LCYC celebrates 125 years with gala

Past Commodores on Ticonderoga’s Hurricane Deck, from left to right: Fritz Horton of Shelburne, Doug Viehmann, John Harris of Shelburne, John Dinse, Tony Lamb, Peter Collins, Bern Collins, current Commodore Chris Leopold of Shelburne, Chuck Bowen of Shelburne, Dale Hyerstay of Charlotte, Jeff Hill of Charlotte, Bill Foster of Shelburne, Steve Unsworth of Shelburne, and John Dupee. Past Commodores in attendance but not pictured: Jill Burley and Bob Dunn.

Members of the Lake Champlain Yacht Club (LCYC) boarded the steamboat, Ticonderoga, preserved in all its glory at the Shelburne Museum, to celebrate the Club’s 125th Anniversary on Saturday, June 9. History was being repeated as they retraced the steps of LCYC members who gathered 75 years ago at Burlington’s King Street Dock to board the Ti for a three-hour moonlit cruise celebrating the Club’s Golden Jubilee on July 23, 1937. Founded in 1887, LCYC, one of the oldest in the United States, celebrated its 125th Anniversary in the glow of a beautiful late afternoon and evening with reminiscences and then dancing until ten o’clock to live jazz band music.

At the sound of the LCYC cannon, believed to be first fired at the 1909 Tercentennial, and mounted temporarily on the Ticonderoga’s Hurricane Deck, the 225 members and their invited guests gathered on the bow for the introduction of new members and brief remarks highlighting the Club’s unique history. Commodore Chris Leopold and Vice-commodore Doug White thanked the 125th Anniversary Celebration Committee for its months-long work with the Shelburne Museum in planning for the Gala. Commodore Leopold then recognized the Board of Governors, past Commodores, and introduced new members who were presented with LCYC burgees.

Past Commodore and current LCYC Historian Bern Collins conveyed a message of congratulations and best wishes sent in by Betty Sproston Little, a member since 1969, and a former LCYC historian and reporter for the Burlington Free Press who wrote stories about LCYC events which have been preserved in its archives.  She then paid tribute to Milo C. Reynolds, LCYC Secretary and Treasurer 1911-1961, who maintained the Club during its dormant years from the beginning of World War II until it was reactivated by a small group of men in 1962, led by Shelburne resident John Dinse, who served as Commodore from 1961-62.  With cheers and gratitude, Milo Reynolds, who died in 1972 at the age of 100, and John Dinse, who was present, were toasted for their significant leadership roles in LCYC’s 125-year history. Dinse was also recognized for his participation in the restoration of the Ticonderoga and his many years as a volunteer at the Museum.

Fifteen LCYC past Commodores were present and recognized for their leadership in shaping the character and spirit of the Club from 1962 to 2011, as a modern, all-volunteer organization, dedicated as stated in the LCYC Log to its founding mission: “The object of this Club is to promote and encourage boating and sailing on Lake Champlain, while emphasizing racing, cruising, and education, without financial gain.”

With approximately 200 memberships, LCYC is open to anyone with an interest in boating who is willing to volunteer time and labor to help maintain the Club’s facilities and programs. Its racing and junior sailing programs are open to members and non-members. It provides moorings in a special anchorage area in Shelburne Bay, designated as such by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1962 and it hosts several sailboat racing events for participants from all over the Northeast, as well as social events for members and guests.


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