A 113 year Challenge to Oshkosh Sailing

One of the surest and most lasting methods for arousing interest was also one of the oldest- the trophy or challenge cup.

In 1885, Commodore Charles W. Felker presented the Oshkosh Yacht Club with the Felker Cup. This prize, the oldest challenge trophy on the lake and the best known in the Northwest, is a magnificent silver-plated bowl.

The only cup in this region to antedate it is Lake Geneva's Sheridan trophy. The Felker Cup was presented as a perpetual challenge trophy to be sailed for annually off Oshkosh. More than once it has revived yachting when interest seemed all but dead (1). The races for this trophy were originally open only to yachts sailed on Winnebago, until Felker revised the deed of gift in 1897, when the competition for the cup was opened to any boat owned by a member of an organized yacht club in the United States. Boats sailing for the cup must fall under the classification of the First Class of the Oshkosh Yacht Club. The deed of gift specifies that the course will be a triangle sailed twice around, with the boys set two miles apart. The starting place will always be at the home buoy, which shall be set off the foot of Washington Ave.

The Cup is to be sailed for annually, and is to be returned to the Oshkosh Yacht Club no later than one year after the date of winning. The race shall be the responsibility of the Commodore of the Oshkosh Yacht Club. A minimum of two competing yachts are required for any race for the cup to be valid (2).

Sources:
(1)  The History of the Neenah-Nodaway Yacht Club; Neenah, Wisconsin; James C. Kimberly, p.34.
(2)  A Century of Sail on Winnebago 1869 - 1969; Oshkosh, Wisconsin; James A. Young, editor, p. 105.

David M. Sitter

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