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Gotta regatta: camp sunshine, here they come

September 5, 2013
NAJ WIKOFF , Lake Placid News


The 43rd running of the Invitational Lake Placid Regatta held on the West Lake was a success, not something that looked likely at 6:30 a.m. as a heavy rain bespoke of another socked in day. By 10 o'clock the clouds lifted, the sun came out and, surprises of surprises, even some wind ruffled the surface. With it there went John "who me scull" Randall's opportunity to glide down the lake and slip past Roger Smith, a decade old rivalry that to some is anticipated with equal fervor as the annual Harvard-Yale games.

The big question through in all die-hard Regattaers is not who won, but who get's designated Commodore for the following season, aka being sprung with the surprise that they will be hosting next year's Regatta, a not small undertaking. This years race, hosted by Ned and Cree Scudder at their Camp Bullwinkle, and overseen by their children Shelby and Ford, Co-Commodores, was not easy on them or would be volunteers, spectators, and racers, as their camp had no road access. Everything came by boat, thus preplanning and careful allocation of resources was a must, and where to park one's boat a challenge.

Article Photos

Naj Wikoff/Lake Placid News
The 43rd running of the Lake Placid Invitational Regatta took place on Sunday, Sept. 1 despite the threat of rain and thunderstorms.

Good news for the Scudders is that this was by no means the first race held, there is a small battery of well trained people who have learned how to handle laying out the course, registration, mix the Clamato Marys, arrange food, and supervise the fleet. The origins of the race goes back to a few teenagers from the lake having observed the Idem one-class racing on St Regis, and its, shall we say, Downton Abby approach to decorum, service, refreshments and rules of conduct that have not changed much since it began in 1899. They decided to create a bit of a parody that featured Sunfishes as the single class of choice (Idems are hand-crafted wooden 32 foot gaff-rigged sailing sloop requiring a crew of five), and a more informal approach to beverages, the dress code, the trophy (an engraved silver cocktail shaker found in the trunk of a car), selection of course, and so on.

Perhaps reflecting the informal spirit of the Regatta's beginnings, and the creative people it attracts to its ranks, the initial 14 rules established during the tenure of long-serving and first Admiral Jay Higgins III, there has been an additional 14 Supplementary Rules tacked on, some of which I am sure people like Randall, Smith, George Love, and in all fairness, myself, along with several others, have inspired.

Thus there are other awards that are equally coveted.

"When we last raced, and won, what was it, Oscar D. Nohowel "Fat Chance" Award (for a sense of humor and spirit), I seem to recall tipping over and getting wet," said Margo Fish to me on race day.

"Us, tip over?" I said trying to think back.

"Margo, Naj! Together again. Gosh the last time you took all your clothes off, threw them in John Randall's dryer, and attended the closing ceremonies in towels. Can we expect anything like that for todays race?" said Joyce McLean bounding up.

"I hope not," said Margo, who had dressed for this race in more formal attire as I was sporting a pin striped shirt and a tie commemorating the Parade of Tall Ships from the 100th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty. "I knew I got wet and that it was a bit cold," this last said darting me a dark look.

"Joyce, I am so glad that you were able to remember because for some reason I was having trouble with the details," I said.

"Glad to help," said Joyce with a bit of a twinkle in her eye.

"Watch out, he has a camera and is taking notes," said Randall to his brother Jamie. "What you say may end up in the paper." Actually the greater danger these days is ending up on the website as the Regatta now has and where all manner of deeds and misdeeds could end up there for all to see and remember. (

The Regatta originators had no expectations that 43 years later it would still be going forth, as Ned Scudder one of the early progenitors certainly knows well.

"As you now, we were in college and having a very good time when we started the Regatta," said Ned Scudder, who with his wife Cree hosted the event, while their children Shelby and Ford served as co-commodores. "Our parents decided that they wanted to join in the fun and that quadrupled the size of the event and then we became them. It is not the race that has changed, just our perspective."

This year though the Nohowel Award went to Callie and Jamie Rhoades, looking to all appearances that they had come to attend the Daytona 500. Margo won for oldest participant while Meg Ireland and Amy Newlan won the coveted award for finish dead last, with the operative word being finishing i.e. going through the finish line and not giving up. Past winners Greg and Heidi Reiss took second, and Fred and Hayley Jubitz won the race. The big winner, not sure if she would describe it as such, is Laura Walden Dugan, who will be next years Commodore, Camp Sunshine, here they come.



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