|Pillsbury Award - Vincent Porter
For the second time in the 120 years of ILYA history, one individual has won the ILYA E and A championships in the same year. That individual, Vincent Porter, was the only prior skipper with that distinction. The 61-boat ILYA E Championship has Harry Melges, Brian Porter, Kevin Jewett/Jim Campbell and other names of distinction in the fleet. The A championship boasts the same depth of strength. National champions abound in the fleet. Vincent Porter with a young crew topped both fleets this year, a true historic feat. With this accomplishment, Vincent Porter of Lake Geneva was awarded the ILYA Pillsbury Award for Sailor of the Year. Shown above (courtesy of Larry Kmiecik with Vincent's image superimposed) are Jim Smith, who accepted the award for Vincent (who was at the altar during the presentation) and David Porter, no relation, ILYA Commodore.
Jim Smith, retired executive secretary of the ILYA, could not resist poking fun at Vincent's written acceptance speech, noting the absence of a page one recognizing Jim's daughter who at 15 must have had a significant influence on Vincent as his wiser, older crew. Vincent, upon hearing of his obvious omission from his youth, promptly sent this photo which was shown at his rehearsal dinner:
Vincent's prepared acceptance follows:
Thank you, Jim, for reading this for me. As you speak, I'm probably at the altar getting married, whihc is one of the few things that would keep me from accepting this myself.
I'd first like to say that I'l honored to receive this prestigious award by the ILYA. It means a lot to me, my crew and ahe rest of my family. The Pillsbury Trophy is such a cool part of the ILYA's history, and I have had extraordinary luck to be one of the names engraved on it.
This year's Inland was an incredible experience, made possible only because of the crews I had on both the A Scow and E Scow: Christian Spencer, Chris "Junior" Impens, Kyle Navin, Greg Gifford, Ryan Fitzgerald, Coye Harrett and my brother Clifford Porter. They are the embodiment of what it means to be great teammates, and I cannot thank each of them enough. It was a rewarding feeling to know how much hard work we've put in over the past few years, and see it come to fruition with such amazing results. So many little things have to go right to win in those fleets. So, it's nice to celebrate when things go your way and recognize how fortunate we were to have that level of success.
Lastly, I just want to thank the ILYA and its members for their continued support of youth sailing. One of my greatest joys is seeing younger kids who love sailing - Kyle Navin and Christian Spencer being two of them. I remember how much I enjoyed racing as a kid, and realize how much fun the sport has provided me since. I hope the ILYA's commitment to Optis, X-boats, and other youth racing can keep inspiring the next generation of sailors as it did with me.
Have a great night and congratulations to all the other recipients.
Member of the Year - Craig Parker, Cedar Lake, IN
The ILYA proudly recognized Craig Parker for his longstanding support of the organization. He is a humble, behind the scenes force who shuns praise. His speech for the award was entirely about those who assisted him for three years to run the ILYA Cantina where sailors received fast, value-packed, scrumptious food. Geneva's double racing sessions necessitated efficient use of time for those sailors who sailed both morning and afternoon sessions. Craig's presentation of this idea was formulated several years ago on Mendota. He adapted it on a much larger scale to Geneva where he fed 3-400 folks a day. He added many, many volunteers. The ILYA saw past commodore Schmidt flipping hamburgers, Pewaukee's famous crew joined in and the Cedar boys were there in full force. To add profit to the three-year venture, Craig and Lake Geneva Country Meats donated all the supplies.
Craig is known for his annual Icebreaker C Spring event where the Cedar hospitality is widely known. It is the best home-cooked food and the most generous bar. Craig is shown here with his son, Matt and Commodore Porter.(Kmiecik photo)
Lake Geneva Named Club of the Year
Geneva Commodore Bill Barrett was honored for his club to be named Club of the Year. Pictured above is past commodore Rod Rieger who accepted the award for Lake Geneva. Rod accepted the award for a club that was not built when the ILYA approached them to host a three-year multi-fleet event. Then commodore Terry Blanchard became the chair along with a new addition in year three, Kristin Gannon, to showcase T Freytag's fundraising efforts to welcome us to the new Buddy Melges Sailing Center. It was a leap of faith and it was the sailors who benefited from a good-better-best set of regattas. It was a spectacular show each year with more than 400 volunteer slots filled by the most enthusiastic loyal Geneva members. Congratulations to Lake Geneva and thank you from the bottom of our hearts.