Class Action: The 18' Interlake, one of the great regional classes in the USA
COLUMBUS, OH - Sailing photo below is courtesy of Interlake class stalwart Steve Nearing taken at the nearly 100-year old Leatherlips YC on the O'Shaughnessy Reservoir, a wide spot in the Scioto River northwest of Columbus. Nearly 1500 Interlakes have been built since the inception of the class in 1933 when the Sandusky Sailing Club commissioned
Francis Sweisguth (1882-1970) to design a small, lively trailerable centerboarder suitable for racing on Lake Erie. Mr Sweisguth also designed the Star which, of course, went on to international and Olympic fame; note the similarity of the Interlake's sail plan and hard-chines. The Interlake is primarily raced on the Great Lakes and in the small inland lakes of Ohio and Michigan – one of the few things folks from Ann Arbor and Columbus (Michigan and Ohio for that matter) agree on, given the intense interstate rivalry of their respective college football teams.
Coincidentally, 1317 is owned by Clark Chapin of Portage Yacht Club, your Ed.'s home club a few miles northwest of Ann Arbor, MI. Clark has been a leader in US SAILING and the Interlake Class for decades, a respected senior judge, and is an editorial contributor to SAILING ILLUSTRATED. Full disclosure – your Ed. has served as PRO for the Interlake Class National Championships half a dozen times over the past five decades, and spent many happy hours racing Interlakes, with and against Tom Ehman, Sr., who still campaigns his Interlake at age 84.
To conclude our little Class Action history lesson, do any of our Dear Readers know, without googling it, the genesis of the name Leatherlips YC? And what famous zoo is located just across the river from LYC?
P.S. Now that I think about it, as a freshman at UMich your Ed.'s first collegiate regatta was hosted by Leatherlips YC. Bruce Nelson, who grew up to be the noted yacht designer (some would argue with a part of that assertion), was our sophomore, and at times sophomoric, team captain. We were crushing the regatta and after the first day Bruce let the other teams in on our ostensible strategy – when beating up the far shore of the river "just tack on the elephant farts." More than a few believed him.