A brief note:
The first two parts of following History of SLSC were prepared by prior SLSC Historian Cyril Chapman in 1966 and amended by Cyril in 1970. The third part was prepared by the SLSC Historian Randy Rice in 1973. The text below has been retyped from a hard copy provided by Randy Rice. I have made very minor corrections, and any errors in conversion from hard copy to online are my responsibility.
Vic Roberts December 6, 2011.
SARATOGA LAKE SAILING CLUB HISTORY
The Saratoga Lake Sailing Club as it exists today is the result of several attempts over the past thirty years to establish a sailing club at Saratoga Lake.
In 1957, a group of people interested in sailing organized the present Saratoga Lake Sailing Club. They analyzed the reasons for the failure of the former clubs and decided to eliminate the faults, to establish a social program and to promote the interest of the members, wives, and families. On these principles, this club has grown from a few members in 1957 to 85 in 1965.
HISTORY, ANCIENT and OTHERWISE
Back in the middle nineteen-thirties, in the mid-depression era, a group of rag and stick boys and stink-pot addicts joined forces to form a common bond in the interest of boating in general. A club was formed known as the Saratoga Lake Boat Club and Joseph Duval, a Saratoga Springs attorney, was elected Commodore. The first meetings were held in the Saratoga Springs City Hall second floor court room. The anchorage was at Rogers Boat Livery located at the east end of route 9P bridge and the fleet consisted of various types of boats. Sail boats were Old Town, Sun Class, several flaties and a sneak box; power was inboard and outboard and included boats of many kinds including small racing craft.
This was the period when power was coming of age and outboard motors had grown out of the kicker, put-put stage into roaring power plants. The power boys far outnumbered the sailors and after the first season some of the sailors were converted and bought buzz-bombs and stink-pots, including the Commodore, who traded his Old Town lapstrake sailboat for an inboard job.
The Albany to New York City power boat race was an annual event, as it still is today and the Saratoga Lake Sailing Club had several entries each year.
The combination of power and sail in the same club didn't work out well since the sailors being outnumbered were outvoted and so the club split. There was no definite program of events or social activities, so enthusiasm waned. The threat of World War II spelled the finish of this club.
After the Second World War was over, a club for sail only was formed using the same anchorage. Although Dan Kelley, who was one of the dynamic leaders and the first Commodore of the present club, was the driving force behind this group, the club was never really organized and dissolved after several seasons’ effort.
The present Saratoga Lake Sailing Club was started at a gathering of interested people on July 8, 1957 and at this time elected Dan Kelley Commodore, Leo Hoge Vice-Commodore, David Jones Treasurer, Antonio Versaci Secretary, Racing Committee Leo Hoge, Legal Committee John Brown, Publicity Marcel Zucchino, Constitution and By-Laws Dan Kelley, Social Committee Walter Peterson and Membership Committee Dave Jones.
At a meeting on September 2, 1957 the aims of the club were discussed and a one dollar charge per boat for each day of racing was proposed and carried. Yearly dues of ten dollars for adults and five dollars for junior memberships were assessed on October 8, 1957.
On December 1, 1957, at a general meeting, the reasons for the failure of former clubs were discussed as mentioned in the forward. This was a very important meeting in the history of the club because it shows the members recognized the faults and shortcomings of previous organizations and would hereby try to avoid and correct them. The success of the tack charted at this time has been proven by the steady growth of the membership from seventeen in 1957 to eighty-five in 1965.
On January 5, 1958, the Saratoga Lake Sailing Club was accepted as a member of the Central New York Yacht Racing Association, dues twenty dollars per year, five dollars of which goes to the North American Yacht Racing Association.
A committee composed of Dan Kelley and Leo Hoge was named on February 9, 1958 to contact Senators Cusick and Seely about restricting the speed of power boats in the North Channel of Saratoga Lake.
Regatta plans were constituted on June 8, 1958.
The club improvement committee report of January 4, 1959 stated that a plot of ground near the mouth of Kaydeross Creek, consisting of 400 feet on the lake front and 430 feet on the creek would cost $10,000 for 4.7 acres. The main problem with this site was clearing the lake of weeds and silt.
On July 18, 1959 the land committee reported a possible lease with Kaydeross Park Corp., with arrangements as follows: $400.00 for the first 15 boats, price over 15 boats not arrived at, $700.00 maximum with 20 to 30 boats over 15. A five-year lease could be arranged with renewal yearly. Lease void if club dissolves. A motion was made and carried to move to the Kaydeross Park site. This site is located at the north end of the lake immediately adjacent to Kaydeross Park. Improvements to this site up to the present time include the club house, which was built in 1960, is directly on the lake front and members moor their boats in front of the house and grounds. A launching ramp is on the grounds and a dock extends 180 feet directly offshore. There are picnic tables and charcoal grills for member use and numerous tall trees for shade. The only power boat allowed is the club launch.
In 1960 it was proposed that power boats be taken into the club to increase the membership.
Some very heated debating followed and it was decided that because of the past joint power and sail club failures and that the sailors would lose control of the club, the proposal was rejected and the club continued for sailing only.
A FEW HIGHLIGHTS
In 1963 on June 29-30, the Saratoga Lake Sailing Club was host to the Saratoga Racing Centenial Regatta. The Saratoga Racing Association was celebrating 100 years of thorough-bred horse racing in Saratoga Springs with a summer long celebration. Seven classes of boats participated with fifty-seven boats winning twenty trophies. Seventy-five people attended the buffet dinner and dance at Newman's Lake House on Saturday evening.
The North American Firefly Sailing Regatta was held at the club site on August 24, 1963. This was the first time this event was held in this area. A dinner and dance was well attended on Saturday night at the Casino, Congress Park in Saratoga Springs.
In 1965 on August 21-22 the club sponsored the Windmill Class Association, International Championship but the wind conditions were very poor and the event was rescheduled to be run off on September 18 and 19. The wind was not too favorable at this time either, but the event was finished within just seconds of the time limit.
On October 9 and 10, 1965, the Kestrel North American Championships were held at Saratoga Lake. Other Kestrel Regattas have followed. Many International 14 Championship Regattas have been held at Saratoga Lake Sailing Club. Canadian participation is generally heavy.
Jet 14's have remained one of our largest fleets and most active racing classes. Bob McLoughlin takes much credit.
Past Commodore, Marcel Zucchino is holder of the club record for the most consecutive number of membership years.
Two members of the present Saratoga Lake Sailing Club were members of the boat club of the middle nineteen-thirties. They are Past Commodore James A. Ketchum and Past Vice Commodore Cyril H. Chapman.
Over the past thirty odd years it has been my observation that the trend in sail boat design has been toward much lighter, much faster and smaller crafts.
Thirty years ago capsizing was something you just did not do: it was held as a sign of a wrong tactic or maneuver and the badge of a poor sailor. Today it is an accepted thing and most boats are now so designed, with self rescue features built in.
Cyril H. Chapman, Historian
31 January 1966
In 1970, membership reached 150 families. Initiation fee was $20.00, dues $45.00.
Two committees, first appointed by Commodore Rice in 1966 have been hard working but have no tangible results to show:
May 28, 1973: AT LAST, OUR VERY OWN!
In 1972, Commodore David Duston obtained information that Melander's, the choicest of all property on the lake, might become available. He appointed Randy Rice as Properties Committee Chairman and serious work was started.
One of the Club's greatest assets came into play when needed talent was requested to make up this committee. An expert was available in every field! Cyril Chapman's History of 1966 tells the story.
Financially, the original offer was for 300 acres, 3,000 feet of frontage, at $155,000. Try as we would, the membership could not handle this figure. Many emotional meetings with impassioned pleas were heard. The break came when, at a desperation meeting, we received a counter-offer from the Melanders of 12 acres and 600 feet of frontage for $110,000! The Melanders had decided that we would be good neighbors. We obtained a 7 1/2 percent bank mortgage for $70,000 and raised $42,000 by selling 12 percent interest bearing notes to patriot members. We raised dues to $150 per year and initiation to $50.
Such an undertaking was bound to produce some different viewpoints and we lost about 20 members who stayed at our old location, forming a new group, Kaydeross Sailing Club. However, in 1974, we had attracted 50 new members. A limit of 200 members was set for SLSC.
Saratoga Lake Sailing Club
John McGraw, 1971
India Ink Drawing