The Black Bear Yacht Racing Association will begin its racing season May 15 and 16 with its annual Mayhem Regatta. The first race begins at 11 a.m.

Founded in 1984, the association celebrates 20 years of racing this year. Today, the organization has grown to more than 70 members and about 45 boats.

The BBYRA holds three regattas every summer, along with series of races on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The races feature about 30 boats, which all belong to members of the association. They will continue throughout the summer mostly in Mahtomedi Bay on White Bear Lake, with the last race in October.

It is difficult to view races from shore, said Mike Preston, Black Bear Yacht Racing Association Commodore. "Some people will watch the race from boats on the lake." The races take about an hour, and the boats' top speed is 5 or 6 miles an hour

The BBYRA races keelboats, differing from the White Bear Yacht Club, which races scows. Keelboats are larger than scows. The Mayhem Regatta this weekend will consist of three keelboat races. The regatta is so named because of the way its early races were conducted, when the crews would start on shore and run to their boats when a gun sounded. The practice, which resulted in mayhem, was ended shortly after it started.

The BBYRA gets its name from "Winter Dreams" by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald included a thinly veiled reference to White Bear Lake in the story, calling it Black Bear Lake. Fitzgerald was a member of the White Bear Yacht Club, which has organized scow racing on the lake for many years. The club helped start the BBYRA 20 years ago.

The BBYRA celebrated their anniversary at their annual Ice Breaker social with a video history. The organization is interested in the history of boat racing and intends to keep racing going.

"It really carries on the tradition of sailboat racing on White Bear Lake," Preston said.

For more information about the racing schedule, or to find a membership application, visit

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