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Introduction to Leigh Lyon Articles, by Mike Miller

The Yacht Yak ran a series of historical articles throughout the year, which were written by Leigh Lyon in 1981, at the request of Kurt Hohman, our Commodore at the time. Leigh was a great storyteller, who had developed into the "club historian," because of his interest and passion for the Coos Bay Yacht Club. As you enjoy his stories, don't forget that his "forty years ago" are now actually 60 years ago!

Leigh always had that twinkle in his eye whenever he talked about the club and sailing. Although he credits his good friend Carl Damm for organizing the club on the bay in the late 1930's, I suspect that Leigh had just as much to do with it! Leigh was our Commodore in 1941, following Carl as our first Commodore. When the Geary 18 (or "Flattie") became the sailboat of choice in the club during the early 1950's, Leigh was the one to beat! Leigh won the club championship four times between 1954 and 1962. It was he and present member Edsil Hodge, another charter member, who were battling it out on race day every week. Edsil won the club championship four years in a row, although he did have to share it with Leigh in 1960. Then Leigh came back and won it the next two years, before Leo Fisk caught fire, and won it five times off and on through 1968 .... great sailors indeed!!!

Although Leigh was not the organizer of the original Junior Sailing School in 1984, it was he who came to me with the idea the year prior. He felt that the school should be one of the focal points of our club's future. And, so it is! After the first two years of using donated El Toros in the school, those little wooden boats got beat up pretty bad. Mike Ramsby and I decided we needed to find a new fiberglass boat more suitable. We found it in the brand new Holder Hawk made by Hobie Cat, at the Seattle Boat Show in January of 1986. On our return, we contacted the Hobie dealer in Eugene. They told us they didn't stock them, but would give us a great deal on an order of five or more boats. Five of us club members went together, made the order, and so, here we are today! I'll never forget Leigh's excitement when we got the phone call that the Holders awaited us in Eugene. With the sailing school quickly approaching, the trip had to be made "as soon as possible." So since Mike Ramsby and I were working during the week, Leigh volunteered to make the trip with his pickup...trouble was, five boats, each in big cardboard crates, wouldn't fit in one pickup, so Carol borrowed Mike's big crew cab, picked up her mom for the ride, and off they all went! What a sight they were on their return, with the big cardboard crated boats stacked and strapped six or seven feet high...talk about your "grapes of wrath!" Leigh looked like a little kid, he was so excited! I never got tired of hearing Leigh tell his stories, and give his opinions and suggestions about the future direction of the Coos Bay Yacht Club. He impressed me dearly, and although he has been gone for many years now, I still feel his spirit every race day! Thanks Leigh!

There are a series of six releases in PDF form. These articles are worth the time to read. If you do not already have Adobe Acrobat Reader, you will need to download it.
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