We are always looking to build upon our history, however due the transient nature of the club we need our member's (and alumni's) help to ensure we maintain a full account of events.

If you feel we are missing any information, please contact our historian.

For our 75th Anniversary we have created a special email address to collect the memories of our past and present members (or those fortunate enough to experience the club.) Feel free to send any photos, videos, or other memories to 75@hoofersailing.org.

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HISTORICAL TIMELINE

1904

  • UW President Charles Van Hise calls for the creation of the Wisconsin Union. The Wisconsin Idea began as the principle that knowledge and education should be used to ensure that the people of the State could retain and exercise power in their government and economy. It is the idea that the university should improve people’s lives beyond the classroom.

  • 1907

  • The Wisconsin Union is formed. The purpose of The Wisconsin Union, according to its constitution, is “to provide a common life and cultivated social program for its members.”
    The official motto of the Wisconsin Union is “Societate Crescit Lumen” which roughly translates to “Light is increased by human relationships.”

  • 1926

  • Porter Butts becomes the first Director of the Wisconsin Union after graduation from UW-Madison at the age of 25. As author of Art in Wisconsin, he wrote one of the most important scholarly studies of the development of Wisconsin art along with seminal books on the development of college unions and shared governance. According to Porter, a union should be “a laboratory of citizenship, training students in social responsibility and for leadership in our democracy.”

  • 1928

  • Memorial Union opens to the public. Professor Harold Bradley, a medical professor instrumental in developing the Wisconsin Union, presides over the ceremony transferring control over Wisconsin Union affairs to the Union Council, which is constituted of a student majority. Shared governance is one of the most unique and important aspects of the University of Wisconsin System. Wisconsin has some of the strongest legislation in the country that specifically protects shared governance as an institution in education. The portion that applies to students, 36.09(5), states that “students shall have the primary responsibility for the formulation and review of policies concerning student life, services, and interests…The students of each institution or campus shall have the right to organize themselves in a manner they determine and to select their representatives to participate in institutional governance.”

  • 1931

  • Wisconsin Hoofers is established as an outing club by Dr. Harold Bradley and Union Director Porter Butts. It is designed to “foster interest and participation in outdoor activities by providing and developing leadership, instruction, programs, services, and equipment”. Dr Bradley was also a founding member and director of the Sierra Club.

  • 1933

  • Upon recommendation of the Union Council, the Board of Regents approves the sale of 3.2% alcohol beer on campus. The Memorial Union is the first union to serve beer at a public university. The following year, Union is designated as the University of Wisconsin’s Division of Social Education.

  • 1939

  • Construction funds for the Memorial Union West Wing run short and it is proposed that the Hoofer quarters be omitted. Hoofer founders Dr. Harold Bradley and Union Director Porter Butts hold out for going ahead until Hoofers get a home to work as well as facilities for handling equipment and a permanent staff advisor.
  • Wisconsin Hoofers moves into the lower level of the newly built Wisconsin Union Theater, which is still the home of Hoofers. The Wisconsin Union’s affiliation and sponsorship of the Hoofers Club represents a good and long symbiotic relationship for most of the years since the founding of Hoofers.
  • Hoofer Sailing Club is founded and proves to be wildly popular from the beginning. Many of the original members are intercollegiate sailboat racers. Members are either students or instructors; as soon as a student passes the required tests, they begin teaching others how to sail.

  • 1940

  • Hoofer sailors produce very extensive manuals on sailing and students have to pass a land test first to qualify to take out a sailboat. Experienced members are recruited to be instructors and receive free sailing privileges in exchange. 450 students sign up for dry land instruction.

  • 1941

  • The first Yacht Club dance, called the “Commodore’s Ball,” is held in Great Hall that spring.
  • Four hundred and sixty students sign up for a dry land sailing course at $1 per head to raise money for a dinghy fleet. Eight class X Olympic cat-rigged boats are purchased with contributions from interested alumni, faculty, and townspeople. The Union Council approves $300 for the construction of a Sailing Club pier.

  • 1948

  • Dr. Harold Bradley retires after serving as Hoofer founder and advisor for 17 years.
  • Hoofer sailing team wins first Hoofer Invitational Regatta sponsored by the Midwest Intercollegiate Sailing regatta between 9 regional teams.
  • Joe Silverberg joins the sailing club during his college years. At the time, Hoofers has a staff of one director and one part-time paid assistant. Joe continues to teach as of 2013. The Union article can be viewed here

  • 1949

  • Hoofer sailing team hosts second Hoofer Invitational intercollegiate regatta, finishing third.

  • 1951

  • Buddy Melges, future America’s Cup winning skipper and boat builder, graduates from UW-Madison

  • 1953

  • Hoofers accumulates ten Class X Cub boats.

  • 1954

  • UW Sailing Team established by Peter Harken and Art Mitchell.

  • 1955

  • The Sailing Club purchases two fiberglass MIT Tech Dinghys. The dinghys were designed by retired MIT professor George Owen (hence their name). The vessels are first tested by the Sailing Club in 1952; the group requested some modifications to the original design, so eventually all the UW's Tech Dinghys are custom-made to Commodore Peter Harken's specifications and called "Badger Techs". Peter goes on to form Vanguard Sailboats and, later, Harken with former Commodore Art Mitchell and Peter's brother Olaf. The companies manufacture sailboat hardware and accessories.

  • 1957

  • Peter Barret, Art Mitchel, Bruce Goldsmith, Dextar Thede and Otto Scherer win Collegiate Team Race Championship. Peter earns a masters degree in Mechanical Engineering.

  • 1958

  • "Wisconsin Hoofers" are Big 10 representative at the Rose Bowl regatta.
  • Membership is limited to 140 members. Fleet includes 9 Tech Dinghys and 5 Interlakes.

  • 1959

  • "Wisconsin Hoofers" sailing team finish second in Big 10 regatta

  • 1960

  • Former Sailing Club Commodore Peter Barrett participates in his first Olympics in Finn class.

  • 1962

  • Chuck Miller and Peter Barrett, both former Commodores of the Sailing Club, and James Payton, another UW graduate, compete in the North American crew sailing championships. As skipper of the winning crew, Payton receives the Mallory trophy. In the men's monotype competition, Barrett receives the first George D. O'Day trophy, for which Miller came in second.

  • 1963

  • The Union purchases the University Boat House from Carl Bernard. Bernard, from the 3rd generation of his family in the boat business, had run the boat house for 23 years. The Union decides to rent only canoes and row boats, not sailboats or speedboats.

  • 1964

  • The Boat Repair Center is added to the Hoofer facilities in the Memorial Union Theater. The additional space allows the Outing Club to begin their carbon fiber and epoxy air-bag boat-building program, primarily canoes and kayaks for white water use. Union boat rental services and Hoofers equipment are combined, totaling 24 canoes, 6 rowboats, 36 boat moorings and 3 motorboats available for rent. Also available are rental bikes, sleeping bags, and backpacks.
  • Peter Barrett started the final Finn race at the Olympics in Japan with a gold medal virtually assured. After the start, he took the stern of a starboard tack boat. Hiking flat out, he thought he felt a little “tick” as the boats passed, indicating his shoulder might have touched the other boat’s rudder. The other skipper didn’t react. But the knowledge that he might have committed a foul was enough to make Barrett drop out (no penalty turns in those days). Barrett collects his Olympic Silver Medal and helps Lowell North start North Sails as his first employee. View the article here.

  • 1966

  • More lakefront development, including a new boathouse, is completed. During the 1966-1967 school year, over 8,000 people use the Union pier.
  • A movement within the Sailing Club to break away from both the Union and Hoofers gathers momentum. As the largest and most profitable of the Hoofers clubs, the Sailing Club desired more independence. At a December meeting, they do not attain a quorum, but a straw poll suggests that the motion would have passed.

  • 1967

  • Robert Keuhlthau, Sailing Club Commodore and Hoofers President, is named to the Intercollegiate College Sailing Association's first All-America team. Fourteen team members are selected by the Intercollegiate Yacht Racing Association of North America at the request of the US Naval Academy. Keuhlthau won the 1965 Single Handed Championship of the Midwest Collegiate Sailing Association and the Intersectional Angsten Trophy Regatta in Chicago. He was also the two-time winner of the Midwest Monotype title. He is enshrined in the Collegiate Sailing Hall of Fame at the US Naval Academy.

  • 1968

  • Porter Butts, founder and director of the Wisconsin Union (1926) and Hoofers (1931) retires. Ted Crabb, a Hoofer advisor, becomes the new director of the Union.
  • Peter Barrett wins the Olympic Gold Medal crewing for Lowell North in the Star. On the way to the start of the last race, the main halyard broke. Barrett unstepped the mast, laid it in the water, swam out, pulled up the sail and tied it in place, got back in the boat, and somehow lifted the mast with the sail attached out of the water and stepped it. North and Barrett went on to win the gold medal.

  • 1970

  • Hoofers host the ICYRA Dinghy & Team Racing National Championship run by Pat Healy. Badger Tech dinghys are used. Pat Healy, roommate of Ed Eloranta, later becomes one of the most successful college sailing coaches all time at Navy and later is the head coach of the Canadian Olympic Team.

  • 1971

  • Peter Barrett wins first Intergalactic Tech regatta in 30 knots of wind, only three years after winning a gold medal in the 1968 Olympics. Sailors come from M.I.T. and all around the galaxy to this yearly race that still goes on to this date. In the 80’s, up to 45 Techs were raced at a time. Peter often came back to Hoofers as a former commodore to help run regattas.

  • 1972

  • Sailing Club replaces 10 Cubs with 5 fiberglass Interlakes. For the 1972-1973 fiscal year, nearly half of the $48,400 collected in Hoofers membership dues are generated by the Sailing Club.

  • 1974

  • The Sailing Club is distinguished as the largest university sailing club in the country, boasting between 2,500 and 3,000 members and 80 boats of seven different classes, including 3 Olympic classes. Hoofers' largest club since the early 1950s, the Sailing Club is giving 5,000 hours of instruction to at least 1,300 students by 1974. Membership fees are $40 and all instructors are volunteers.
  • A fleet of 470s is purchased from Vanguard with yellow decks and yellow center boards to be spotted better by UW-Lifesaving. Hoofer hosts many midwest 470 events. The trapeze and spinnakers are very popular.
  • A Hoofer-Union Liaison Committee is formed to improve communication between the two groups. Over the years, they frequently disagreed about day-to-day operations as well as the nature of their unusual relationship. Questions about who owns Hoofers equipment and who has the final say regarding activities and policies are recurring issues. The students chaf under the Union's watchful eye, claiming that it was trying to direct the Hoofers, rather than guide them. They want more freedom in general, including longer hours for and increased access to the organization's facilities in the Union. The leadership of the Union contends that their advisory role is necessary, and have concerns of its own: a few incidents with the fireplace and flammable materials in the boat-building area have made them wary, and there are complaints of theft and "immoral acts" in the Hoofers quarters.

  • 1977

  • Vanguard builds Badger Tech boats delivered in 1977-1979 and 1984.

  • 1979

  • Around this time windsurfing becomes a part of the club. Commodore Jim Fahey purchases 10 original windsurfers with teak booms. Ice-windsurfing, tandem windsurfing and Stand Up Paddle come and go over the years.
  • “Crazy Al” becomes the clubs un-official club cook and later chef. After encouragement at Hoofers he takes lessons at MATC and cooks up extravagant meals for Hoofer events for almost 10 years.
  • Richard “Dick” Sharkey starts long career in Hoofer shop as a student. He also served as commodeore in 1981 and maintenance director 1983 -1984. Later on, Dick works for Ed Eloranta (whose name is on the Tech Intergalactic trophy probably more than any other winner) designing and building equipment for Eloranta's 'laser radar' research program in SSEC. Dick helps to arrange Ed's Hoofer presentation on how to sail the weather patterns of individual clouds (micrometeorology).
  • Commodore’s Cup founded by John Sharpless, Karl Matzke and Arthur Gurevitch and others. 16 teams compete for a week to get their name on the prestigious cup. Originally called “Hoofers Race Week for the Commodore's Cup”, the event continues to draw up to 250 participants every year, expert sailors and complete novices alike.

  • 1979-80

  • The Lakefront Improvement Project takes the 2nd floor off the Lakelab to improve the view of picnic point from the upper terrace. The Lake Safety Tower is built next to Helen C. White and the entire shoreline is rebuilt with openings for piers and large boulders. The Techs are moved from wooden racks along the shore to racks and carts. Design ideas rejected called for building a harbor. Before this storms and waves regularly collasped the Tech Ramps and boats were ground to a pulp on the rocks below.

  • 1981

  • The first tech pier was built in its current location in 1981 with 40 foot sections and wooden ramp sections. Fold-down H sections were then first used.

  • 1982

  • Joe Bonness donates the keelboat “Maria” to the club. Maria held the time record for the Naples to Key West race for several years. The rule was that the boat could never land at the dock except in emergencies or for repairs to keep the docks free and the boat from running aground.
  • Maureen (Quiggles) Bonness wins the now-named “Quiggles award” given during Commodore’s Cup to “an individual for exhibiting unusually pleasant disposition.” Other current awards include the “Coveted Gurevitch Award for Style“ and the “Better Off Bowling” award.
  • Cruising program is established to allow Hoofers to sail in distant place like Bahamas, Florida, San Diego. Fleets from 3 -10 chartered boats gave Hoofers an opportunity to expand their sailing knowledge to the Ocean. This program continued for 11 years. Highlights include trips with over 70 Hoofers to Garden Key in the Dry Tortugas.
  • Brave Hoofer souls forgot that it was winter and gathered on Lake Mendota for a beach party during the Winter Carnaval in February. See an image of what transpired here.

  • 1983

  • Hoofers began a sailing program for hearing impaired and physically challenged individuals. Youth instruction is at its infancy, with Tom Barry teaching 8 young students Tech sailing and windsurfing.

  • 1984

  • The Sloop (Interlake at the time) pier is built, then a Scow pier the following year.
  • Chris Robaidek becomes the sole Hoofer advisor, a position he holds for about 15 years. He replaced Fred Shinnick, who had served for 5 years. At the time, the only other office staff was a secretary.

  • 1985

  • New Tech storage bunks are built, designed by Commodore Tom Germanson (this includes a sloped angle for drainage and roller to help load unload the boats)
  • Tom Barry creates original Ground School video that is shown to all new and prospective members. He also originates Pirate’s Day around that time, which continues to draw over 200 pirates yearly. Tom also serves as Head of Instruction in 2010.
  • HSC host the US 470 Nationals the first week of June with 45 boats from across North America organized by Dierk Polzin as a fundraiser for the sailing team. The band “Firetown” later to become “Garbage” plays to small crowd inside of the Rathskeller on rainy evening.

  • 1986

  • Scow pier and railroad moved from the lake lab to its current location to make
    room for a sailboard pier. Large crane erected on lakeshore.

  • 1987

  • Russ Robinson is named ICSA All American. The following year, Norma Wolk receives the award.
  • HSC host the US Laser Nationals in September with 93 boats won by Stephen Bourdow, 2nd Steve Lowery, 3rd Mike Water. The event was sponsored by Capital Brewery and run out of Marshall Park. The Sailing Team ran the event with the help of Dierk Polzin and Joe Bersch. Sailing Team members motor out with lunch to the hungry sailors, soggy Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwichs. All sailors get two hats and a T-Shirt and all the beer they can drink. The Sailing Team raises $4000.
  • Jim Fahey builds 6 Tech boats in the Hoofer Shop at a cost $3000 of each.

  • 1988

  • Former Hoofer and Tech Racer Mark Herrmann is second in the Finn Olympic Trials, he also finishes 2nd in 1992. Son of Tony Hermann who donated many of the Finn’s to Hoofers over the years. Joe Bersch sails in the 470 Olympic Trials and goes to Korea as the tune up boat.
  • Paul Exner leads instruction in fleet of ten Olympic-rigged 470’s with trapeze and spinnakers. On one windy day, 25 sailors are given heavy-wind ratings which required trapeze and spinnaker test-outs.

  • 1989

  • Hazebrook family of Detroit, MI donates Soma (Mull 34) to the club.
  • For three years in a row, Barry Widera organizes a "Sail and Slumber" event, sailing to Mendota County Park in Middleton with overnight camping, swimming, watching sailing movies, grilling out and having breakfast. Around 70 Hoofers each year take all Sloops and around 20 techs for this event.
  • Approximately 150 individuals (out of 450 in the Hoofer Alumni database at that point) return for the likely 1st Hoofer Alumni reunion.
  • “Sail and Slumber” sailors come back from an overnight stay at Mendota County Park to find that all piers suffered extensive damage from the nights storm and there is no piers left to land at. A big pier rebuild occurs after the storm of 1989, when the modern ramps with the expanded steel were built for Techs.
  • The Sailing Club reject the idea of purchasing an eight boat fleet of J22’s for $9k each and instead purchases 5 new M20’s from Melges. Buddy Melges makes a donation to seal the deal.
  • Former Hoofer, Tech Racer and Sailng Team member Mike O’Brien of Lake Geneva wins his third DN Iceboat World Championship in a row. Chapstick uses him in a nationwide TV advertisement campaign.

  • 1990

  • The Hoofer Sailing Club Youth Sailing Instruction Program is restarted by Kurt Kummer, then Head of Instruction for the Hoofer Sailing Club with help from Dierk Polzin and Hugh Sugar. Joan Cleland, Mendota Yacht Club participant, worked with Kurt in identifying a group of youth and getting them into the program. The first year includes twenty 10-12 year olds in one group and seventeen 13-17 year olds in the second group.

  • 1991

  • Hoofer and sailing team coach Paul Exner, with the help of many other Hoofers, begins 10 year project to build a 31-foot cutter-rigged vessel in a Middleton barn. The finished boat, Solstice, currently sails from the BVI and Paul leads sailing expeditions with it to the Atlantic and Caribbean.
  • BOC approves the current club burgee designed by Barry WIdera with "Red W representing UW Madison divides the burgee into 4 unequal fields of blue representing Madison's 4 lakes -- white star on largest field of blue represents Hoofers on largest lake, Mendota"
  • The 100 foot long “Redwood Deck” is replaced with treated wood by all HSC volunteers. The treated wood deck (not being redwood) was commonly known as “The Boardwalk” and it supported another 12 years of lakefront trail traffic.

  • 1992

  • Former Hoofer Pamela Healy competes in the Olympics on a 470.
  • Sailing club yearly budget reaches $200,000. Each of the 50 Techs on water is between 5 and 20 years old, but no new Techs are purchased until 2005.
  • Jim Rogers becomes head of instruction after being a Hoofer sailing instructor for 4 years. He goes on to become a Hoofer advisor in 1995, carrying the legacy of Porter Butts with his strong commitment to student leadership.
  • A very active “adaptive sailing” program for people with disabilities receives the donation of a Hoyer lift from Jack Lussier (who later donates for the Chartroom/Bradley Lounge remodeling), and a bracket was made to fit the lift to the sloop pier at any stanchion. At about the same time, the club's O'Day 23 (christened 'Escargot' for its speed) was substantially modified for adaptive sailing. Mounting points were installed in the cockpit benches and custom bolt-in seats were made by Frank Grenzel. The seats are extremely adjustable in almost every way and our adaptive sailing program was very active for many years using the mods.

  • 1992?

  • With some leadership from club member Chris White, the sailing club became one of the earlier adopters of low pollution, fuel efficient 4 stroke outboards. Our first batch of Honda 35s lasts us for very many years of hard Hoofer use. Because the 2 stroke motors would 'carbon up', foul and misfire from carbon buildup due to excessive low speed operation during lessons and mooring field shuttling, it was a regular practice to take the boats out and drive them at full throttle for a while to burn the carbon out of the cylinders. "Burning the carbon out" had become a universal excuse/euphemism for joyrides.

  • 1993

  • Maikke Ohlson, a past Hoofer Youth sailor, begins volunteering to assist teaching with the Hoofer Youth Sailing Program to further develop her skill. In 1994, she becomes the second Hoofer youth sailor to begin teaching for Hoofers.
  • Jim Rogers helps the Mendota Yacht Club start a new group, the Mendota Youth Sailing Program—later called Madison Youth Sailing Foundation—and allows two of the current Hoofer Youth Sailing Program instructors, Todd Wake and Debbie Lease (who were US Sailing Level 1 Dinghy instructors at the time) to teach independently for this new group during non-peak times at Hoofers. Ten years later, Deb Lease is Youth Program coordinator.
  • Russell Robinson and Mike Considine both Sailing Team Members win the US Sailing Champion of Champions Regatta in Y-Flyer. Robinson won the event in 1994.
  • Hoofers replaces the blue Olympic 470’s (with trapeze and spinnaker) with FJ’s.
  • Club has a local maxima of 1578 members under commodore Greg “Pepe” Geise and Vice Commodore Steve Bradley.
  • One of the ten boats sailing on the Cruising Program runs aground near Marco Island during the “Storm of the Century.” All Hoofer sailor were rescued by a local jet ski operator. The other 9 boats made it safely to harbor. 43 seamen were not so lucky and perished during the unexpectedly strong storm. Hoofer sailing cruise program is suspended. It had reached a budget of almost $100,000 a year after 11 years of operation.

  • 1995

  • First annual Spring Chicken Regatta originated by Stephan Schmidt, Doug Kolner, John Powell, John Hodges, Jerry Gapinski and others. The goal is a Tech Regatta before May 1.
  • HSC host the Snow and Ice World Championships with sailors from Russia, Finland and beyond. Hundreds of spectators walk out to the middle of the lake to watch as three categories of racers. Hoofer Steve Cohan wins gold.
  • Hoofers host the Midwest Youth Champs attracting sailors from as far away as Canada. The idea sparks interest in US Sailing and they start Junior Olympic Sailing Regattas the next year.

  • 1995?

  • Hoofers in Techs portage the narrow part of picnic point for no other reason than to have done it.

  • 1996

  • Under cover of the night, Jill Morrissey, Carol Bracewell and Steve Heinemann paint Soma’s hull cow design.
  • Techs and Interlakes are sailed to Lake Monona by unstepping the masts and transiting the locks and isthmus, towed daisy chain by the crane barge motorboat. Consensus is that it was too much work to repeat.
  • Hoofers, Mendota YC and the Sailing Team hosts ICSA Collegiate Nationals with the help of Anita and Paula Bersie and Dierk Polzin running the event. It is the first College Nationals with a website and live blogging. Fans are asked to send in message to be posted on the bulletin board. The first college alumni regatta was held in the middle with Peter Barrett, Peter Harken and many other competing in Techs. The event sold sponsorships for the parties and had live bands on the terrace during the event, upsetting the ICYRA.
  • Hoofers rebuilds Lady Liberty on ice. Read the article here.

  • 1997

  • Sailing Club replaces the FJ fleet with a new fleet of boats.

  • 1998

  • Three sailing club members (Geoff Sobering, Dean Lima and Bill Niemeyer) including the current and next commodores are given life memberships in the riding club for a winter of volunteer work assisting the construction of the new Hoofer Equestrian Center, which was finished with money substantially borrowed from the Sailing Club.
  • High-school sailing program run by Dierk Polzin, Don Sanford and his Emory. It lasts for 4 years until Emory goes to college.
  • Board of Captains votes to replace the Interlake fleet with custom built 'Badger Sloops' based on a shop built prototype. From decision to delivery, the process takes three years.

  • 1999

  • Hoofers and Mendota YC host the largest E-Scow Regatta ever held with 133 boats on one starting line. Events included a hypnotist in the Union Theatre and the raffling off a new E-Scow at the new Kohl Center Basketball arena. Buddy Melges pulls out the winning ticket.

  • 2000

  • JJ Pagac and Erik Rasmussen dump sand next to its Lake Lab to create a “Hoofer beach” for teaching windsurfing and socializing .

  • 2001

  • Ted Crabb, former Hoofer advisor (1955) and Union Council president, retires as Wisconsin Union Director (1968-2001) and becomes current Emeritus Director. Mark Guthier, the new director, is hired from Indiana University.
  • Friday night socials attract 60 to 80 members a week, who pay $6 for all-you-can-eat-and -drink meals. The charging for food tradition is disallowed by the Union a couple of years later and a donations box is established at the socials to pay for supplies. The donations box is disallowed a few years after that and socials have to be completely paid from the socials budget.
  • Twelve foot concrete volcano erupts on Hoofer beach as part of a food social event that raises $300 for the club.
  • Fleet of Interlakes are replaced by eight Badger Sloops built by John Hayashi at Windward Boatworks after more than 30 years of service.
  • Fleet of twelve 420's replaces FJ fleet. Trapezes and spinnakers are included as many sailors missed the 470 experience.

  • 2002

  • Long-time Hoofer member Jo Reis completes circumnavigation of the world
  • Shop builds a Tech under Matt Schroeder (?)

  • 2003

  • Hoofer Council uses $65,000 of sailing club retained earnings to save the Riding Club stable.
  • Toy Boat (Graham and Schlageter 30) is donated to the club.
  • Kris Dressler (long-time instructor) leads 3rd annual Alumni Tech regatta with
    24 participants attending. Bret Liebmann (sailing team member and coach) and
    Diana Mack earn first place.
  • The huge Weeping Willow tree next to the Lake Lab is taken down and replaced by the yellow canopy and small trees. The wooden walkway is replaced with a concrete slab and the audible warning rattle of approaching bicycles on the boards is no longer heard.

  • 2004

  • Hoofer Youth Program reaches 450 participants under Jim Rogers as head of instruction, from a mere 20 participants in 1990.
  • John Feith creates new Ground School video, replacing Tom Barry’s 20-year old video shown to all new and prospective members. He also produces an hour-long Hoofer documentary DVD two years later on all the Hoofer clubs.
  • Long-time shop coordinator and sailing instructor Michu Barroso leaves club along with Youth Program coordinator Deb Lease. Daughter born soon afterwards.

  • 2005

  • Sather family donates fleet of FJ's to the club
  • Five hundred and fifty freshmen have a free night sail with Hoofers for the Memorial Union Bash, a yearly tradition for incoming students.
  • First Great Pumpkin Regatta is co-sponsored with the UW Horticulture department and Professor James Nienhuis. The event is so well attended that the Sloop pier collapses under the weight of over 100 people. New piers and people-limits are enacted for future events.
  • Sailing clubs spends $25,000 on planned pier renovations.
  • Twenty more Techs with 45 new sails are purchased over 3 years. The Techs are manufactured by JibeTech.
  • Windsurfing floating pier is determined to not be suitable for large Lake Mendota waves. The following year, it reappears as a pink floating party barge, and a few years later it is motorized.

  • 2006

  • Sailing club budget reaches $300,000. Online lesson-signup begins, ending the tradition of signing up for lessons “at the tunnel” by hand.
  • Many Hoofers parade and chalk to get the Memorial Union Initiative passed. New piers included in proposal. Out of the 1,691 votes for the referendum, a good deal are Hoofers hoping for upgrades to the Hoofer area and Memorial Union.
  • Hoofers celebrate 75th Anniversary. 80 individuals attend the reunion dinner and 180 attend the screening of the Hoofers documentary. Watch the trailer here!
  • Snow kiting introduced to the club
  • Peter Antamarian, member of the Hoofer ski and sailing club, Union Council president and Hoofer Council president loses his battle with cancer. The Peter Antaramian Hoofer Endowment Fund is established. Read all about it here.


  • 2007

  • Including capital expenses for 10 Techs, the club budget reaches nearly $500,000.

  • 2008

  • Decoy is acquired. A Shock New York 36 keelboat, it is the largest boat on the fleet.
  • Artists decorate sails for the Mami Wata Tech regatta, organized in conjunction with the Chazen Museum of Art and Madison Gas & Electric. Coverage of the event can be found here.
  • Yearly pig roasts by members of Commodore’s Cup team for several years feed 200 hungry sailors for less than $400.
  • Matt Schmidt, 4-year shop manager, leaves Hoofers and becomes Hydraulics Engineer at Harken.

  • 2009

  • John Kirsch, a retired UW professor, donates a new fleet of Byte sailboats and supporting funds. John joined Hoofers in 2000 and became a volunteer instructor until he lost his battle with pancreatic cancer. The memories of Hoofers fortunate enough to be a part of John's life can be found here.
  • The Wisconsin assistant attorney general writes an opinion stating that “express acknowledgement by the Wisconsin Union that the Hoofers are an independent and self-organized entity strongly supports the conclusion that the Hoofers have not been created by any directive of the Union Council and hence are not a governmental body” and that “the relationship between the Hoofers and the Wisconsin Union is one of voluntary affiliation in which the Hoofers have chosen to be subject to Union requirements as a condition of eligibility for various benefits of Union affiliation, such as funding, resource support, or technical assistance.” He then concludes that Hoofers “are an autonomous organization and are not simply a creature of the Union.” The full views of Thomas C Bellavia AAG can be found here.

  • 2010

  • Sailing club becomes certified by the 2011 American Sailing Association (ASA), allowing it to give ASA lessons and rating certifications.
  • A Madison Match Racing League is started feed off the new interest in match racing around the Midwest. Dierk Polzin starts it in Badger Sloops and later rebuilds the J22’s. David Niemann buys a set of sails. The ICSA adds a Match Racing Championship.
  • Sailing team hosts ISCA nationals with 18 colleges attending. 420's fleet updated.
  • Ten years after receiving a Hoofer Lifetime Achievement award, Jim Rogers becomes director of WUD’s Publications department. Jim served as Head of Instruction for 12 years and Hoofer advisor for 11 years and at the time was still serving as sailing instructor, Hoofer Advisor and Outdoors Programs Coordinator.
  • Tom Barry, head of instruction, organizes design class at the university’s Design Studies department for using old sails as handbags and other items. Read all about it here

  • 2011

  • Offcall, a J24 keelboat, breaks off its mooring during a storm and crashes on Union Terrace. It is highlighted on ESPN during a Badger game.
  • Several mice are found in the galley over winter. Cooking food by Hoofer members for Friday socials and special events banned by Union staff. Hoofers promised
    cooking privileges once the new galley is built. Until the galley is complete, Hoofers can only reheat Union catering food under the supervision of several Union staff members.
  • Over 750 people make it through the annual Hoofer Haunted House which winds through Hoofer lounge, shop and Union theater. About 200 people are turned down due to time constraints.
  • Dave Elsmo, sailing coach at University of Minnesota, becomes head of instruction at Hoofers and sailing team coach. UW Sailing team is ranked 6th in the nation.
  • Joe Webb becomes new Hoofer advisor. The following year, Paul Howl replaces Jeff Greenberg, a long-time Hoofer accountant, as finance specialist. Jeff returns to Hoofers in 2013.

  • 2012

  • Bob Wright, former sailing club commodore and long-time general manager at Wisconsin Union Outdoor Rentals, moves to a position at the new Union South.
  • Peter Barrett is inducted to the National Sailing Hall of Fame.
  • Most of the West Wing of Memorial Union is demolished in late summer and the sailing club conducts its regular business from 2 shipping containers on the lakefront and a tent.
  • Joe Kutschenreuter and Molly Forbes receive ICSA All American award
  • The club has 12 keelboats on moorings for the year, compared to 2 just 20 years earlier. Sailing team buys a fleet of 10 FJ’s from Yale to supplement ten 420’s.
  • The sailing club’s indoor facilities are closed for an entire year due to construction. Without a place for fiberglass repairs, some fleets have much fewer boats than usual. The Tech fleet is down to less than 20 boats.

  • 2013

  • Commodore Nick Grundl leads efforts to create an engineering class to build a Badger Tech Dinghy hull. Professor of Mechanical Engineering Tim Osswald’s Introduction to Composites Processing students build a fiberglass hull as a lesson in the mechanics of composite resins and process optimization.
    A short decription of the course can be viewed here
    View an article covering the course here.
  • New Hoofer facilities are re-opened in August as part of the "Memorial Union Reinvestment" at a cost of over five million dollars paid by students. New Hoofer clubhouse named "Mendota Lounge" also serves as meeting space for Union members. A safer, state-of-the art shop for boat repairs is completed. Advanced ventilation, multiple security cameras and secure keycards are introduced to Hoofer spaces.
  • Linda Bentz, Hoofer advisor for eight years, retires. Memorial Union Outdoor Rentals and the Outdoors Programs Office become “UW Outdoors.” Jacob Hahn is named director of UW Outdoors, which oversees Hoofers.
  • Student annual membership rates are $220, the same as they were in 2003. Rate increases approved for 2014. For the last 10 years, membership hovers around 1300 members.

  • 2014

  • Hoofer Sailing Club celebrates its 75th Anniversary

  • BecomeHoofer


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