Old Traditions, New Directions

Friendly Canadian-U.S. Competition Marks the Lake of the Woods Regattas.

The Lake of the Woods International Sailing Association presents the LOWISA 34 Regatta, July 31 - August 7, 1999. It will consist of 175 miles of cruising and racing amid 14,630 islands and 65,000 miles of shoreline. .

Plans are currently being finalized for the 34th running of one of the oldest Canadian-American events. Sailors from Iowa, Ohio, North & South Dakota, Minnesota, Ontario, BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Florida have already confirmed they will be attending this year's event. There will be fleets of every craft imaginable from JY15's, Hobies, Scows, J/22 & J/24's to C&C 27's, 29's, 32's 33's and 41's. Separate divisions are expected in several one design classes.

The website http://www.LOWISA.com has just been launched and has had over 500 visitors in the first five weeks. The site is being updated regularly to show new registrations as they arrive. A "Frequently Asked Question" area has been developed and will serve as a forum for participants. The next stage will be to establish a crew and skipper area to match the needs of boats and sailors wishing to enter the race. For this year, registration has been cut by more than half. As an incentive to attract younger sailors to the event, organizers have agreed to subsidize youths, who can now register for $90 Canadian or $60 US. Individual boats can register for $150 Canadian or $100 US. Companies can even sponsor boats and receive some excellent exposure before, during and after the event. Van McLean, Commodore of this year's race stated "Young sailors and corporate sponsorship of LOWISA will be key to ensuring this regatta continues in the future and that it remains primarily a family event. Without both, the event will decline or costs will rise too much for many to afford." This week-long regatta is staged annually by an association of Canadian and American sailors on spectacular Lake of the Woods in Ontario, Canada. Sailors can visually feast on the shape of glacial structures chiselled over centuries of nature's influence. Tall pines, birch and other timber grace the 14,630 islands and 65,000 miles of shoreline. One can watch the abundance of wildlife or explore this territory rich with historical significance. The lake itself straddles the international border and extends about 100 kilometers (60 miles) in each direction, leading to numerous areas of the lake that hold excellent sailing opportunities.

Cruise Week and Race Week

The fleet will be starting at the Harbourfront area in Kenora, Ontario. This year Race week and Cruise week will be combined to offer the best of both. For those who require it, Gary Hall owner of Northern Harbour will again offer free sailboat launching and has equipment large enough to handle any size boat. There is ample free parking available.

One can get fully provisioned in Kenora, approximately 16 Kilometres (10 miles) from Northern Harbour. Kenora offers everything that you will need for your week on the lake from currency exchange, to groceries, to fine wines and choice of spirits.

It all begins with registration. LOWISA volunteers will provide all of the necessary paraphernalia associated with LOWISA 34 as well as offering clothing and tickets for the various events that are staged later in the week. The skippers meeting will take place Saturday at approximately 5:30 p.m. in Kenora (listen for the air horn) at the registration tent. This is an opportunity for everyone to refresh their memory on the rules and procedures that govern a fair regatta. This is also the opportunity to ask questions regarding the race instructions received. Some LOWISA sailors have been on the lake many years and are always glad to welcome those out for the first time.


Overnite stops and the LOWISA Anchorges are carefully planned for safety, to accommodate shore activities and camping tents. Most are wilderness stops with anchoring in a star raft or off a shoreline. Boats can drop an anchor off the stern and tie a line from the bow to a tree and be close enough to climb ashore, yet not worry about touching the keel to the bottom. If racers or cruisers choose to have a night of absolute seclusion, there are plenty of bays and shoreline nearby, but away from the fleet.

Layover Day

This year, layover will be near beautiful Sioux Narrows, Ontario. On the Tuesday afternoon, the fleet pulls into an area yet to be finalized where you will be able to dock your boat or anchor safely in front of this resort town. There are plenty of sandy beaches around for those who want to laze away the rest of the day.

We expect to have a free shuttle into town for anyone needing to reprovision. A buoy race will be organized on Wednesday for those who feel the need for speed, while others can take a day off for relaxation. For those who wish to visit one of the top rated beaches on the lake their will be an organized cruise to Timber Island for the day. Many special LOWISA organized events take place during layover day. This includes a variety of children's activities, with a wonderful buffet spread offered by the lodge close by

Sailing Course

LOWISA 34 fleet will have the opportunity to sail in the Whitefish Bay. We will be offering four wilderness anchorage's in addition to the two semi-wilderness evenings near Sioux Narrows. The last day, Friday, we will anchor at Yacht Club Island near Kenora, as this will be the site of our Commodore's Banquet. For those needing to depart early on Saturday they may choose to head to Northern Harbour and take the water taxi provided to the Island. The only two charts required this year will be 6212 and 6217, which are available for purchase at registration. Race charts will be provided but should not be relied on for navigational purposes.

Betty Crocker

The Cook off event will again take place on Monday evening with prizes going to the best meal prepared on board.

Cash Race

This year plans are being made for those who just want one more race. On Saturday August 7th racers will have the opportunity to race from Town Island back to Northern Harbour. After tabulations are made the winners will receive cash awards rather than trophies. More details on this will be given out at registration.

For more information about this incredible event, visit website http://www.LOWISA.com or contact the commodore, Van McLean directly at 204-989-3274; fax 204-284-4420 or vmclean@autobahn.mb.ca

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