Champion yacht racers will converge on Geneva Lake, WI August 19-23 at the Lake Geneva Yacht Club and captain various yacht racing crews on 38 ‘ A-Scow, 28′ E-Scow, 20′ C-Scow, 16′ MC-Scow and Melges 17′ class racing sailboats competing for the 2015 Inland Lake Yachting Association Annual Championship top prizes.
The ILYA Championship Regatta, first held in 1889, features some of the fastest mono-hull sailboats in the world, raced by world-class sailors from throughout the country competing for some of the most prestigious trophies in all of sports.
The annual Regatta is being held at the United States’ newest sailing facility, the Buddy Melges Sailing Center, completed this spring on eight acres on Geneva Lake. There will be 175 boats and 650 men and women sailors competing, in five classes from 30 U.S. yacht clubs, as far away as New York, Colorado and Florida. This will be the 15th ILYA Championship the Lake Geneva Yacht Club has hosted.
ILYA Championship favorites include, from the Minnetonka Yacht Club (Minneapolis) in the 20 boat A-Scow fleet, skippers Pat Hughes (M-21 in Melvin), ILYA A-Class 2012 winner, and Tom Burton (M-8 in Intrepid and placed second in 2014 ILYA A-Scow competition) and Rob Evans (M-1 in Cosmic Warrior) both 9-time ILYA Champions and collegiate champions, University California-Irvine and University of Hawaii respectively. Evans is also a world champion in Ice and Snow Kiting.
Lake Geneva Yacht Club favorites, in the A-Scow Class, include Vincent Porter (I-2 in Wide Open), a 6-time ILYA Champion who won the 2014 ILYA A-Class championship; Tom Freytag (I-7 in MadCap, 2010 A-Scow National Champ), and Terrence Blanchard (I-28 in Silverhawk, 2013 and 2011 ILYA A-Scow champion).
In the 55 boat E-Scow fleet, favorites competing from Lake Minnetonka will be Chris Jewett (M-3 in Stifler’s Mom), NCAA Collegiate All-America Honorable Mention (University of Hawaii) and 2005 ILYA E-Class Champion; Tim Krech (M-20 in Iceburg), a 3-time ILYA Champion, Tom Burton (M-9 inIntrepid), placed 4th in 2014 ILYA E-Scow competition), and Erik Bowers (M-11 in Meatballs), NCAA Collegiate sailor at College of Charleston, SC, a 2016 Olympic Trials Laser candidate and 2013 ILYA E-Scow Champion.
From the Lake Geneva Yacht Club, in the 55 E-Scow fleet, leading competitors will include Peter Strothman (I-9 Rooster); Tom Freytag (I-7 in Fireball and winner of the 2015 E-Scow Invitational and Melges 24 and U.S. National Champion); Vincent Porter (I-2 in Wide Open); Brian Porter (I-49 in Full Throttle, 5-time ILYA Champion, Melges 24 World Champion, and 2013 Rolex® Yachtsman of the Year), Harry Melges (I-1 White Heat, 11-time ILYA champion and Melges 24 World Champion), and Kevin Jewett (KG-111 in Freedom from Lake Kegonsa, WI.
In the 48 boat C-Scow fleet, local Lake Geneva favorite is Andy Burdick, (I-45 in Stormin), 25-time ILYA Champion and Melges World Champion; Joe Kutschenreuter (B-77 in TackyCardia) from Beulah, WI Yacht Club, and from the Okauche, WI Yacht Club Steve Schmidt (E-88 in Ridin’ High) and 2 time ILYA Champion.
In the 10 boat Melges 17 fleet, favorites from Lake Geneva are RJ Porter (2014 Melges 17 ILYA Champion) and Harry Melges IV (#230-White Heat) and Hans Meyer (#77-Loxos), both past Champions, and in the 35 boat MC-Scow fleet, the favorites from Geneva are Peter Strothman (#2609) and Malcolm Lamphere (#2616 in White Magic), and Mark Tesar (#2178 in No, Daddy, Clear Lake, IA) and Eric Hood (Lake Eustis, FL).
A special dinner and ceremony will honor ILYA Hall of Famers and “Heroes & Legends” of the organization, including Lake Geneva’s Buddy Melges, world renowned sailor and America’s Cup winning skipper, Harry Melges, Andy Burdick, Bill Bentsen (3-time ILYA Champ), Tom Freytag, Bill Freytag (4-time ILYA Champ), Bob Schmidt (3-time ILYA Champ), John Porter (12-time ILYA Champ, Brian Porter and Vincent Porter, and from the Minnetonka Yacht Club Nat Robbins, 3-time ILYA Champion and ILYA Hall of Famer, Gordy Bowers, 6-time ILYA Champion, ILYA Hall of Famer, U.S. Olympic Silver Medalist and 1988 U.S. Olympic Sailing Coach, and Bill Allen, U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist and 7-time ILYA Champion.
The Regatta is hosted this year by the Lake Geneva Yacht Club, the venue headquarters is the new Buddy Melges Sailing Center. Melges will be part of the Regatta awards and social activities, himself a former A-Scow, E-Scow and C-Scow skipper. “As the first major event at the Buddy Melges Sailing Center, the Lake Geneva Yacht Club will be rolling out its state of the art facility to ILYA sailors,” said F. Terrence Blanchard, Commodore, Lake Geneva Yacht Club.
Report by Event Media