History Uncovered: Green Lake Yacht Club looms large in local culture – Ripon Commonwealth Press


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Founded more than 100 years ago, the Green Lake Yacht Club (GLYC) has been a large part of the area’s culture.Sailing has a rich history in Green Lake; even before the creation of GLYC, yacht racing and cruising were a staple of summers on the lake.It wasn’t until 1894 that 25 avid sailors transformed their love for the sport into an official yacht club and the following year joined the Inland Lakes Yachting Association.According to Michael Zock, who has been a GLYC member since the ’70s, Green Lake’s great depth makes it an optimal lake for inland sailing, so there is no wonder the people living around it have found such a rich hobby in the sport.Soon after the club’s establishment, members began discussing plans to build a clubhouse on the grounds of the old Oakwood Hotel that they had been using as their meeting place.But in 1929, the Oakwood Hotel was torn down and the proposed clubhouse was never built. To this day, GLYC doesn’t have a designated clubhouse.Club meetings have instead been held at places like the Heidel House, Tuscumbia Country Club and members’ homes.The expansion of the club over its years has allowed it to host a number of regattas on Green Lake.GLYC hosted the U.S. National Snipe Regatta in 1952 following the growth of its Snipe fleet.The club has a long history with the Snipe class and held the U.S. Nationals on Green Lake again in 1975 and 2018.More than 100 years since its establishment, GLYC still is a prominent part of Green Lake’s culture and has managed to maintain steady membership numbers.A large reason is because of the Green Lake Sailing School (GLSS).Sponsored by the yacht club, GLSS’s mission is to keep the tradition of the club alive by instilling a love of the sport into children.GLSS has been teaching kids from every skill level to sail and preparing the next generation of GLYC members since 1960.Zock used to race in the Laser class, said the sailing school was a big part of his family’s summers.Both of Zock’s children were enrolled in sailing school and he described their experience as “an absolute hoot.”Zock used to live in Chicago and would come to Green Lake during the summer and enroll his kids in the sailing school.He described how the school built his kids’ sailing skills and how once they gained confidence sailing, the school held a “pirates race” at the end of the season where any rules go.“You could grab the other guy’s boats and turn it around, you can steal their rudders so they can’t steer, anything to interfere with the other guy’s race,” he said. “It was really cool.”The club has remained very active in its more than 120 years running, even when COVID-19 shut down most events last summer, it was able to maintain its racing schedule.“The racing schedule was great during COVID-19 because it was an outdoor activity and they weren’t close to anybody,” Zock said.Given GLYC’s deep roots in Green Lake, the club will likely remain an active part of the area’s culture well into the future.

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