|Charles W Felker's "elegant piece of plate"
Lake Geneva and Lake Winnebago, both in Wisconsin, held organized racing for sailboats in the 1870s. This excerpt tells of the early organization of the Oshkosh Yacht Club, and its Commodore Charles W. Felker, who led the club from 1885 to 1897, and donated one of the most active and coveted trophies among the inland lakes.
In the years that followed, there grew a relationship between the clubs of Fond du Lac, Oshkosh, and Neenah. Every summer, the Oshkosh Yacht Club would organize a cruise and campout on Garlic Island. The Fond du Lac and Oshkosh fleets would rendezvous off Morley's Point, racing to the island or occasionally sailing to Neenah, where they would meet up with the Neenah fleet and all cruise down to the island. There, under the elms, a tent village would appear, and the days would be filled with sailor talk, games, fishing, and the inevitable races and speed trials. Prize purses of $200 for first place, $100 for second, and $50 for third were customary. Spectators on shore and on steamers often numbered into the thousands.
It was a time of good fellowship and high Victorian values. Charles W. Felker, commodore of the Oshkosh Yacht Club from 1885 to 1897, wrote of that life:
Upon assuming the rank of commodore of the Oshkosh Yacht Club, Felker donated "an elegant piece of plate" for racing yachts on Lake Winnebago. Felker's trophy was ordered through an Oshkosh jeweler, Birely, which contacted the Gorham Silver Company of New York. Gorham, in turn, purchased Meriden Britannica company's stock trophy Number 2000, its "Chased, Gold Inlaid and Gold Lined Yacht Cup," wholesaled at a cost of $137.50. By the time Gorham and Birely added their markups, Felker's bill came to $350. According to the Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, that was the greatest sum of money spent for an Oshkosh Yacht Club trophy to date.
The deed of gift for the Felker Cup also specifies the race course, beginning with the Oshkosh Yacht Club home buoy at the foot of Washington Street. From there, the course follows a triangle with legs of two miles each, sailed twice around. The deed of gift was revised in 1897, opening the competition to any yacht owned by a member of an organized yacht club in the United States. Boats sailing for the cup must fall under the classification of First Class—boats measuring 20 feet or more on the waterline—of the Oshkosh Yacht Club.
The Felker Cup is antedated only by the Sheridan Prize on Lake Geneva in this part of the country, and is one of the oldest sailing trophies, perhaps the most active one, in America.
2018 Regattas - send your confirmed dates
- 25- ILYA Board Meeting - White Bear, MN
17-18 - Adv. RC Course - Geneva
- 6 Rules discussion - Harken
- 7 Judges Course - Bruce Martinson - Harken
- 28-29 Basic Race Committee Course - John Strassman
- 5-6 Cedar, IN Icebreaker
- 18 - Bilge Puller South Meeting
- Bilge Puller North Meeting
- 19-20 E Spring Regatta - Lake Geneva YC
- 9-10 Wawasee E Scow Regatta - Wawasee, IN
- 22-24 US Sailing JOs - Okoboji
- 23-24 MC Wisconsin Championship - Pine Lake
- 25 - LBSS Opti - Beulah
- 26-27 - TRAP X - Pine Lake
- 29-July 1 - US Sailing JOs - Lake Forest
- 5-6 Quad Lakes - Beulah
- 9-12 GLSS Dinghyfest
- 14-15 ILYA MC Invitational - Nagawicka
- 14-15 ILYA E Invitational - Geneva
- 16-17 XTreme X Regatta - Oshkosh
- 16-19 Area K Jr. Championships - Sheboygan
- 21-22 ILYA C Invitational - Beulah
- 21-22 WYA X - Cedar
- 23 - ILYA No Tears - Beulah
- 25-28 ILYA X Champs - Pewaukee
- 29-31 ILYA Opti Champs - Pewaukee
- 3-5 WYA C - Okauchee
- 12-19 ILYA Championships - Minnetonka
- 12-15 A/MC Scows
- 15 Bilge Pullers Dinner
- 16-19 E/C Scows
- 21-22 National MCSA Junior Championship -
- 23-26 MC Nationals - Pewaukee Yacht Club
8-9 George Dorn MC - Beulah
22-23 NNN Beulah C Challenge - Beulah
- 29-30 Polar Bear Regatta - Lake Davenport Sailing Club