Talk of the Town - August 2018
- story by Lisa Monti
The 98th annual Sir Thomas Lipton Challenge will be hosted by the Bay-Waveland Yacht Club Sept. 1-2. Organizers expect about 1,000 people over Labor Day weekend to watch yacht clubs compete in a high-performance sport boat new to the historic race.
“This will be the first year for the Viper 640, so there is going to be a lot more interest,” said Eugene Schmitt, Vice Commodore of the Bay-Waveland Yacht Club and 2018 Lipton Regatta chair.
The Gulf Yachting Association, which consists of more than 30 yacht clubs from Texas to Florida, has adopted only two other classes of boats since 1920.
The Fish Class sloop was adopted for the first Lipton Challenge. From 1969 to 2017, the Flying Scot was the official class.
Talk of the Town
The New Viper 640 in Action
The BWYC was reorganized in 1921 as the Bay-Waveland Yacht and Athletic Club. The club was admitted to the Gulf Yachting Association in 1922, according to the club’s website.
Schmitt said eight Bay-Waveland members have served as commodore of the Gulf Yachting Association: John Rawlings (1904), Eaton Bowers (1909), J. Alvin Weinfurter (1957), Henry Chapman (1967), Harry Chapman (1982), Basil Kennedy (1992), Walter Chamberlain (2002) and Judy Reeves (2009).
“The Bay-Waveland Yacht Club is steeped in history with the Lipton Cup,” Schmitt said. “We’ve won it 24 times in its 98-year history.”
The previous year’s winner generally hosts the regatta on their home waters every year. Last year’s host Pass Christian Yacht Club tied with Bay-Waveland in total points at the end of the regatta, but Bay-Waveland lost the tie-breaker. The Lipton rules prevent a club from hosting in consecutive years. “So we’re hosting it as runner-up,” Schmitt said.
The winner gets the perpetual trophy to display in the club for a year. “Our hope is we will bring it over from the Pass to the Bay and place it right at the top of the stairs for the next year,” Schmitt said.