At the annual banquet of LOWISA 10 we honoured several people who have seen instrumental in making LOWISA what it is.
First there were the COMMODORES, and each of them were presented with a ship’s barometer in the shape of a ship’s helm. The helm is symbolic for our Commodores for it is they who have steered the course these past ten years. Honoured on Saturday, August 9th, 1975 were:
Clyde Ryberg 1965
Bill Marr 1957
Bill Holt 1957
John Olin 1968
Allan Rutherford 1969
Jack Culley 1970
George Kent 1971
Ralph Blattner 1972
Ian McDonald 1973
Bill Sorem 1974
Clarke Popham 1975
Three sailors have participated in all ten regattas and they were honoured as BUILDERS of the LOWISA tradition. We presented a book, The Sailor’s World, by Arthur Beiser to these three: Al Rutherford, Rex Wood and Bill Jagger.
It is difficult for an association that is ten years old and that has its functions and members so widely dispersed tosingle out exceptional contributors. Our founders are the commodores, the organizers, the workers and the supporters of LOWISA who have given so much these past ten years. Our first commodore, Clyde Ryberg, was selected as the one who could best represent our founders,
so at the annual banquet a presentation of a plaque was made to Mr. Ryberg.
The plaque, a bronze print of our LOWISA 10 brochure, carried this inscription:
“On behalf of the thousands of
men, women and children who
know THE THRILL OF LOWISA,
“Gratefully presented to Mr. Ryberg
on the tenth anniversary of LOWISA
August 9th, 1975
by the sailors of LOWISA 10”
The presentation was accepted by his son, Paul, who read the following letter from Clyde Ryberg.
CLYDE N. RYBERG
Country Club Park
Wickenburg, Arizona 85358
The Commodore — and all other LOWISA’s and friends
Lake of the Woods Sailing Regatta
Lake of the Woods
United States and Canada
Greetings — and regrets.
July 24, 1975
Greetings — and regrets.
So often in life we miss the brass ring of the carousel by such small margins. Had I but known of your invitation throe weeks earlier, I would be with you. However, the Fates decree otherwise and I remain in a land where a schooner is for beer and a boat is for gravy. C’est la vie – mais je suis triste.
It was eleven years ago that my wife and I and two of our children sailed around Lake of the Woods in an ancient E–boat, towing a canoe with our tents and gear. It was a trip never to be forgotten — and the results of that trip are obvious from your presence here. We have the tremendous satisfaction of having brought something into being which has lasted, which has given pleasure to many other persons. This is a reward not often granted to people, and we feel much gratification because of it.
But there is someone else who made this international regatta possible, and without him it could not have come into being. I bring to your memory Henry T. McKnight.
McKnight was a Minnesota state senator when I first met him. He asked to go canoeing with me down the Minnesota River, and from that time until his death in December, 1972, we were a team.
His authorship of the Minnesota Natural Resources Bill — and its passage, his chairmanship of the Quetico-Superior Foundation, the seminar at Green Hall at the University of Minnesota — all were signpoints along the way to Lake of the Woods.
Many of you will remember “Doc” Selke, Commissioner of Conservation for Minnesota, and the hearings which were held regarding the Superior National Forest and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Out of these came the notion that northern Minnesota and southern Canada were of necessity jointly involved in the use and preservation of an area unique in all the world.
Henry McKnight had an obsession that areas like this should be both used and preserved as a habitat for people in which they could recharge their enthusiasm for life — while accepting the responsibilities that go with such use.
All my travels and expenses during the year it took to organize the first LOWISA were paid by McKnight, and he freely used his political and personal position to open doors and accomplish what was needed to bring the regatta into being.
Enclosed with this letter, for the use of your historian, are:
1) the first proposal to make a survey of Lake of the Woods for, an International sailing regatta
2) an article in the, Minnesota Volunteer, regarding that survey trip
3) a final report to Henry T. McKnight after the first regatta.
During the course of the first two regattas, another person also became very important in the development of this international activity. This was Bill Marr of Marr’s Marina, in Kenora. He, too, has gone to his last anchorage. I will leave his honors to his Canadian friends, who knew him better than I.
May I suggest a moment of silent recognition for these two marvelous men who gave so much — and received little more than the satisfaction of doing what they felt to be right. May they rest in peace.
* * * * * please take a moment * * * * *
I am certain that the international friendships developed during the course of the regattas has been a boon to both Canada and the United States, and a great personal satisfaction to all of us. I hope the LOWISA’s continue for many, many years.
Remember the film of the first regatta, showing the big storm and its aftermath? The Canadian Broadcasting Company took it, and it was great. I would have sent it along for this meeting, but I don’t have it any more. Someone borrowed it from me — I don’t remember who — and forgot to return it.
For your information, one of the first winners, George Hachmeister, great E-boat sailer, now lives In Venice, Florida, building boats there. Shirley and I visited him and his family a few months ago.
Bill Holt, first American chairman, still plays the ukelele and sings bawdy songs, but in Lakeland, Florida, instead of Baudette. When we saw him and his lovely wife Louise, they were well and happy, but still had a pang or two of nostalgia for LOWISA.
If any of you come through Wickenburg, Arizona, do stop in at Country Club Park for a visit. We’d like to hear all about the regatta.
Meanwhile, thank you so very much for your Invitation. Perhaps I can make it another year.
Clyde N. Ryberg
Past Commodore 1966-67
P.S. I would like to remain a member of LOWISA. Enclosed is $5 for dues; let me know if that’s not enough.