NNYC 150th Journal

On the Water feature article

The July 2014 edition of On the Water Magazine featured an article on the NNYC.  CLICK HERE to read the article.


The NNYC Clubhouse

Stevens' Cambria and residence behind circa 1904. (Photo courtesy of Neenah Historical Society)

Yes, it's true . . . the Neenah-Nodaway Yacht Club once had a clubhouse!  For one short year - 1937 - NNYC made arrangements to rent the "old Stevens" residence on East Wisconsin Avenue across from the yacht harbor.

From the minutes of April 19, 1937 - - -

Commodore Kellett appointed James H. Kimberly Chairman of the House Committee.  Mr. Kimberly appointed to serve with him Ted Perry, Art Croxen and Don Mitchell. 

J. H. Kimberly reported the club rental for a period of five months would be $50.00.  Mr. Kimberly reported it would cost approx $1000.00 to fix up the lighting, heating and plumbing systems, maintain caretaker docks and other expenses for the five month period.  It was decided Commodore Kellett and J. H. Kimberly would raise the required amount from donations and thereby not touching the present balance in bank. 

Commodore Kellett appointed Mrs. Ruth Kimberly Chairman of the Ladies Committee on furniture and furnishings.

Sadly, the house was unavailable the following year and no mention is made of it.

Click on either of the pages of the Apirl 19th, 1937 minutes to see them full size.

Doug Hatch- NNYC Historian and treasurer


The Little-Known and Short-Lived Marguerite Yacht Club

This week we take a look at the club which preceded the Menasha Yacht Club, which in turn preceded the Nodaway Yacht Club, which was organized in 1894.

In 1889 a group of Menasha citizens purchased the Pinafore, a Fond du Lac boat. Interested parties were Will Miner, who served as Commodore, Dick Arft, Will Reed, George Utz, Joseph Long, Duncan MacKinnon, Frank Lake, Harry DeWolf, and Will, Albert, Theo and George Gilbert.  The Pinafore had been sailing and racing successfully since her launch in 1879 under the aegis of both the Oshkosh and Fond du Lac yacht clubs, including winning the Felker Cup in 1886.

The Pinafore was immediately renamed the Marguerite, and the Marguerite Club was established.  The Menasha men began racing her as the Menasha Yacht Club in 1890 in a series of three contests that included herself, the Lolita and Minerva of Fond du Lac, and the Hattie of Oshkosh.  After winning the first race by 1 minute 17 seconds, the Menasha skippers looked forward to the next race for the Felker Cup.

During the Felker Cup race, the Marguerite got off to a poor start and trailed both the Hattie and Minerva, but on the last leg she turned the tables, chasing down the Minerva at the last minute and winning by only a few seconds.  The contest was protested by the Minerva based on measurements, and the judges requested time to review the situation.  A decision was handed down and recorded in a news item dated August 1, 1890.

"Commodore Felker has sent on the Commodore's Cup.  He held that the missing rule had been found and the time allowance figured out.  The Marguerite must give the Minerva 2 and 55/100 seconds.  Her actual sailing time was 55 seconds faster than that of Minerva, consequently she wins the race by 52 and 45/100 seconds corrected time.  The Marguerite proposes to hold the Cup for all time."

While there is no record of the third race, it can be assumed that the Marguerite proved successful, as the Menasha Yacht Club acknowledged receipt of $20 from Fond du Lac as payment of prize money for the race.


Racing to the Finish by Bob Kimberly

The following entry is an email, picture, and poem from Bob Kimberly.  Enjoy! -editor

Unfortunately I won't be able to make it back to help you celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Neenah-Nodaway.  Having raced there from 1936 through 1965, I have many fond memories (and some exciting ones too) of those years and the friends I raced with and against.  Give my best to anyone who's there from that era, and best wishes for continued great sailing.


I'm attaching a copy of one of my poems.


Sincerely,  Bob Kimberly 


When I pass the picture

hanging by the door  

I see my boat in full sail

and relive that moment.


We’re racing toward the finish

in a ten knot breeze

with the big chute flying

when a puff shifts to the beam.


Surging ahead

the boat and rigging

respond to

the wind and waves.


I push the tillers over

to keep my boat

upright and under

the pulling spinnaker.


Pausing there by the door,  

I can feel again how I loved

those days on the water.

-Bob Kimberly  December, 2008


The Real History of Bill Kellet's A Scow "Winnefox"

Bill Kellett, past Commodore of both the NNYC and the ILYA, sailed A Scows from the 1940's and into at least the 1950's.  I know he was sailing a keelboat in the 1980's and 1990's, as I saw his Winnefox sail down the river a number of times.

The earliest A Scow I find Kellett sailing is the "Shadow II" (I believe this may have been a Kimberly boat); subsequently "Winnebago and followed by "Last Chance  - Kellett believed it to be his "last chance" for an ILYA title and in which he won the ILYA A Championship both in 1951 and 1953.

Kellett purchased a new A Scow from Johnson Boat Works in 1957 and named her Winnefox.  He continued to race locally and in the ILYA Regattas with this boat until 1961, when he sold the scow to Eddie Zinn of Madison with the provision to re-name the boat. 

From here the story gets better as it is told by scow guru, Willie Crear. If you want to learn the history of an A Scow from new to racing the Chicago to Mackinac and eventually ending up in France check out "Bill Kellett's A Scow Winnefox."  Click on any of the thumbnail images below to see a larger version.

Doug Hatch- NNYC Historian and treasurer

A Scows all named with a "fox" at the 1961 ILYA RegattaEddie Zinn's "Zinnefox""Zinnefox" upset"Zinnefox" really upset