To the right is Racine Yacht Club in
1914. The city of Racine and Racine Yacht Club enter into a lease
agreement on April 18, 1928. The city of Racine moved the club to
the water's edge from east of Michigan Boulevard and South of Barker
Street to the location where the present Richter Building is. The city
provided the foundation and city water but no plumbing.
Below is a picture of the club in
1929 after a spring storm where the water encroached on the building
after only being in its new location one year.
In 1934, tragedy struck for three
members on the 34 foot yacht "Spray" that set sail on a Saturday night,
to enter a series of races at South Shore Yacht Club. The boat was
owned by Oswald Aul and Harold Sustachek.
At midnight the boat was
struck by a sharp gust of wind and the boat took on a large quantity of
water where the deck was scarcely a foot out of the water. The
waves washed the three sailors into the water several times.
Two of the three sailors died that
night as the wind and seas took their toll on the yacht. Irving
Uhlir and Tom Graham both drowned, leaving Herman Jansen as the
only survivor. Jansen clung to the mast for 14 hours until the
Racine Coast Guard could get to him. The other two crew members
could not hold on.
The "Spray" was known by almost
every sailor by sight. Sailors said there was something
distinctive about her lines. She was built in 1901 for a Chicago
Otto Wadewitz was commodore at the time starting in 1933 and
would serve at the helm for five continuous terms through 1937. This
achievement has not been surpassed.
Otto lead the Racine Yacht
Club through the worst years of the Great Depression. He became
the club's benefactor as well as commodore and helped it to survive
financially during those troubled years.
Wadewitz found the cold winter
breezes off of Lake Michigan a bit harsh and headed south to Mobile Bay
where Fairhope Yacht Club was founded. Otto is seen in the picture
to the left standing by the early Star fleet.
Otto was later memorialized by the
club when their board of governors named a new 210-foot timber dock in
his name during gala ceremonies in 1955. The Racine Yacht Club is still
very much in existence and is known as one of the finest yachting
organizations on Lake Michigan.