Lake Pend Oreille Yacht Club (LPOYC) was established in 1977 by Keith Sheckler and others to promote sailing in Sandpoint, Idaho.The club’s active racing program attracted sailors from all around the Inland Northwest. As its membership grew, its demographics shifted south, as more and more of its members were from Coeur d’Alene and Spokane. Racing at the south end of the lake grew and eventually the club migrated south too, from Sandpoint to Bayview. To fill the void in the north, Keith Sheckler spearheaded the creation of the Sandpoint Sailing Association (SSA) which cooperates with LPOYC to provide many racing and cruising opportunities on Lake Pend Oreille.
LPOYC Early History
by Keith Sheckler
In the spring of 1976, local sailing enthusiast Keith Sheckler began Windbag Marina with the idea of promoting the sport locally. During that summer, several new sailors came into the sport. Through the marina, he also established contact with a group of sailors from Hope, consisting of locals Dan Deshon and Dick and Pat Farwell, and their friends from Libby: Jack and Arlene Ninniman, Jack Babcock, Mick Mills, and Wadd McNutt. By the end of the summer, Keith and Bill Greenwood set about organizing a regatta. They enlisted the aid of Dick Farwell. Dick was a local math teacher and had extensive Sunfish racing experience in the Midwest. With the Hope contingent and the local new sailors, the regatta had 27 boats!
During the following winter, this group formed the Lake Pend Oreille Yacht Club. Officers were: Bill Greenwood, Commodore; Gordon Warrington, Vice Commodore; Dick Farwell, Rear Commodore; Anne Morris, Secretary-Treasurer. Members to the best of my recollection were: Bill and Sylvia Greenwood, Dan Deshon, Leann Deshon, Gordon Warrington, Scott Hadley, Frank Boss, Anne and Rene Morris, Keith Sheckler, Teree Sheckler, Dick and Pat Farwell, Gary and Carol Pietsch with Chris, Jaye, and Wes, Jack and Arlene Ninniman, Jack Babcock, Mick Mills, Wadd McNutt, Chuck Brewster, Dave and Sandy Ebbett, Steve Leake, Bruce and Debbie Johnson, Mike and Maryann Boseth, Larry Clark, Terry and Lynn Jensen. Dick Farwell was the only one with any racing experience, so he spent that winter, at each meeting presenting rules and race management seminars for the club members. Those were the days!
In the summer of 77, the club held about 3 or 4 buoy races in front of the City Beach. That fall, the second board was elected: Dan Deshon, Commodore; Chuck Brewster, Vice Commodore; Frank Boss, Rear Commodore; and Anne Morris again, Secretary-Treasurer. Dan Deshon, with a Cal 3-30, preferred distance racing where he could get up a good head of steam. So- the Memorial Day Race was born! It went from Hope to Bayview. Dan sought the aid of Gary MacDonald, who enlisted a number of Bayview boats for that first Memorial Day race in 78. The race had huge wind and waves (on the nose), and was won by- Dan Deshon! That summer, there were again 3 or 4 buoy races, and a pair of new faces appeared on the scene. Ray and Jean Kyer! They had come from Breckenridge, and were huge Bronco fans. They had an orange SJ21 named ORANGE CRUSH. They soon enlisted Frank Boss as crew and became the scourge of the lake! That crew and the orange tradition continued into their Ranger 8.5 (and they were still scourge of the lake).
In the fall of 78, new officers elected were: Ray Kyer, Commodore; Gary Pietsch, Vice Commodore; Keith Sheckler, Rear Commodore; and Anne Morris again, Secretary-Treasurer. Gary MacDonald in Bayview, meanwhile, had been running some races such as The Windspeed Plus Classic and The Great Equalizer with really good turnout! The club approached Gary about combining forces for a common purpose. There had been several Bayview boats racing at both ends of the lake: Lawrence Killingsworth, Cal and Myra Cathcart, Craig Cosby, Bob Klassen, Steve Dowling, Ritch Albert, and the Landwehr brothers. They and Gary all joined the club and Garys races became part of the clubs race agenda, with some new races added in Bayview.
By 1980, the club had grown considerably, and Rear Commodore was given two assistants: South End Steward and North end Steward, who handled racing at their respective ends. It was also, about this time that some restructuring came about. Considering water temperature and lake level, it was decided to focus racing in the spring in Bayview, summer in Sandpoint, and Fall again in Bayview.
To fit that in, The Memorial Day Race was changed to Bayview to Sandpoint. A new race was added: Labor Day- Sandpoint to Bayview. This way Boats could race in Bayview in the spring, Race to Sandpoint Memorial Day, Race in Sandpoint in the summer, Race to Bayview Labor Day, and then race in Bayview in the fall. Whew! As a lot of the Sandpoint people were Laser sailors, this worked for them. But, the people with bigger boats were not to into arranging moorage at the opposite end of the lake when they already had moorage at their homeport. So that concept never seemed to take off. There were a group of Laser sailors: Marc and Joyce DeLaVergne, Frank Boss, Keith Sheckler, Chris Pietsch, Wes Pietsch, Janet Coles, Dave Cox, Ralf Butler, John Osterbeck, Deb Norum, Teree Sheckler, Rob Berube, and the Botterini family that continued racing in Sandpoint until the mid 80s. But racing for bigger boats seemed to lack impetus. Racing in Bayview thrived during this time with 30 to 40 boats common.