Yacht club raising funds to fight leukemia

By Dawn Schuett

LAKE CITY — Members of the Lake City Yacht Club regularly go sailing because it’s their passion, but this weekend they’ll also sail for a cause.

The 11th annual Go Sailing for Leukemia will be Saturday and Sunday on Lake Pepin, with club members offering rides on their boats ranging in size from 25 feet to 40 feet. All of the money raised will go to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

The club organized its first Go Sailing for Leukemia event at the suggestion of past commodore Bill Gernes of Winona, who was diagnosed with the disease. Gernes died in 1997 and his wife, Barbara, died of cancer in 2006. That first year, the local event was linked to the national Go Sailing for Leukemia program. It raised about $1,000 and involved about 20 boats and 15 volunteers on shore.


The yacht club went out on its own in the followings years so it could donate all the money raised to the society, said Maggie Simons of St. Paul, a yacht club member and chairwoman of the event.

"As passionate as we are about sailing, we were more passionate about giving the money to the Leukemia Society," she said.

Last year, the club collected more than $10,000 for the cause and gave more than 350 people rides.

The event is also a chance to honor the memory of Gernes and other club members who have died from cancer, and offer residents of Lake City and southeast Minnesota an opportunity to go sailing.

In Minnesota, there’s no better place to sail than Lake Pepin, Simons said.

"It truly is a love for both my husband and I," she said. They enjoy the camaraderie of others who sail and when they’re on the water, it’s a peaceful setting.

"It’s that really quiet time that you get to spend together," Simons said.

Those who ride during Go Sailing for Leukemia may share in that kind of experience. Pre-registration is recommended and may be done by calling the Lake City Chamber of Commerce at 651-345-4123.


Passengers may also register the day of the event at the Lake City Marina.

Dawn Schuett covers news in Goodhue and Wabasha counties. If you have news tips or story ideas, call her at 507-281-7487.

For more information, go to

Information on Go Sailing for Leukemia

What To Read Next
Fundraising is underway to move the giant ball of twine from the Highland, Wisconsin, home of creator James Frank Kotera, who died last month at age 75, 44 years after starting the big ball.