PLYC Burgee

Sailing for Akron and Canton, Ohio
Portage Lakes Yacht Club
where we love to sail...

Portage Indian

History of Portage Lakes Yacht Club

The Portage Lakes Yacht Club was founded March 29, 1936 . Its founding officers were: D. K. MacBride*. Commodore; James Crossley*, Vice-Commodore; C. A. Moore*, Rear­ Commodore; L. W. Gaylord*, Secretary-Treasurer; 0. A. Shuler*, Fleet Captain, and William G. Burkhardt*, Chairman Regatta Committee.

The preceding made up the entire membership. An important part of the founders’ duties was to select a name and design a burgee. Our name was arrived at so that we could he based on any one of the Portage Lakes . In Corinthian Yachting Circles, it is not considered good form to use letters on the burgee. We chose the symbolic figure of an Indian portaging a canoe, copied from the historic bronze plaque on the large boulder at the foot of Portage Path, created by the sculptor, Walter A. Sinz. Later, a replica of this bronze plaque was produced and presented to our Club by two of our members; it now rests in its prepared niche over the fireplace in our Ward Room .

The purpose of the Club was to foster sailing and sailboat racing, although at that time there were no sailboats on Turkeyfoot Lake . The Turkeyfoot Island Club had a location desirable for yacht club activities and a cooperative plan was worked out which was suitable to both clubs.

In our first few years, the Junior Chamber of Commerce encouraged the promotion of sailing, and with our combined efforts, we promoted regattas on Turkeyfoot that had as high as 130 entries. A Turkeyfoot Lake Regatta for mixed class sailboat racing is now held annually with PLYC and SSYC alternating the host club duties.

Although the club originally had hoped to have Snipe kits fabricated by a local builder, we were dissuaded for a few years by a young builder Dick MacFarlane who talked us into 16 foot scows. He enticed Sandy Douglas to settle in Akron and help him with the construction.

About 1938, Hilton Lafaye* joined the Club with his home built Snipe. In 1939 our Snipe Fleet No. 110 was formed. It has grown and been very active in Snipe circles. Carl Zimmerman* was a Past Commodore of SCIRA and W. Birney Mills* succeeded William Crosby as Executive Secretary and Treasurer of SCIRA. In support of SCIRA, P.L.Y.C. gave three trophies to the Association:

  1. To be awarded to the Champion Crew member in the Snipe Nationals.
  2. To the winner annually of the Ohio State Snipe Championship.
  3. Birney Mills Memorial Trophy for the Olympic Trial Championship at Cork , Kingston , Ontario , Canada .

Past Commodore Carl Zimmerman donated a trophy for the best total score annually of the three races of the Snipe Florida Winter Circuit.

In 1938, our Club petitioned the Inter-Lake Yachting Association for membership. The oldest and largest yachting association in the world, I. L.Y.A. consists of 119 clubs from the eastern shore of Lake Erie, West to the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair . Following 18 years of active participation in Inter-Lake affairs by our Club, we were honored in 1956 by having our first Commodore, D. K. MacBride, head the Inter-Lake Yachting Association with George McCord* as Secretary-Treasurer. George again held this office in 1966. In 1973 our Club was again honored when George McCord served as Commodore and James Burkhardt* as Secretary-Treasurer. George McCord also was a Trustee of the Inter-Lake Yachting Association Yachtsman’s Fund and served in many other capacities in the organization including the Appeals Committee. We were greatly saddened with his passing in November 1990.

In 1940, Robert Rutherford* brought an Interlake to our Club; soon a few members of the Snipe Fleet decided to order Interlake's and a fleet was formed. This class is very popular in Pennsylvania , Ohio , Illinois , Texas and Hawaii . Our Fleet No. 6 is a member of Interlake Sailing Class Association and has grown in size and participation in recent years.

With increased membership and interest in sailing activities around 1942, it was necessary to expand the Club quarters. The winter was spent by the members breaking through the North foundation wall in the center of what is now the locker room and removing the dirt by carrying it in bushel baskets to the water front. This gave us space for separate dressing rooms and permitted taking out the wall that had divided our locker room previously into two parts. Then in 1952 and 1953, an attractive Ward Room , with picture windows, fireplace, and sunken porch were added at a cost of somewhat over $8,500, financed by our membership of thirty-five.

Leonard Burch appropriately celebrated the Club’s 25th Anniversary in 1961.

Women have always played an important part in P.L.Y.C. sailing as crews for their husbands or boy friends. They have also skippered and assisted in all Club endeavors. In 1975 the first full fledged voting female member was accepted. Pamela Hall, a Snipe owner. Next came Linda Kersker, also a Snipe sailor. The Club also had two Active Associate Members, Rob Frechette and Ted Johnson. In 1992 Linda Kersker became the first woman to be elected Commodore of P.L.Y.C.

A fund was established in memory of Dan (our first Commodore) to have a new Flag Pole erected. Friends of his, outside our Club as well as P.L.Y.C. members, contributed to this fund. In 1980 a bronze plaque was placed on the old pole and a ceremony conducted by Commodore John Soquel which dedicated the pole to Dan’s memory. Yachting has more traditions than most sports. They are considered important in the ancient and honorable sport of Corinthian sailing.” Out of respect for our founding Commodore D. K. MacBride, who sailed away’ in May 1979, let us keep these high standards paramount in our Club’s sailing, and sportsmanship in racing.

The P.L.Y.C. Snipe Fleet #110 has done a lot of traveling over the years, spreading the name of P.L.Y.C. into other competitive waters. Carl Zimmerman, Henry Young. Sam Mollet III, Dick Hand, Paul Wood, Rick Wood, Rob Frechette, and others have let other Snipe sailors hear of P.L.YC.

Sam Mollet III has participated in the Bermuda International Race Week Invitational Snipe Regatta where he has won three times. In addition he is consistently in the top ten or fifteen boats in the Heinzerling Division of the Snipe Nationals. In 1994 in Gamagori , Japan , Sam won the Snipe Class Senior Masters World Championship.

Dick Hand placed 3rd in the 1987 Snipe US Apprentice Masters Championship for skippers 45 to 48 years of age. In 1991, Dick placed 5:in in the US Nationals Wells Series, which is a series for skippers not qualifying for the top Heinzerling Division.

Rob Frechette won the Snipe District 3 Junior Championship in 1987 and 1988, also placed Third in the Snipe National Junior Championships.

Rick Wood won the Snipe District 3 Championships in 1985, 1990, 1992 and 1994. In 1985 Rick placed 4th in the top Heinzerling Division of the Snipe National Championships.

In March 1986 we lost Wayne Luff Sr.* who joined the Club in 1944. A bachelor and Snipe owner, he and Ann were married the next year. Wayne Sr. for ten years had served as official race starter, a very exacting service. We are indeed grateful for his loyalty and precision.

In the early 1990’s P.L.Y.C. replaced the old painted steel flag pole with a slightly smaller aluminum flag pole of similar design. Also in the early 1990’s. P.L.Y.C. replaced the previous Floating on foam, anchored wooden docks with slightly used Follansbee manufactured docks of galvanized metal and painted frame with wooden deck, anchored and floating on foam encased in plastic, as now required by the State of Ohio Regulations.

P.L.Y.C.’s annual Dr. Kenneth G. Parke* Handicap Race(s) continue as he originated them so that slower skippers would ye a better chance at winning a trophy. On one Sunday each year, with the faster skippers handicapped by a time delay to start last and the slower skippers starting first, the slower skippers have a much better chance of winning the Handicap Trophy. Ken Parke continued to enjoy sailing his Snipe at P.L.Y.C. until he was about 94 years of age.

Many photographs of P.L.Y.C.‘s members taken during the 1980’s are in the frames on the West wall of the Ward Room. Also, many photographs were taken during the early 1990’s and donated in an album by former Snipe skipper Jim Conlin and wife Susan, are available for viewing at the Ward Room.

P.L.Y.C.’s Historian for many years and wife the First Commodore, Ann Macbride* died in early 1998 leaving much the history you are able to read in this Year Book. Ann’ album of historic information is presently in the safe keeping of Roger Ream. This album is available for viewing by the membership at some events and upon request.

P.L.Y.C. celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 1986. Throughout the sixty some years of P.L.Y.C., there has been good fellowship and sportsmanship by both young and older. Now in 2000 the 64th year, happy Sailing, Good Luck to all, and May the history continue.

Anne MacBride, Historian

Bill Cowan, Historian

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Past Commodores

1936 Daniel K. MacBride '79* 1937 George A. Shuler D.D.S. '87*
1938 Lavern F. Gaylord '57* 1939 William G. Burkhardt '72*
1940 Hilton J. Lafaye '74* 1941 W. B. Bixler '74*
1942 W. Birney Mills '70* 1943 Richard C. Dawson '74*
1944 Carl D. Zimmerman '83* 1945 Robert J. Rutherford '97*
1946 Charles R. Bond '69* 1947 George F. McCord '90*
1948 Clyde S. Gischel '02* 1949 Christian E. Rhonemus '94*
1950 William H. Taylor 1951 Charles K. Morgan
1952 Ben J. Ansley '96* 1953 Daniel K. MacBride '79*
1954 Hamilton Johnson '91* 1955 Larry P. Wheeler
1956 Norman Stephen '60* 1957 William Kuehnling '92*
1958 H. Maxwell Snodgrass '77* 1959 Sherman Dalbey '81*
1960 Jack H. Landfeld 1961 Leonard Burch 71*
1962 Victor H. Anderson '77* 1963 G. Kenneth Parke, M.D. '94*
1964 Ray Miller 1965 Robert F. Mahan
1966 Wilbur C. Bright '75* 1967 Charles D. Parke
1968 Roy J. Handwerk 1969 Ralph C.Falconer
1970 Leroy R. Hoffman 1971 G. Thomas Harrick
1972 James A. Burkhardt '77* 1973 Henry C. Young
1974 Roger F. Ream. D.D.S. 1975 Ted M. Kersker
1976 James R. Hand 1977 William F. Durbin
1978 Bob Vanderzee 1979 John Soquel, M.D.
1980 James G. Roberts, M.D.'04* 1981 Sam Mollet III
1982 Louis Wehrle Jr. 1983Vincent Johnson Jr. M.D.
1984 George E. McCord '90* 1985 Joe Herdina
1986 Darwin L. Steele 1987 James M. Conlin
1988 Jeff Mullett 1989 Roger F. Ream. D.D.S.
1990 John Brown 1991 James DeLong
1992 Linda Kersker 1993 Duane Smith
1994 James Frye. Ph.D. 1995 William Cowen
1996 George Crisp, 03* 1997 James G. Roberts, M.D.
1998 James R. Hand 1999 Greg Smith D. Min.
2000 Roger F. Ream, D.D.S. 2001 William Cowen
2002 Darwin Steele 2003 Steve France
2004 Jim Frye 2005 Andy Hawes
2006 Rumpi Gravenstein 2007 Darwin Steele
2008 James R Hand 2009 Roger F. Ream, D.D.S.
2010 Darwin Steele 2011 Ellen Perduyn
2012 Rumpi Gravenstein 2013 Darwin Steele
2014 Brian Harry 2015 Neil Gerren
2016 2017

* Deceased

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