WMYA History

Forming the Western Michigan Yachting Association

The Western Michigan Yachting Association was formed in December 1929 as a result of an informal agreement between representatives of the three original member clubs; the Spring Lake Yacht Club, the Muskegon Yacht Club and the White Lake Yacht Club. The driving force behind the organization was C.D.R. Mulder, who was a member of both WLYC and SLYC.

The fledgling association held their first regatta at Muskegon Lake in 1930 as a two day event. The regatta included only three classes of boats: A Scows, C Scows and E Scows, and involved only a single race in each class. The Muskegon Lake Regatta was so successful that the three clubs decided to formalize their relationship and promote intense inter-club competition. All interested parties were invited to attend a luncheon at the Century Club in Muskegon on September 22, 1930. Delegates from White Lake, Muskegon Lake, Spring Lake and Black Lake (Macatawa Bay) were on hand. Within a short time the Grand Rapids Yacht Club and the Torch Lake Yacht Club also joined. The organizers chose C.D.R. Mulder (SLYC) Commodore, William R. Munroe (MYC) Vice-Commodore, John G. Guerin (WLYC) Rear Commodore, Clarence E. Pitkin (WLYC) Secretary, and C.A. Crowe (MBYC) Treasurer. By 1938 Pentwater and Crystal Lake had also joined.

The White Lake Yacht Club invited the other members of the association to hold its. first official regatta at White Lake in August of 1931. Hoping to improve upon the earlier efforts at Muskegon Lake, the organizers of the White Lake Regatta decided to extend the event to three days (Saturday, Sunday, and Monday) and to have the three classes of boats sail in heats, one for each day of the event, which would supposedly improve the competition. They also added a social side with Sailors Lunch every day and a grand ball to end the regatta.

During the 30. and 40.s the WMYA experimented with another type of regatta known as the Skippers Regatta. The idea was that each club would send a skipper and crew for each of the three classes (E, C, and Cresent). Each crew would rotate from one boat to another until each had sailed each boat, negating advantages of speed or quality on other boats. The winner was based on a point system with the winner having the most points overall. In 1936 the Association decided to let the host club provide all the competing boats. This posed a problem when not all clubs had all the fleets racing on their lake.

In 1939 a cruising boat race from Macatawa to White Lake opened the event and it was made an annual event for several years. During the war years of 1942 and 1943, the regattas were canceled due to war time travel restrictions and lack of competition. The format for the races remained fairly uniform over the years. Each regatta lasted for three days, changing to a Friday to Sunday format, and now to a four day format. The classes of boats raced over the years have included the; A Scow, E Scow, C Scow, Cresent, Y Flyer, Snipe, Lightning, Lawley, Scooter, Wood Pussy, Nipper, MC Scow, Butterfly, Laser, M20, and Melges 17. This Regatta Year Book started in 1959 as the first official program printed for the regatta and it was dedicated to Howard Tremble as a past WMYA Commodore. The position of Resident Agent (now Executive Secretary) began in 1962 with Tom Bloodgood. In 1966 Midge Verplank took over and held the association together with consistency and vitality until retiring in 2003, with Joan Manny replacing him.

To this day the foundation of the WMYA is based on encouraging, promoting, conducting and supervising amateur yachting and yacht racing on the inland lakes. Its. long history has perpetuated through generations of sailing families and will continue to do so in to the future.

(Taken from excerpts of the WLYC History by Dan Yakes and Roger Scharmer, and excerpts form the WMYA history with reminisces of Mrs. Bruce Wathan and letters from Mrs. Freda Tremble)
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