Wawasee Yacht Club

Last updated

Burgee of Wawasee YC.svg

Founded 1935
Location 6338 E Trusdell Ave. Syracuse, Indiana
Website sites.google.com/site/wawaseeyachtclub/
An E-Scow EScow SUVLM06 5cut.jpg
An E-Scow
A Laser Laser Standard 160588 01.jpg
A Laser

The Wawasee Yacht Club was formed in 1935 and is located at 6338 E Trusdell Ave. on the northeast shore of Lake Wawasee, Indiana. It currently has 75 families and 35 social members sailing 28-foot E-Scow, 19-foot Lightning, and 13-foot Sunfish class boats in three regattas held from June through early October.

Lake Wawasee

Lake Wawasee, formerly Turkey Lake, is a natural lake southeast of Syracuse in Kosciusko County, Indiana, United States. It is the largest natural lake wholly contained within Indiana. It is located just east of Indiana State Road 13.

Indiana State of the United States of America

Indiana is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern and Great Lakes regions of North America. Indiana is the 38th largest by area and the 17th most populous of the 50 United States. Its capital and largest city is Indianapolis. Indiana was admitted to the United States as the 19th U.S. state on December 11, 1816. Indiana borders Lake Michigan to the northwest, Michigan to the north, Ohio to the east, Kentucky to the south and southeast, and Illinois to the west.


The E-Scow is a sailing scow and the younger sister of the A-Scow. Both boats are manufactured by Melges Performance Sailboats. Its rigging is similar to the A-Scow, and their hull shapes are almost identical, with a ten-foot difference in length. The boat is competitively sailed in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, South Carolina, Louisiana, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois and Colorado. Recently, the E-Scow class has spread to Europe. There are boats in Switzerland, France, Finland and one in Austria's Lake Attersee.



The Wawasee Yacht Club has a strong sailing tradition that began over 70 years ago and continues today. The flagpole and adjacent plaque near the Wawasee Yacht Club clubhouse was dedicated in 1972 to commemorate the memory and the efforts of Joseph Plasket as one of the founders and as one of the former commodores of the club. Joe Plasket, Ed Dodez, Byron McCammon and Henry Wahl came to Lake Wawasee in 1935 to see if it would be a good location to sail, and perhaps race, their boats. Bishop’s Boat Livery and Marine Supply, which was located on the northeast corner of the lake near the Eli Lilly property, gave the men permission to use a porch as a meeting place and base of operations as they started racing their handcrafted Snipe sailboats. They were soon joined by a group of local sailors, creating SCIRA's Snipe fleet number 40. Some of them (the Levinson and Call families) are still part of the club today. With membership increasing, and with the financial support of Eli Lilly, the porch was enclosed for meetings. After being in existence less than 4 years the Wawasee Yacht Club emerged as a worthy host of the 1938 Snipe World Championship.

Eli Lilly American pharmacist, Union Army officer, businessman, philanthropist

Eli Lilly was an American soldier, pharmacist, chemist, and businessman who founded the Eli Lilly and Company pharmaceutical corporation. Lilly enlisted in the Union Army during the American Civil War and recruited a company of men to serve with him in the 18th Independent Battery Indiana Light Artillery. He was later promoted to major and then colonel, and was given command of the 9th Regiment Indiana Cavalry. Lilly was captured in September 1864 and held as a prisoner of war until January 1865. After the war, he attempted to run a plantation in Mississippi, but it failed and he returned to his pharmacy profession after the death of his first wife. Lilly remarried and worked with business partners in several pharmacies in Indiana and Illinois before opening his own business in 1876 in Indianapolis. Lilly's company manufactured drugs and marketed them on a wholesale basis to pharmacies. Lilly's pharmaceutical firm proved to be successful and he soon became wealthy after making numerous advances in medicinal drug manufacturing. Two of the early advances he pioneered were creating gelatin capsules to contain medicines and developing fruit flavorings. Eli Lilly and Company became one of the first pharmaceutical firms of its kind to staff a dedicated research department and put into place numerous quality-assurance measures.

Snipe (dinghy) ship type

The Snipe is a ​15 12 foot, 2 person, one design racing dinghy. Designed by William F. Crosby in 1931, it has evolved into a modern, tactical racing dinghy with fleets around the world. The class is governed by the Snipe Class International Racing Association (SCIRA) and recognized by the International Sailing Federation as an International Class sailed in 30 different countries. There have been over 31,000 Snipes constructed worldwide.

Commodore Hub E. Isaacks and O'Leary Trophies are the main sailing trophies awarded at the Open Snipe World Championships. The Commodore Hub E. Isaacks Trophy is awarded to the fleet of the winning skipper, while the O’Leary Trophy is awarded to the person who crews for the winning skipper in the majority of races sailed in the World Championships.

In the following year, 1939, the club was incorporated as a legal entity and, with the continued assistance of Eli Lilly, purchased the current land and original clubhouse on Trusdell Avenue. The nearby Tavern Hotel gave the club a 10’ easement so boats could be taken down to the lake and launched for racing.

The war years of the early 1940s naturally limited the club’s activities. However, the club rebounded quickly as members were discharged from military duty and it once again became the focus of sailboat racing on Lake Wawasee. Snipe (dinghy) were raced into the early 1950s; but the Lightning (dinghy) fleet grew quickly in the late 1940s. By the mid-1950s, the WYC raced only the classic Stephens and Sparkman-designed Lightning (dinghy).

Lightning (dinghy) dinghy

The Lightning is a sloop rigged sailing dinghy originally designed by Olin Stephens of Sparkman & Stephens in 1938 and was first sailed on Skaneateles Lake, NY, United States. More than 15,000 Lightnings have been built since then. There are over 500 fleets of Lightnings worldwide, many of which participate in dinghy racing.

Eli Lilly, who had founded the earlier Wawasee Yacht and Canoe Club in the 1890s and had traditionally sailed boats named “Cynthia”, bequeathed the sterling silver Cynthia’s Cup to the WYC in 1949. The bequest stated that the cup was to be given annually to the season’s highest ranked skipper. Today the tradition continues with the trophy being shared by the top skippers in single-handed and multi-crewed fleets.

In the early 1950s, the Tavern Hotel burned to the ground and was replaced by two lake homes. Along with its existing boat launching area, the club was able to gain additional lake frontage that gave the club the boat yard it has today.

In 1954, the club hosted its 1st Hoosier Regatta for Lightnings—a regatta that has run continually and celebrated its 50th Anniversary in early October 2004. This fall classic is the traditional closing event of the WYC’s racing season

For many years, the Lightning fleet was the mainstay of the Wawasee Yacht Club, but by the early 1990s the local Wawasee Boating Association had developed a growing fleet of E-Scow. The merger of the two groups re-invigorated the WYC and led the way for more growth. The annual E-Scow regatta in early June has become one of the best-attended E-Scow regattas in the region.

In the early 1980s, a Laser (dinghy) fleet was started at the club. For lady sailors, the “Wawashe’s” started a series of races and training in Sunfish (sailboat) in mid-1990s. From that start, a full racing fleet developed and the Lake Wawasee Sunfish Regatta in August of each season has quickly developed into one of the premier events on the Sunfish Midwest circuit. In September 2007 the Wawasee Yacht Club hosted the 2007 Women’s Sunfish North American Championship

General information

Today the club currently has 3 active racing fleets: Lightning, E-Scow and Sunfish. On a typical Saturday morning 15-20 Sailboats participate in competitions on the lake, and on Sundays 8-10 E-Scows and an equal number of Lightnings also compete. In July, the club holds a Junior Sailing program, for the purpose of introducing youth members to the sport of sailboat racing.

With a racing membership of 75 families and 35 social members, the club sponsors an active social schedule for families and adults. In 2001-2002, the WYC embarked on an extensive remodeling and expansion of the 1920s clubhouse under the guidance of architect and long-time member John Call and with the full financial support of the club membership.

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