NNYC 150th Journal

Lyall Stilp and Huff 'N' Puff

Huff 'N' Puff, July 30th, 1949 (Courtesy of Neenah Historical Society)

Here is a piece of local history - - - many of us may recall seeing a well-used houseboat named "Huff-N-Puff" on our waters over the last few years.  It was rather an itinerant boat, moving from port to port and seawall to seawall.  I believe at the time it belonged to a friend of Bernie Schwartz, one of our laser sailors in years past.  In any case, I have found a news article dated August 29, 1949 relating to the origin of the boat. 

It was built by Lyall C. Stilp of Neenah on his lakeshore property on Adella Beach in 1948-1949.  Mr. Stilp served as our Secretary - Treasurer in 1932 and in 1937 - perhaps years in between and later as well, but that is what is recorded in the Kimberly history book.

Lyall was an avid sailor and crewed on Frank Shattuck's Onaway II in the 1920's and crewed and skippered Bill Kellett's Winnebago in the 1940's from time to time.  He also served on the 1935 Inland Regatta Committee for the races held in 1935 in Neenah.

Take a look at the article to learn a little more about this unique boat! -Doug Hatch - NNYC Treasurer and Historian


The Laser Racing Fleet is Born!

Here is a great story from one of my favorite NNYC artifacts - the 1977 NNYC Yearbook- Jonathan Coultas, Communications Director - communications@nnyc.org 

In 1975 there was a lot of interest in bringing a singlehand dinghy racing class to the NNYC.  Some felt the AMF Force 5 suit the bill perfectly while others preferred the Laser.  A heated debate ensued with people taking sides and pledging their unwavering allegiance to their favorite one-man dinghy.  Team Laser and Team Force 5 both had many points and could list at length the advantages of their favored design over the other (points which are still debated in online forums).  After some tense times and strong debates a selection committee consisting of three people conducted a survey and determined that "a preponderant number of the club's potential single handed racers favored the Laser."1  That was the end of the "Great Single Handed Sailboat Debate"1 and in January, 1976 the Laser was ushered in as an official racing class of the NNYC.  

Time heals all wounds and the Force 5 fans joined in the fun and twenty new boats were ordered up, which, alongside of the 4 existing Lasers made it the largest racing fleet on Lake Winnebago virtually overnight. Men and women both enjoyed the thrill of riding Lasers on the waves and the breeze and the occasional unintentional Winnebago bath.  The Laser fleet is still a racing class and runs races on Thursday evenings out of Recreation Park.

If you haven't checked out this gem already you can view the 1977 yearbook here to see fleet captains, boat names, trophy winners, and pictures of the Laser fleet in '77.  It is a big file but WELL worth it!  And if you were there and on one side or the other of the debate please comment below or send comments to communications@nnyc.org for details for an article on the history of the NNYC Laser fleet that I would like to compile.  Thanks!

1Neenah-Nodaway Yacht Club 1977 Yearbook (pg. 25)



NNYC's History Book

By now I hope you all have had a bit of time to take a look at our updated website with all the archival items . . . everything from meeting minutes, race results, treasury reports, newspaper clippings, yearbooks, and the most enjoyable- all those photos dating back to the late 1800s. 

I added about 200 more pictures this weekend, so if you have already looked, please look again!  Many of the new images are earlier pictures and all in all, they really tell the story of the NNYC.  Be sure to click on them to set up a light box slide show, which will give you more information in the title of the photo and let you advance through the gallery.  If you have information regarding any of the pictures, please contact me directly and I will make the updates.

It's most interesting to review these pictures along with "The History of the Neenah-Nodaway Yacht Club" by J.C. Kimberly.  J.C. Kimberly was a founding member and the first commodore of the Nodaway Yacht Club and put together his experiences, club archives, and newspaper accounts to from the club's history book.  Every NNYC member should have one of these proudly displayed on their bookshelf.  If you don't have a copy, please contact me or Kacee Des Jarlais.  This book really brings the pictures to life!  The thrilling stories of the Anita, Kathleen, and Aderyn racing yachts of a rather rambunctious Will Davis; the double hulled Caroline of Frank Libby, Neenah's Jimmie Jones skippering the Yankee to victory, J.C. Kimberly's Nirvana, the early "sandbaggers" Gleaner and Niobe of Oshkosh, The Carrie Morgan and many more are depicted in the history book, and the photos really bring the story to life.

The Nodaway Yacht Club was founded on the principle of a single racing class of yacht - the catyawl.  We have a few of these up on the web as well. I'm also looking for more pictures of the old steamers that carried paying passengers out to watch the yacht races - if you know of any, let me know.  -Doug Hatch- NNYC historian and treasurer.


Mayflower vs. Falcon

The NNYC has always been about racing in one way or another.  I've always said, "if there are two boats on the water, they are racing." Not necessarily true, but certainly one measures his own progress regarding other boats on the water.  Let's go back to the 1860s and one of the earliest recorded races on Lake Winnebago.

By 1867 the yacht Mayflower (originally owned by Charles Doty, the son of a Wisconsin Territorial Govenor, and part of the first documented yacht race on Lake Winnebago in 1859was now owned by a Captain Fairfield of Neenah and the Falcon, originally a Fond du Lac and then Oshkosh boat, was owned by Charles May of Menasha.  A match race was set up wherein it was reputed that the two captains had laid a wager of $100 winner take all.  In addition, side bets estimated to total a thousand to fifteen hunderd dollars were laid by the very interested general public.  The race brought great enthusiasm to the locals and sides were choosen.  Sailboats, small crafts, and steamers carrying spectators followed the course of the race with spectators cheering on their favorite boat crew.

The race was set to a triangle over 25 miles - from the Neenah lighthouse to Stockbridge, on to Garlic Island and home.  At the start, the Mayflower was ready, the Falcon was not, and Captain Fairfield crossed the starting line, making over a mile on the Falcon sailed by Captain Wilcox for Charles May.  The Falcon, however, reached the Stockbridge marker ahead of the Mayflower, and widened the gap to 3 miles on the run back to Garlic Island.  On the last beat to the home buoy, the Mayflower took first advantage of a favorable breeze, gained significantly on the Falcon (who ended up two miles back and battling a headwind) and was declared the winner.

Unfortunately, no photos have been found of these early racing yachts, but here is an artist's sketch of the harbor around that era.

Source: Kimberly, James C. / The history of the Neenah-Nodaway Yacht Club of Neenah, Wisconsin: an account of yacht racing on Lake Winnebago from 1859 to 1957


Fun on the Ice

Since Lake Winnebago is frozen solid, this week I bring you a couple of appropriate items relative to the season.


This short video of winter on Lake Winnebago is from the 1930s . . it consists of several shots of the Gilbert family ice skating and there is some great footage of the S.F. Shattuck ice boat with its cotton sails and gaff rig.  Shattuck is the gentleman running into the picture and waving.  Jane Lang of the Neenah Historical Society provided this from her family archives.


Here is a great picture of Gus Larson in his Ice Boat circa the 1950s.  Gus was an avid A-scow sailor in his U51 Sea Gull II and later his Attempt and Attempt II, competing with the Kelletts, Kimberlys, Catlins, and Buckstaffs for many years.  In 1956 he won both the Sage and the F. B. Whiting trophies in Sea Gull II.

Many of the NNYC photos from the 50's and 60's are the work of Gus Larson, as he was our club photographer during that period.