Over 100 boats in four classes will sail on Lake Winnebago in the four-day Inland Lake Yachting Association's Championship Regatta, Oshkosh Northwestern Media reported. Many of the boats and their sailors traveled from Minnesota, Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin and Illinois to arrive in Oshkosh before the competition began Thursday.
"This championship at this location is a recipe for a very memorable event," said Jeff Schlosser, co-chairman of the regatta. "For Midwest regattas, this is the biggest one in the country. We'll have a good crowd and Mother Nature's cooperating."
Sailboats have been launching off the lake's shores from Menominee Park for more than 120 years.
Bill Wyman, member of the Oshkosh Yacht Club, said the event is challenging for sailors of all skill levels.
"We have Olympic champions here. People who raced in the America's Cup are here," Wyman said. "There are a lot of good sailors in town."
Schlosser said the spirit of the competition is as strong as the camaraderie.
"You'll get a healthy amount of serious competition mixed with a healthy amount of family socialization. It melds into a really great event," Schlosser said. "The people and competitors are willing to help out. If someone wants to get better, they're going to help them get better. Whether it's your first time out for the first regatta or you've been doing it for 50 years, you'll be able to have a nice discussion with someone and throw your experiences out there."
An opening ceremony and an annual race for a silver challenge cup marked the beginning of the regatta Wednesday evening.