Maxinkuckee Yacht Club


Social sailing began on Lake Maxinkuckee in the summer of 1896.  The first prizes (three pennants) were offered for a race five years later in 1901 by the Maxinkuckee Association.  This race apparently awakened the yachting enthusiasm of all who had sailboats.  In August of that same summer - 1901 - a number of lake sailors met at Edwards Boathouse and organized the Aubbeenaubee Yacht Club.  Henry C. Adams, Sr. was elected Commodore.

An entrance fee of 50 cents was assessed each boat and the proceeds were used to purchase pennants.  One race was held by the club that summer.  In this race, Elbert Shirk won the pennant for the sloops and Harry Wheeler won for the catboats.  In 1903, the yachts were divided into four classes: flat-bottomed sloops, flat-bottomed catboats, round-bottomed sloops, and round-bottomed catboats.  Five races were sailed.  In 1904, seven races were sailed.

Competitive sailing continued and flourished together with The Aubbeenaubee Yacht Club for ten more years until the beginning of World War I.  Following the war, and for several years thereafter there was only occasional sailing, and enthusiasm for The Aubbeenaubee Yacht Club diminished.  Near the end of the 1920’s a new generation was growing restless and it became apparent they wanted a revitalized yacht club.  Early in the summer of 1931 a group of young sailors met on Charles Barnaby’s porch and reorganized the club, naming it The Maxinkuckee Yacht Club.  Walker W. Winslow was elected Commodore and the club joined the Inland Lake Yachting Association (ILYA).  Only three boats raced that summer:  Tommy Hendricks (Class B), Walker Winslow (Class E), and William C. Griffith, Sr. (Class C).  Thirty-two club members were present at the First Annual Banquet held at the Maxinkuckee Inn.  The following summer, 1932, the club boasted 31 boats in two classes only, E’s and C’s.  David Cooper won for the season in a C Scow that cost $175.00. During the winter of 1933, Culver Military Academy promoted ice boating, enjoyed by many members of the yacht club.  In 1935 a large contingency from the E Fleet attended the Annual ILYA Regatta at Lake Winnebago, and the club hosted an Invitational E Regatta that same summer.  But World War II was not far away, and when it came, it brought many hardships.  Our sailors went off to war, the Academy lost its sailing fleet in a fire, and gas rationing was in effect, making transportation to and from the lake difficult.  Sailboat racing simply stopped and did not resume until after the war.

Particular attention was given to the younger sailors, and in 1948 John Brandon organized the club’s first Junior Fleet.  It survived only that summer, however, and not until 1953, five years later, did Oscar Perine establish it permanently.  During these formative years the Junior Fleet was managed and led most notably by Robert E. Hollowell, Jr., from 1955-1960, and by Rupert Esser, from 1965-1973. 

In the late 1940’s and through much of the 1950’s, Oscar Perine’s large, beautiful Chris-Craft Cabin Cruiser was an institution on the lake and most visible every Sunday afternoon as the Race Committee Boat.  It was not until 1957 that the Club purchased racing markers that were located on the lake and numbered on a map bound into the yearbook.  During much of this period - from 1956 to 1962 - Don Speer served as Chief Judge and, as such, not only devoted every Sunday to managing sailboat races, but introduced and developed many of the racing procedures followed today.  E. Allen Becker skillfully manned the Judges Boat for 35 years (1963-1997).  He was usually seen every Saturday and Sunday with Kitty Schaub, Judy Becker, Mike Rocap, Jan and Rick Strait, and countless others.  By 1959 the club’s E Fleet numbered only five boats - all owned by the Academy - and after the summer of 1960, they did not race again.

In 1961 the Annual Picnic left the Bradley lawn, where it had been held for as long as anyone could remember, and relocated on the Maxinkuckee Country Club golf course.  The C Fleet had grown to 25 boats by 1963 and to 29 two years later when, in 1965, a boat registration fee was instituted.  In 1967, Joyce Hollowell Speer was elected the first woman commodore.  That same year Margaret Washburn became the club’s Assistant Secretary-Treasurer, a spot she held for over 20 years, giving invaluable continuity to the club as well as aid, advice, and guidance to commodores and members alike.  Her address, 446 School Street, became familiar not only to MYC members, but to sailors all over the Midwest.

Beginning in 1970, more and more local sailors began competing in regattas off the lake.  This not only improved the level of sailing competition on Lake Maxinkuckee but also introduced many changes in race management.  E. Allen Becker, ably assisted by Charlie Roth, ushered in most of these changes.  Not until the summer of 1983 were the permanent racing markers abandoned for newly purchased bright, shocking pink balloons which allowed for more accurate course settings and permitted course changes during a race.  That same year the club purchased a Boston Whaler to be used as a chase and rescue boat.  A violent storm during a race early that summer capsized nearly the entire C Fleet.  The Boston Whaler was put to good use, perhaps saving the lives of Jim Costin and Don Muehlhausen who had been swept away from their boats.

By the time the 1973 sailing season ended, Cutter Washburn had become the first skipper to sweep the season by winning both the Saturday and Sunday Series.  Bruce Holaday would do it next in 1977 and Steve Speer in 1978.  In 1981, two years after the Saturday races had been split into two separate series to encourage more competition, Joe Schaub IV would win them both - as well as the Sunday series - and do it all again in 1982, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1990 and 1997.  

For well over 50 years, C and E Scows had dominated sailboat racing on Lake Maxinkuckee.  But early in June in the summer of 1977, a group of young sailors met on Fred Wurster’s porch in culmination of almost two years of planning and formed Hobie Fleet 216, introducing a new racing class to the lake.  Fred Wurster was elected the first Fleet Captain, and under his leadership and that of other enthusiastic Hobie sailors like Donal Ben Miller, Denny Barrett, Duke Niswander, Rick Strait, and Jack Keldenich, the fleet flourished.  The Hobie Fleet was active in the Maxinkuckee Yacht Club for 19 years but in 1996 this fleet was disbanded.  However, that same year a new fleet, the MC Scows, was born with much help from Fred Wurster.  Steve Schaub was the first MC Skipper to sweep the Saturday and Sunday Series.

The Annual Memorial Day Invitational Regatta, instituted in 1973, was changed to a post-Labor Day event in 1978, becoming the Annual Fall Invitational Regatta.  Through the years this invitational brought out the very best of the membership; cooks, judges, registrars, trash collectors, radio technicians, scorekeepers, beer bearers, bartenders, T-shirt vendors, ticket takers, fork-lift drivers, and traffic directors.  Accordingly, the Yacht Club accepted an invitation from the newly formed National C Scow Sailing Association (NCSSA) to host its championship Regatta in September of 1982.  This was a five-day marathon event that tested every conceivable organizational skill of the club - and found none wanting.  More shells were used in those five days for countless recalls than were used by the fleet for the entire summer, but the MYC Judges and Race Committee members never missed a flag or gun, a truly incredible performance.  Joe Schaub IV finished seventh in this national event.  Two years later the club hosted the 1983 ILYA Eastern Regional, in which Joe Schaub IV and Steve Speer finished third and seventh respectively.

MYC has hosted the Championship Regatta of NCSSA more times than any other yacht club - 1982, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2011.   In 2004, MYC hosted the MC Scow Nationals.  In addition to these Regattas, MYC hosted the ILYA Regatta in 1983 and 1989.  By the mid-1980’s, the Maxinkuckee Yacht Club had 450 individual members, combined fleets numbering 62 registered sailboats, and nationally ranked sailors. 

The 1990s continued many traditions and brought about a few changes.  In 1997, dues were increased, and MYC became a tax-exempt organization.  In 1997 and 1998, the Commodore’s Party that was held at the beginning of the new season was moved to the end of the season.  The club held their annual meeting along with Sailor Award Ceremonies during the August MYC Party. 

The year 2002 marked the inaugural year for the Ladies’ Sailing School, which was Gene Benedict’s brainstorm.  The first Sunfish Regatta, hosted by John and Carol Zeglis and open to everyone on the lake, was held the last Saturday of July and was enjoyed by about 30 entrants.  The races were followed by a picnic on the Zeglis’s lawn.  The Zeglises continued to host this event until 2012, when it was moved to the Culver Beach Lodge.  In 2005, dues were raised minimally for the first time since 1997.  Adult memberships were increased by $5.00 so that adults were paying $50.00 annually and family memberships became $125.00.  The junior fleet continued to grow and two Optimists and a Sunfish were added to the inventory used by the youngsters. In 2006, Sunfish sailors organized and raced on Sunday afternoons.

In 2014, the sailing schedule was reorganized.  Instead of having Saturday I, Saturday II, and Sunday Series, the format was changed to a Spring, Championship, and Fall Series in order to promote increased participation.  Also that same year, a new event was added to the social calendar in August.  MYC hosted a party with our golfing neighbors at the Maxinkuckee Country Club.  In 2015, Adventure Sailing, a new program to train young sailors, was held at the town beach.  This was a change, since youth had gathered for many years at the Campbell/Thews pier for Junior Fleet.  MYC purchased ten O’pen Bics for youth to sail.  A four-day Adventure Sailing camp was also established.  In 2018, MYC teamed up with the Boy Scouts of America to establish a local Sea Scout unit.

© Maxinkuckee Yacht Club, Culver Indiana
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software