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Erie regatta draws sail, power

The Inter-Lake Yachting Association’s Bay Week at Put-in Bay celebrates its 111th year

The Inter-Lake Yachting Association’s Bay Week at Put-in Bay celebrates its 111th year

A Lake Erie sailing tradition continues this summer in the form of the Inter-Lake Yachting Association’s Bay Week Sailing Regatta at Put-in Bay, to be held this year from July 19 to Aug. 5.

At 111 years in 2004, “Bay Week” is the oldest sailing competition on the Great Lakes, and has long been a proving ground for some of the best sailors and fastest boats on the Lakes.

The sailracing kicks off with the

Junior Regatta at Put-in-Bay, July 19 to 23, featuring upwards of 160 juniors racing on thistles, CFJs and lasers. The adults take to the water for the Bay Week Sailing Regatta, July 31 to Aug. 5.

A highlight of the event is the annual powerboat races, a staple of the regatta since 1908 when the Class C speedboat Rainmaker won the main event at an average speed of 22.04 knots.

This year’s powerboat regatta, July 26 to 30, features predicted log races and other tests of seamanship such as docking, maneuvering (the chicane); as well as a “flying mile.”

Kicking off the Power Regatta this year is the first Powerboat Beer-Rum Party, sponsored by Captain Morgan, July 26.

“Where else can you find such a wide range of boating-competition classes — powerboating, cruising, one-design, even canoe and inflatable races — mixed in with fun and merriment for the young and the old, like a softball game, a parade and a fishing contest?” asks Rich McKee, 2004 commodore for the association.

The two dozen islands that surround South Bass and Put-in-Bay not only enhance the beauty of the area, but also generate wind shifts and currents that, added to the lake’s notorious chop, reefs and sometimes challenging weather, make for a dramatic and rigorous racing environment.

Inter-Lake Yachting Association is the oldest yacht club association in the country. It is also one of the largest today, with 146 member yacht clubs. These clubs are located in states that surround Lake Erie: Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and the Canadian province of Ontario.

For information about accommodations, contact the Put-in-Bay Chamber of Commerce at (419) 285-2832. For information about the regattas, contact Don Bartels at (330) 562-8902 or e-mail