THE 1968 REBEL NATIONALS

A REMEMBERANCE FROM 32 YEARS AGO

BY JACK BARTLETT

BACK IN THE MID SIXTIES THE REBEL FLEET OF THE HURON PORTAGE YACHT CLUB, LOCATED ON PORTAGE LAKE NEAR ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN NUMBERED 26 BOATS THAT ACTUALLY RACED EVERY WEEK. THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS WERE THE HIGHLIGHT OF THE YEAR WITH 12 TO 15 OF THE FLEET JOURNEYING TO SUCH FAR OFF PLACES AS DALLAS, DEEP CREEK, CARBONDALE AND SPRINGFIELD. WE KNEW FULL WELL THAT IT WAS OUR DUTY TO PLAY THE HOST, BUT HOW COULD WE DO A FIRST CLASS JOB ON OUR 640 ACRE LAKE?

I DON'T KNOW HOW WE CAME TO EVEN THINK OF DOING THE REGATTA AT ANOTHER SITE, THE IDEA JUST SEEMED TO COME TOGETHER FROM TALKING ABOUT IT, WITH INPUT COMING FROM MANY SECTORS OF THE CLUB. OUR FOUNDING COMMODORE, TOM LOTT HAD ACCESS TO THE FAMILY COTTAGE AT GLEN LAKE IN NORTHERN MICHIGAN, WHICH ACCORDING TO THE ENCYCLOPEDIA IS THE 7TH MOST BEAUTIFUL LAKE IN THE WORLD. NOW THAT'S A PRETTY FAR STRETCH, BUT OF THOSE THAT CAME TO TH E REGATTA, MANY AGREE. COMMODORE LOTT HAD ANOTHER BIT OF INFORMATION IN THAT HIS FAMILY COTTAGE ALSO HAD A CHRIS-CRAFT INBOARD, AVAILABLE FOR WHATEVER DUTY WAS NEEDED.

IN THE SPRING OF 1967 TOM EHMAN AND I DROVE UP TO GLEN LAKE TO LOOK THINGS OVER, IT WAS A 300 MILE TRIP. THE FIRST THING WAS TO FIND A HEADQUARTERS. THE GLEN LAKE YACHT CLUB WAS ON OUR LIST. IT CONSISTED OF A FRAME BUILDING ABOUT SO BY 40 WITH BATH ROOMS AND A KITCHEN OFF OF THE MAIN ROOM WHICH HAD A NICE WOODEN FLOOR, FOR MEASURING SAILS, OF COURSE. IT SAT ON A SAND DUNE ABOUT 40 STEPS ABOVE A TAPERING SAND BEACH. A LONG DOCK SAT IN WINTER STORAGE. WITH THAT TURQUOISE WATER IT WAS A SETTING MADE IN HEAVEN. WE HAD THE NAME OF A LOCAL PERSON AND GAVE HIM A CALL AS TO IF WE COULD RENT THE CLUB HOUSE FOR A WEEK. IT WASN'T LONG BEFORE WE GOT THE OK. AS IS WHERE IS, FIFTY BUCKS BUT WE HAD TO CLEAN IT.

THE LOCAL DEALER HAD A MARINA ABOUT 400 YARDS UP THE BEACH. HE WAS PLEASED TO LET US WEIGH THE BOATS AND LAUNCH THERE. HE ALSO HAD AN AQUATIC POST HOLE DIGGER, WHICH BLEW A HOLE IN THE SAND SO THAT A MOORING PIPE COULD BE PUT IN PLACE. (IT TURNED OUT HIS REBEL WAS 100 POUNDS LIGHT. THAT WAS SOLVED BY GETTING A VERY LONG PIECE OF CHAIN AND TYING IT INTO THE FLOOR BOARDS.)

NOW WE NEEDED A PLACE TO SERVE TWO BIG DINNER MEETINGS, THE ANNUAL MEETING AND THE VICTORY BANQUET AND SOMEBODY TO PROVIDE US WITH BOX LUNCHES. LOCAL FOLKS TOLD US ABOUT A NEW SKI RESORT THAT HAD JUST OPENED CALLED SUGAR LOAF. THEY WERE VERY GLAD TO SEE US AS SUMMER BUSINESS AT A SK I LODGE IS A GIFT FROM HEAVEN. THEY COULD HOLD 325 AND PROVIDE UNLIMITED BOX LUNCHES. IT WAS A GOOD THING AS WE TAXED THEIR CAPACITY TO THE BREAKING POINT. THE LOCAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE GAVE US LOTS OF RENTAL INFO, AND WE RESERVED SEVERAL BLOCKS OF ROOMS AND COTTAGES JUST ON SPEC.

WITH ALL THE PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS LINED UP WE WERE ALL SET, EXCEPT FOR A FEW MINOR DETAILS LIKE GETTING ENOUGH PEOPLE TO COVER WEIGH IN, SAIL MEASURING, LAUNCHING, MOORING MAYBE SO BOATS PLUS A RACE COMMITTEE AND JUDGES COMMITTEE AND SAFETY BOATS TOO. WE WORKED ON ALL THAT DURING THE SUMMER OF 67 SO THAT WE WOULD HAVE A SOLID BID TO BE CONSIDERED AT THE ANNUAL MEETING, WHERE THIS WEIRD PLAN TO HOLD A REGATTA 300 MILES FROM OUR HOME CLUB WOULD BE PRESENTED AND VOTED UPON. THE GATH ERING AT THE ANNUAL MEETING WAS DELIGHTED AND ACCEPTED THE BID. NOW ALL WE HAD TO DO WAS PRODUCE.

TOM WAS IN CHARGE OF THE RACING. THE COMMITTEES AND BOATS TO PUT THEM ON, THE MARKS, THE RACE PROGRAM, COMMUNICATIONS AND THE OTHER STUFF, LIKE MOORINGS FOR ALL THE VISITING BOATS. MY JOB WAS FEEDING AND FOSTERING THE PARTICIPANTS AND THE HUGE NUMBER OF CLUB PERSONNEL THAT CAME ALONG TO HELP OUT, ORGANIZING THE "PROTEST HEARINGS" AND MAKING SURE EVERYBODY WAS OUT OF THE HARBOR SO THE RACES COULD START. THAT WAS THE PLAN, BUT IT TOOK AN ENTIRE CLUB TO PULL IT OFF
EVERY PIECE OF EQUIPMENT HAD TO BE TRANSPORTED TO GLEN LAKE. WE HAD ABOUT 15 ENTRIES PLUS OTHER FLEET MEMBERS WHO CAME TO HELP OUT. ALL THE OTHER FLEETS CONTRIBUTED EITHER PERSONNEL OR COMMITTEE BOATS. EVERYBODY GOING NORTH WAS ASSIGNED TWO 4 FOOT STEEL PIPES WITH RING BOLTS ON ONE END. 800 FEET OF MOORING LINE, ALL THE MARKS AND ANCHORS, SIGNAL FLAGS AND THE SHOT GUN. IT ALL WAS ASSIGNED. RADIO COMMUNICATION WAS THROUGH A CENTRAL STUDIO IN EHMANS CAR UP ON THE BLUFF FROM WHICH WE COULD REACH ALL OF THE FAR FLUNG JUDGES AND SAFETY BOATS AND THE RACE COMMITTEE. OF COURSE WE ALSO HAD TO CARRY THE OFFICIAL SCALES AND THE 700 POUNDS OF CHECK WEIGHTS. WE ALSO HAD SOME PRETTY BIG BOXES FILLED WITH THE KEEP-SAK ES FOR THE PARTICIPANTS. SWEAT SHIRTS WITH A MAP OF MICHIGAN SHOWING GLEN LAKE, ENOUGH FOR EVERYBODY AND WHERE THERE A LOT OF EVERYBODY'S. WE TRAILERED UP THE COMMITTEE BOAT AND 4 OTHER MOTOR BOATS AND USED THE CHRIS-CRAFT TOO.

IT MUST HAVE BEEN THE ROMANCE OF THE WHOLE THING BECAUSE 72 BOATS REGISTERED. IT WAS TO BE THE LARGEST REGATTA OF ALL TIME. THE STARTING LINE WAS ALMOST HALF A MILE LONG. ANCHORING AND GETTING THE LINE IN THE RIGHT PLACE WAS A REAL JOB AS THE LAKE WAS OVE R 100 FEET DEEP. EVERTTHING WE NT LIKE CLOCK WORK. WELL ALMOST. WE LOST ONE OF THE HERNDON PAIR OF BOATS AS LEW FELL OUT OF AN UPPER BUNK CRACKING A VERTEBRAE. OVER S0 PEOPLE FROM HPYC WERE THERE THAT WEEK, WORKING LIKE CRAZY. VERN HUTTON BROUGHT ALONG A KIDS PLASTIC BOAT WHICH WE FILL ED WITH ICE, BEER AND COKE. SOMEHOW EVERYTHING WORKED. THERE WERE TWO MAJOR UNFORESEEN PROBLEMS BOTH ON THE "SOCIAL SIDE OF THE ORGANIZATION. IN ORDER OF IMPORTANCE THEY WERE TOILET\tab PAPER AND GARBAGE. THE FIRST IS UNDERSTANDABLE BUT THE TRASH BUILT UP I NTO A PILE OF FORMER BOX LUNCHES SOME 25 FEET HIGH. FROM CHAIRMAN TO TRASH MAN IN THE WINK OF AN EYE.

WE FED OVER 300 AT THE ANNUAL MEETING. JUST BECAUSE WE DIDN'T HAVE ANYTHING ELSE TO DO, THE URIN SHORTAGE PLAYERS PUT ON AN ORIGINAL MUSICAL ENTITLED, RAY GREENE, THE BOY BOATBUILDER. (RAY GREENE BUILT BOATS AS A ] BOY AT GLEN LAKE. (PLAYED BY ME, HE OCCUPIED THE TOY BOAT DURING THE SHOW.)- . WE HAD PROGRAMS, SOLD PEANUTS IN THE CROWD AND REALLY HAMMED IT UP. JACK POINTER WAS ONE OF THE STARS, PLAYING LUD FROMME HE SANG "IF I WAS THE CHAMPION.

THE RACING WAS EXCELLENT. WITH UNLIMITED WATER TO WORK WITH THE RACE COMMITTEE USED A VARIETY OF COURSES SUGGESTED BY NAYRU AND JUST ABOUT EVERY KIND OF WEATHER WAS ENCOUNTERED WITH THE LAST RACE SAILED IN A BLUSTERY MISTY SETTING THAT ALMOST SHUFFLED THE LEADERS. GEORGE CARR WON THE CHAMPIONSHIP WITH LUD FROMME SECOND. BETTY MAE AND I GOT CALLED BACK IN THE SECOND RACE WHICH HURT BUT A WIN IN THE THIRD PUT US IN THIRD AT THE FINISH. AFTER ALL OF THAT WORK AND WORRY, TO LOOK BACK AT 70 BOATS AS WE TOOK THE GUN WAS THE THRILL OF A LIFE TIME. BUT IT WASN'T OVER YET.

DURING THE REGATTA WE INTRODUCED THE CARD SYSTEM AS A SCORE BOARD. CUP HOOKS ARRANGED IN ROWS FOR CARDS ABOUT 4X5 INCHES WITH THE 5 RACES IN VERTICAL ORDER SHOW PLACE, POINTS, AND RUNNING TOTAL. THE CARDS WERE MOVED AFTER BEING SCORED ON RE-HUNG NEATLY SHOWING THE STANDINGS. THIS SYSTEM CAME FROM THE ST. PETERSBURG YACHT CLUB WHICH TO THIS DAY GIVES A PRIZE FOR THE BEST ORGANIZED REGATTAS AROUND THE COUNTRY. THIS REGATTA TOOK THIRD IN THEIR CONTEST FOR 1968.

IN THE JUNIOR NATIONALS, CHRIS FROMME BESTED TOMMY EHMAN Jr.!!!! THE CROWD FOR THE VICTORY BANQUET HAD SOARED TO 326 BUT EVERYBODY GOT FED. THE NEXT DAY IT WAS BACK TO THE CLUB TO SWEEP THE FLOOR ONE MORE TIME.