NNYC 150th Journal
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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.

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