The start of the 1997 Felker Cup race. In the forground is race officer John Ordway Irvine (right) whose grandfather Jack Ordway won three Felker Cups. Getting the best start is the Bill Perrigo family, who have claimed eight Felker wins..
In August, 1997, the ILYA celebrated 100 years of scow sailing at its Annual Regatta, held on Lake Winnebago at Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The opening event was the race for the 126 year-old Felker Cup.
Dr. Thomas A. Hodgson
is the author and has
Copyright 1997 Thomas A. Hodgson
All Rights reserved.
Excerpts have been reproduced with
permission of the author.
| The 1997 Annual Regatta—the centennial regatta of the Inland Lake Yachting Association—began with a familiar gesture from Lake Winnebago. By the time principal race officer Alan Becker had organized his race committee for the Felker Cup competition on Saturday afternoon, August 9, the lake had a good sea working from a brisk southeast breeze to provide its own welcome to ILYA sailors.
Becker's committee carefully laid out the Felker Cup course, the first race of the weeklong regatta. The deed of gift specifies an equilateral triangle with legs two nautical miles long. Bill MacNeill of Green Lake set the buoys, Jock Irvine of White Bear Lake (whose grandfather Jack Ordway had won three Felker Cups beginning ninety-one years ago) anchored the leeward end of the starting line, and they aligned the first leg directly into the southeast wind. Based upon that leg, the course nearly matched the century-old South Course of the Oshkosh Yacht Club.
A map of the course published in 1899 showed the first leg sailed SSE by 3/4 East, which, by the compass, is about 145 degrees. Boats started cleanly and headed out over waters well known by generations of ILYA sailors.
In 1897 the Felker Cup's deed of gift was revised to open competition to yachts meeting the Oshkosh Yacht Club's measurement classification as a First-Class Yacht, and scows appeared shortly thereafter. In 1899—the year the map appeared in the Oshkosh Daily Northwestern—it was Will Davis's Aderyn that took the cup. Ninety-eight years later, it was Rob Evans Jr.'s Cosmic Warrior first across the finish line. But despite the futuristic hint in the name of Evans's Lake Minnetonka boat and different building materials, little else had changed in the intervening years.
The next day, another Aderyn—a Welsh word, describing a "swift flying bird."—sailed out to the MC race course. The hull of this Aderyn, although smaller, shared the same distinctive shape of the scow sailed by Will Davis decades before. Davis's great-great-grandson Tobin Tornehl of Pewaukee Lake would compete against forty MC scows on one of three race courses shared by six fleets during the Centennial Regatta. Tornehl started his races off the foot of Washington Street, as Davis had done so often, so many years before.
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