Lowisa 50! 50 years of sailing adventure on one of the most beautiful freshwater lakes in the world. Thats just amazing and it speaks to the unique nature of this race. Not many sporting events can claim such longevity, let alone a sailing event! Even the Superbowl is only 49 years old!
I started sailing this event at Lowisa 7 at the age of 14 and I still remember the excitement of embarking on this adventure into the great unknown that was Lake of the Woods. It was on a 14ʼ Windmill dinghy and it was truly a test of our nascent seamanship and camping skills. If not for the kindness of then strangers (now friends) Iʼm sure that we wouldnʼt have made it around the course. So now 43 years later I find myself with the distinct honour of being the Lowisa 50 Commodore. It sounds like an important job but really this event wouldnʼt happen without the contributions of many people in the Lowisa community, and theyʼve been working very hard to make this one of the best Lowisaʼs yet! Its with this same kidʼs sense of adventure that I look forward to Lowisa 50.
There have been several initiatives undertaken this year to help preserve and strengthen the regatta. The primary initiative this year led by Pat Kabris has been to establish Lowisa as a non-profit incorporation with the establishment of the first Board of Directors. The principal goals of this incorporation were to protect the volunteers who work to run the regatta each year, to provide consistency in the management of each regatta, and to maintain historical and financial records to ease the effort required by each years committee. The other initiative has been to redesign the website, due to be launched in the next week. Weʼve tried to preserve all the historical data of the old site but update it with a new look and add features such as online registration and store.
The Lowisa 50 Committee have decided this year to keep the race relatively close on the north end of the lake with the midweek layover day at Ash Rapids camp. The Clintonʼs have always been such great hosts in the past and are keen to host us for this Anniversary regatta. One of the reasons for keeping the race to the north is the expectation that the catamarans and scows will make a return, and weʼre really looking forward to that. An invitation has gone out to the Royal Lake of the Woods Yacht Clubʼs scow fleet to join us so thereʼs potential for a really great scow fleet. To make things logistically easy we may trophy the first 3 days separately for scows and perhaps “old guys” who donʼt feel they want to do the whole week.
And of course it wouldnʼt be Lowisa without all those other extra curricular activities. The Lake of the Woods Brewery will be hosting us on pre race Saturday for the Sailorʼs Social / Skippers Meeting. They will also be producing a beer in our own special anniversary can. These will be keepers although youʼre highly advised to drink the beer before putting it away for prosperity! Additionally they will be hosting the LOW Brewery Party on the Lake with a number of kegs of Sultana Gold, Thursday night at the wilderness anchorage.
This year weʼre planning a big mid week party at Ash Rapids Lodge with not only the traditional talent show but also a live band for those who want to stay up late! There will really be something for everyone including lots of kids events, the Mt. Gay Rum Party, the Betty Crocker Kitchen Contest, and tons more.
Lowisa is one of those events where there are so many stories that develop during the week, whether youʼre battling it out for one of the division trophies or finding your future wife, and everyone who goes on Lowisa will remember their own story for years to come.
So, thereʼs still lots more organizing and planning to do but I hope I have given you some idea of whatʼs happening. I really look forward to seeing a lot of boats to celebrate our anniversary year, including both first time Lowisa sailors and friends that havenʼt sailed Lowisa in a while. I hope youʼll all join us and establish or re-establish that sense of wonder gained from sailing (and racing) on beautiful Lake of the Woods.