CL Sailing Club History

By Dick Loomis


“The Early years” as recollected by Bill Dunstan


“I built my camp on Green Lake in 1932. At that time there were two motorboats and two sailboats—Tracy Bogart’s Lightning and Tony Beekman’s Catboat. My sailboat was a converted rowboat with leeboards and a lateen sail. Later, I had a Robin and a Blue Jay.

 Brad Dean with his Vampire (1959 /60)

“Usually we sailed around Canada Lake. At first there were only three or four regulars including Lydon Maider, Brad Dean, and Dick Parkhurst. Naturally, competition sprang up and we would “pick on each other, stealing the wind and picking off!” When more boats began to appear, we organized a few do-it-yourself races, using the island and the patch of lily pads in front of Skeet Sliter’s camp as course markers.


“In 1955 we organized the Canada Lake Sailing Club (CLSC). I was asked to be Commodore, a position I held for [about] 16 years. We first used inner tubes with white flags for markers until Monty Mason supplied us with large, styrofoam typewriter cases.


“More and more boats appeared. We sailed in two groups: The Sunfish were the most numerous and the “one-of-a-kind” division which had to be handicapped because they were not of the same class. The number of racing sailboats grew from three or four to 30-40!”


One Design Fleet Selected


The handicap system left much to be desired because final results, based on time to complete the race multiplied by Portsmouth numbers designated for each class of boat, could not be determined until well after races were completed. In fact, the three Long children, plus a few neighbors, were piled into their sturdy but slow Cape Cod with lunches and beverages and started racing one hour early so that they might finish with the rest of the fleet. Occasionally they even won a race on corrected time! Hence the CLSC set out to select a second class boat to compliment the Sunfish division.


In 1969, a committee of CLSC members, after a trip to the New York City Boat Show, recommended the “420” class sailboat, a two-person, sloop-rigged boat with spinnaker.  During its heyday in the mid 70’s, Monty Mason, John Castilloux, Court Young Jr., Charlie Michaels, Paul Franz, and Dick Loomis, with their respective crews, all sailed 420’s. Along with the ever-popular Sunfish class, including Dorothea Loomis, John Brower, Don Lozier, Doug Leaf, Al White, Court Young Sr., the Cannon’s, Dave Fisher, the Egans, Brian Franz, Minot Osborne, Rick Fink, Ed Partenope, Don White, and Alan Fiedler, plus the remaining open class, sailboat racing on Canada Lake flourished.


In 1977, the single-handed, high performance “Force 5” replaced the dwindling 420 class (enthusiastic crews became difficult to find). But after only three seasons, the Force 5, proving to be a bit too high performance—especially for lighter weight sailors, was replaced with the “Super Sunfish”—a conversion kit consisting of sail, spars, daggerboard, and controls which converted the basic Sunfish into a sophisticated racing sailboat. The Super Sunfish class lasted for many years, even after it was no longer manufactured. The CLSC Super fleet was perhaps the last in existence. But as sailors aged and young people seemed of little interest in competitive sailing, the original Sunfish was the last class to survive.


Cocktail and Pot Luck Awards Parties


No mention of the CLSC would be complete without mention of the memorable sailing club parties! Sailors, landlubbers, and party crashers alike spent many “happy hours” at gatherings hosted by Jack “Fish House Punch” Ryan and Jean Curran, McMartin and Patterson, Castilloux and Steuber, the Theisens, the Sheedys, Michaels and Yuenger, the Youngs, Jack Fielding, the Fishers, the Franzes, Allen Farber, and of course Lois Miller and “Bachy” with his delicious linguine with clam sauce.


Hundreds of awards have been handed out over the summers. Among them, The Bogart Trophies, given in later years to the “most persistent and improved young sailors,”  engraved with names such as: Mike Akers; Don White; John, Paul, and Randy Ryan; Nancy Long; Kim Franz; Jackie Egan; Brian McIntosh; Ann Ireland; Bob Fisher; Chris and Kathy Kirsh; John Widdemer; Chip Brennan; Francine Michaels; Parker Davis; Jeff Bates; Amanda and Walter Young; Jeff Theisen; Ret Boswell; David Robinson; and Lois Miller.


Other awards included the Canada Lake Store Trophy donated by Marie and Skeet Sliter, the Jack Ryan Trophy, Monty Mason 420 Trophy, and the Bob Brown-Brad Dean Trophy given by Dr. Hoffman.


Special Races, Special Thanks


Among the many “special races” held on Canada Lake in the past were the Annual  Fourth of July Race, the Sunfish Team Races, the Olde Tymers Race, Sunfish/Force 5/Super Sunfish Regattas, the Marathon Race and the Relay Race with team names like –the Martin Eeks, Mike-a-Thons, Adirondack Animals, Point Pulverizers, Killer Bees, CLBO, the Store Cheese and the Mitchell Syndrome, who competed in sailing, swimming, canoeing, and running events to determine the fastest elapsed time.


Of course all the races over the years could not have been sailed without starting committees and safety boats, plus CLSC directors and commodores. So in the tradition of Bill Dunstan, Fred Saunders, Jack Ryan, Sheriff Paul Kukla, photographer Nancy Young, and the editors of theTell-Tale, we give a special “starting cannon” salute to all the people whose efforts and support made competitive sailing possible on Canada Lake.


The Later Years


Recent years have seen a decline in CLSC participation but a dedicated crew of Saturday Sailors still took to the waters off “Franzport” to vie for colorful, plastic plaques representing many enjoyable, competitive hours of sailing.


Among those die-hard sailors were Lane and Paul Franz; Geoff Clifford (all the way from Newport, RI); Lois Miller; Nancy Long; Nancy, Court, and Walter Young; Dorothea Loomis; David Robinson; Kate and Allen Farber; Mitch Fischer; John Kalpin; Coleen Miller; Colleen and Chris Herms; Lisa and Dan Lawrence; Linda and Dave Fisher; and Dick Loomis.


Another Sailing Season


Sailboat racing on Canada Lake has always gone in cycles so, despite the dwindling fleet, we may again see “30 to 40” boats silently sailing around the buoys. All we need is a new group of young, enthusiastic sailors—or another gas crisis!


The next time you see a bright, full moon illuminating our lake with night zephyrs that won’t die, go out on your dock. If you squint very hard, you may just be able to discern faint sails ghosting over sparkling ripples … the sails of perhaps Bill Dunstan’s Blue Jay or Brad Dean’s Vampire, Fred Juer’s Snark, or Bill Bates’ Flying Tern. Or perhaps Jack Ryan’s Lightning, Clint Bachman’s Robin, Midge Akers’ or Ned Long’s Comets, or Monty Mason’s 420, Carl Steuber’s Snipe, or Dave Fisher’s or Paul Franz’s Super Sunfish … rounding the island and heading back toward the patch of lily pads off Dolgeville Point.

Sail Club Party from the summer of 1998 with from left to right Geoff Clifford, Paul Franz, Allen Farber, and Dick Loomis.

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