Twin Lakes Sailing Association
Celebrates 25 years

Hiram Walker, Bill Gibb, Dale & Bobbie Johnson and Ted Bodensteiner loved to sail. In 1974 they dreamed of starting a sailing club on Twin Lakes, Iowa, and so that year they purchased 40 Sunfish sailboats to sell to their friends and neighbors. They were the number one Sunfish distributor in the world in 1974 as every one of those original boats were sold for cost. Most of those original boats are still on the Twin Lakes, having changed hands over the years. In the meantime they were also busy buying racing buoys and starting guns and learning how to set up races and teaching the new sailors racing rules.

The first documented sailing race of the Twin Lakes Sailing Association (TLSA) was held on May 26, 1975. The race started at 10:00 am with another race to follow. They broke for lunch, then had two more races. That first year they raced every weekend between Memorial Day and Labor Day and also had special Regattas on Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day. They had 40 races scheduled. The original 1975 membership listed 40 members, including 9 that are still members in the year 2000. They are Bill Brokaw, Dick Brokaw, Jim Humes, Jim Kramer, Jim Murphy, Bruce Shimkat, Leonard Woodruff, Roger Swanson, and James Van Gundy.

At its inception in 1975, the TLSA had two classes of sailboats-the Sunfish and the Open Class. The final results for that year show 10 open class positions and 18 Sunfish positions. The Open Class was handicapped per the United States Yacht Racing Union guidebook and each boat racing was individually timed and then their placement in the race was calculated by using the USYRU handicap book. This allowed any type of boat to race. The most common of these boats was the Starcraft Upstart, Sweet 16 and the Force Five. In 1978 the Open Class split and became the Sweet 16 class and the Force 5 class. The force 5 class was discontinued in 1986.

A Junior Sailing group was started also in 1975 with Tracy Walker serving as the first commodore. This large group of teenage "lake kids" had fun raising money for their organization by selling refreshments to the sailors between races, kidnapping the commodore and whatever means they could dream up. The Juniors have their own Cup races and traveling trophy.

The Commodore's Cup, named for the TLSA leader, the Commodore, has been the most coveted prize of the Sailing Association for all of these 25 years. The Commodore's Cup winner is determined by scoring each race of the Cup competition. First place gets 3/4 of a point, second place gets 2, third gets 3, etc. The sailor with the fewest number of points at the end of the season wins the Cup. All of the winner's names are engraved on plaques attached to large traveling trophies.

One sailor, Roger Swanson, has dominated the Commodores Cup races over the lifetime of the Twin Lakes Sailing Association. He has won a Commodores Cup 18 of the TLSA's 25 years, winning multiple Cups in each of the sailboat classes from Sunfish to Force Five to Sweet 16. The story that is told is that the first time he ever raced a sailboat he thought he must be going the wrong way because all the other boats were so far behind. Besides being the consummate sailor, Roger is one hell of a bowler.

Now races are held on seven summer Sundays, with the Commodores Cup consisting of 14 races. In addition to the Cup races, the TLSA has had special Regatta competition races over the years. These Regattas are one day championship races that award prizes to the day's winners. The most long standing of these races is the Budweiser Regatta which will have its 22nd annual race in 2000.

The fun and camaraderie of the group evolved into the tradition of parties after the races called "afterglows." The first documented afterglow party was in 1976 at the home of Perry and Marj Butterworth. This tradition has brought in many non-sailors who enjoy the fun. Currently the Twin Lakes Sailing Association has more than 100 members who help support one of Twin Lakes treasures --

the Twin Lakes Sailing Association.

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