The Early Years”
by Carl and Paul Janensch
In 1946, the summer after VE Day (Victory in Europe) and VJ Day (Victory over Japan), a group of like-minded sailors, calling themselves the Lakes Club, were racing sailboats on Long Lake. Their collection on of wooden sailboats consisted of 3 C Scows and 4 other boats of various types. It was in the following year, 1947, that these men founded a yacht club dedicated to promoting sailing and sportsmanship on Long Lake.
Soon, these sailors, Bill Fisher, Wes Wigginton, Bill Schmid, Carl Janensch, and Paul Janensch, encouraged others to join in their enthusiasm for amateur sailing and selected the C Scow, popular on many of the Midwest inland lakes, to be LLYC’s sailboat of choice.
The C Fleet grew steadily, welcoming new skippers and members such as Jim Cooper, Glen Hodson, Irv Buchholz, Ed Rowland, Ed Rollberg, the Larson Brothers, Wilbur Kercher, and Clarence Sundberg by the early ‘50’s. By the 50th Anniversary of the club, over 40 owners/skippers had campaigned on the C Boat, including a conversion to fiberglass hulls by the late ‘60’s and early ‘70’s.
Carl and Paul’s father and mother had made it possible for them to be part of this inauguration, when they bought the Janensch land and built their house on the lake in 1911. Dad had purchased a Palmer “C” in 1919. Gaff rigged, the flat bottomed sailboat was the sailing school for his four sons. By the ‘20’s, the Palmer had company when Vuv Cooper’s dad, Charles Lamb, pleasure sailed an “E” Scow on the lake.
The tradition of Sunday Beer Parties began early in the club’s history. Always informal and fun, these gatherings featured ice cold beer and pop chilled in very practical wash tubs which are still depended on today.
The early markers or buoys for the races were semi-permanent each summer. Designated Buoys No. 1 (Triggs/Hjortland), No. 2 (Janensch), No. 3 (Wigginton), No. 4 (Sabatini), No. 5 (Cooper) and No. 6 (Lutheran Conference Grounds), these “marks” were white, hollow metal cones which were in need of annual repair. Eventually, Clarence and Sandy Sundberg designed and fabricated the highly successful bouys in use today.
The Race Judges, volunteers (who happened to have power boats), established the course for the day. A common race was one to five windward-leeward laps, hopefully the length of the lake. Today’s typical O-2, Olympic layout, was patterned after regatta courses sailed on other inland lakes. The early LLYC Judges included Bill Klee, Harry Larson, Marty Hjortland, Art Hill, Al Hovey, George Madden, Leo Otteson, J.L. DuBois, Ken Bonde, Lester Neumann, and Jim Cooper.
In 1950, the junior Dinghy Fleet was added. Many of the fathers and C skippers helped assemble and build them from kits from Hagarty and Chris Craft. Some sported wooden center boards and rudders in these 8 foot, stub-nosed prams. The early Junior Skippers (‘50’s and ‘60’s) included Tom Cooper, Bobby Rowland, Nancy (Schroeder) and Bill Schmid, Paul (Paulie) and Susan Janensch, Bill Kercher, Marilyn (Kercher) and Billy Madden, Sandy, Jeri (Bus) and Kristine (Johnson) Sundberg, Suzi (Reese), Molly, Jimmy and Wesley Wigginton, Lydon, Craig and Paula (Glenn) Neumann, and Janet (Dwyer) and Bobby Ringa. By 1975 these dinghies were replaced by the scow-like 12 foot Butterflies, and in the early 2000’s the Optimist sailboat has been used for beginner sailors, helping to expand the sailing opportunities on Long Lake.