LCYC Chronology - 1886-1998

This chronology is based on records and recollections, and is surely incomplete. Also, many more members than those mentioned in the text contributed to these projects and events; those named were known officers or committee heads, but their efforts were always supported by many others now unknown or too numerous to list. Their help was notable and is appreciated nonetheless.


  • Sharpie Yacht Club of Burlington founded. The sharpie was a type of oyster boat developed for Long Island Sound and introduced to the lake by Rev. W.H.H. Murray, better known as "Adirondack." He was credited with "calling attention to the broad expanse of lake opposite Burlington that had not been used as it might be by sails and hulls of modern cut, and everyone agrees that the present yacht club is the outcome of his earlier efforts, although it has outgrown what he developed and contended for at the first." [Yachting, 1888]


  • LCYC organized May 16th, outgrowth of Sharpie Club. Constitution, by-laws and sailing regulations patterned closely after those of New York Yacht Club.
  • J. Gregory Smith chosen President. The former VT Governor had no yachting experience, was chosen to add "prestige, honor and dignity" to club.
  • W. Boerum Wetmore first Commodore (1887-88).
  • Clubhouse authorized, not to exceed $5,000.


  • First clubhouse built on Central Vermont Railroad property and dock on the water at foot of College Street, considered one of the best wharves in the harbor, present location of Burlington Boat House. (Design features of this building used in design of Boat House and 1998 clubhouse.)
  • Ladies of Burlington (believed to be the wives of members) donated now-renowned $500 silver punch bowl, designed by Tiffany. Regatta Committee determined gift: "Shall be a perpetual challenge Cup to be known as The Ladies Cup, to be sailed for each year by the yachts belong to the members of the Club at their annual regatta. ..."
  • Annual Regatta date in by-laws: first Tuesday in August. Sixteen months in preparation. Delayed to Sat., Sept. 21. Strong winds. Eight boats enter, one capsizes, three drop out, four finish. Flyaway winner, Dr. W.S. Webb owner.
  • Log includes strict dress and yachting protocols, shows color print of original swallow-tailed burgee.
  • Members: 228 (13 power, 14 sailing yachts).


  • LCYC incorporated. W. Seward Webb, Comdr. (1889-99)


  • Wallace T. Foote, Jr. (Port Henry NY), Comdr. (1900-01)


  • Original clubhouse destroyed by fire November 15. In use 14 years.


  • Second clubhouse built on same site for about $5,000.
  • Alvaro Adsit, Comdr. (1902-04)


  • Log shows color print of triangular burgee. Year of change not determined.
  • Members: 123 active, 7 honorary (32 power, 28 sailing yachts)


  • Membership 130. W.B. Rogers (Boston), Comdr.


  • George Marshall Allen (New York), Comdr.


  • Robert J. Ross, Comdr.


  • Joseph C. Sibley (Franklin PA), Comdr.


  • Ceremonial brass cannon on mahogany base purchased. Made in Springfield MA. Used to signal hoisting of colors at 0800 and sunset, and to start races.
  • George H. Allen (New York), Comdr.


  • Members: 217 active, 6 honorary. (41 power, 15 sail yachts)
  • Joseph C. Sibley (Franklin PA), Comdr.


  • Milo C. Reynolds elected Secretary & Treasurer; served until 1961.
  • Regatta held – called finest ever on Lake Champlain. Boats came from the Hudson River, New York City, and New Haven, Connecticut.
  • Fire guts second clubhouse Saturday July 4. Last guests left 0100, house on fire 0130. Started in private locker, probably from hot pipe left in member's coat pocket. Building in use 10 years.
  • W.C. Witherbee (Port Henry NY), Comdr.


  • Third clubhouse, including restaurant and dance floor, built at same site for about $10,000. Dr. H. Nelson Jackson, Comdr. (1912-14)
  • August regatta featured eight motorboat races and three sailboat races. Became the regatta pattern for next 20 years or so.

Note: During period 1911-1935 privileges of club were extended to hundreds of yachts, including some from New England, the Eastern Seaboard, Cuba, and the St. Lawrence. Strict yachting protocol was observed.


  • Clarence Morgan, Comdr.


  • Members: 270 active, 13 honorary. N. Lansing DeLong, Comdr. (Albany NY)


  • Annual Regatta invitation lists 8 motor boat races (2 open boat, 2 cabin cruiser, 1 free-for-all, 1 lady skipper, 1 hydroplane, from 9:30 to 4:30); 2 sailing races (one at 9:00 open to all yachts, Ladies' Cup Race for members' boats only at 1:30).
  • Thirty-three LCYC men served in World War I. Charles M. Swift, Comdr.


  • Membership was 277. Thomas W. Fletcher, Comdr.


  • Harry D. Chamberlain, Comdr. (1919-20).


  • James E. Donoghue, Comdr. (1921-22)


  • Year of largest membership – 334


  • Paul D. Raine, Comdr.


  • Robert C. Field, Comdr.


  • Arthur G. Mansur, Comdr.


  • Thomas W. Parkhill, Comdr.


  • Joseph Winterbotham, Jr., Comdr.


  • William S. Appleyard, Comdr.


  • Warren R. Austin, Jr., Comdr. (1933-35) [In 1948, his father, a US Senator, was appointed by Truman to be first US Ambassador to United Nations.]
  • Lowest membership of that time – 142


  • Third clubhouse abandoned – in use 23 years. Supporting crib declared unsafe, too expensive for members to fix. Also, new ferry on north side of jetty interfered with pleasure boating, house had no bathing facilities, general conditions around clubhouse had deteriorated. Members decided to seek another, more permanent, location. Clubhouse sold to ferry company; they restored it, used it as ferry station.
  • Club purchased property on the east shore of Shelburne Bay from members Edward P. & Alice C. Woodbury for $10,000, May 23. Property included 250 ft. of shore, depth of 400 ft., nearly 2 acres, a cottage, a combination tool, boat, and ice house (sellers retained right to use ice house), 250 ft. cement dock, sandy bathing beach, and marine railway. Woodburys provided interest-free mortgage for full price. Bradley S. Jackson, Comdr. (1936-37)
  • Mallets Bay "Boat" Club formed by defectors from LC "Yacht" Club – eager to find more protected mooring area, more emphasis on boating and racing, less on social. Defectors labeled "soreheads" by loyalists.


  • LCYC's fiftieth anniversary, its Golden Jubilee. Renovated cottage formally opened as fourth clubhouse. Members went for a three-hour moonlit steamer ride with music, dancing and fireworks.
  • Membership July 23 more than 200; by October, 186.
  • Appeal letter to members Oct. 10 from Walter W. Edlund & Milo C. Reynolds stating club unable to meet financial commitments due to high Jubilee expenses, declining membership, $200 stolen – asked members for $5 each.


  • Club rented "Dawson Camp," a cottage at Lake Champlain Club (now Marble Island Club) in Mallets Bay. Ladies' Cup Race run last time in this era (a power boat race, the only one ever) – not run again until 1955. Walter W. Edlund, Comdr.


  • Membership 203, but struggling financially. Steamer ferry Chateaugay rented as clubhouse for $300; moored foot of King St. George I. Hagar, Comdr. (1939-48)


  • Special meeting June 25. Finances slim. Question: to rent clubhouse space at Brown Ledge in Mallets Bay; at Woodbury site; or not at all. Recessed, met again next day. Woodburys agreed to rent club the cottage-clubhouse for $200 for season. War apparently imminent, members voted to go without a clubhouse but to sustain the club.


  • Board voted Oct. 14 to formally relinquish title to Woodbury property. Quit-Claim Deed signed October 17. All club furniture and equipment was sold.


  • Club dormant, owned no property. From 10/15/41 to 08/14/47 small group of officers met annually. Milo C. Reynolds was determined to kept corporation alive by paying annual fee (sometimes late: in 1943 charter forfeited for non-payment of fees; in 1945 Reynolds petitioned for reinstatement, paid activation fees with own funds).
  • George I. Hagar, Comdr. through 1948, Robert F. Thompson, Comdr. 1949-1954.


  • Ladies' Cup Race run first time since 1938. Since no viable club, officers agreed to let race be run by Lake Champlain Chamber of Commerce 1955-61. To conform to deed of gift, winners were declared honorary members. John E. Trail, Comdr.


  • Because race being run by CofC for non-members, Officers decided Ladies' Cup would remain in permanent possession of club, stored in vault except for presentation. Before, member-winner could have possession until next event. F. Elliot Cox, Comdr.


  • Walter S. Edlund, Comdr.


  • Efforts begun by small group to rejuvenate club. Shore property hard to find.
    William S. Preston, Jr., Comdr., 1958; J. Richard Lanou, Comdr. 1959;
    Father Francis McDonough, Comdr. 1960.


  • John Dinse, Oscar Drumheller, Willette S. Foster, Father Francis McDonough located present site, negotiated with owner Robert Patrick. Bare land, it included only the Butler building, located by the trees near what is now south dock stairs; where those stairs are was a crude launch ramp.
  • Milo C. Reynolds ends term as Secretary & Treasurer after 50 years in office. John M. Dinse, Comdr. (1961-62).


  • Present property bought for $20,000. Bank would loan only $10,000 on bare land. No membership at time, so balance came from personal loans: $1000 from L.J. Aske, John Dinse, Oscar Drumheller, Willette S. Foster, Fred Koerner; $5000 from John Dobson. Later, to pay off Dobson, Horace Ransom and Bob Thompson each loaned $1000; rest came from $100 bonds sold to others.
  • LCYC's 75th anniversary. Milo C. Reynolds honored at luncheon, named Honorary Commodore, given flag, inscripted burgee, honorary life membership.
  • Recruiting of members begun in earnest.
  • LCYC resumes running members-only Ladies' Cup Race, first time since 1938. Same day, races for Lightnings and Flying Scots.
  • Were few members, fewer had sailboats (not enough to have Ladies' Cup race alone), so 'reciprocal membership' created. MBBC members could join for half price – no vote, but could contend for Ladies' Cup; some had been competing in prior CofC-run races, wanted to continue.
  • Lightning Class New England District Championships hosted.


  • Fifth clubhouse built at cost of about $12,000. Contractor was grandson of Warren R. Austin, Jr. Officially opened in August.
  • Wednesday night training races begun, to teach new members to race.
  • John A. Dobson, Comdr. (1963-64)


  • Dobson moved to Vail, CO. Willett S. Foster, as Vice Comdr., served 1964.


  • Willett S. Foster, Comdr.


  • New membership too small to repay both bank and all personal loans. Solvency of rejuvenated club ensured when five $1000 loaners (Dinse, Drumheller, Foster, Koerner, Ransom) each agreed to forego repayment in exchange for life membership. Horace U. Ransom, Jr., Comdr. (1966-67)


  • Gen. Francis W. Billado Trophy established in memory of past Vice-Comdr. Awarded to first-on-corrected-time in seasonal series.
  • Yankee World Championships hosted.
  • Amphibicon Regionals and Internationals hosted.
  • First known Log of new era. Members: 85 active; 5 life; 4 honorary; 6 reciprocal.


  • Lake Champlain Racing Conference (LCRC) formed by LCYC, Mallets Bay Boat Club, and Valcour Sailing Club.
  • Ted Brooks Trophy donated by long-time member Brooks – awarded to first-on-corrected-time in Ladies' Cup Race.
  • Commodore Macdonough Race created as LCRC overnight event to commemorate Macdonough's victory over British, Sept. 11, 1814. Conceived by John Williams.
  • Schuyler Island Race created by Williams in tradition of east coast fishing sailboat races in which fleet sailed from home port out around islands or government marks and back. (The other three were around Appletree Shoal, all Four Brothers Islands, and Juniper Island.) Prizes were champagne for 1st, wine for 2nd, ginger ale for 3rd, to be shared with all. Became traditional last race of year until 1974 when replaced by new Hot Ruddered Bum Race.
  • Members: 64 active; 5 life; 4 honorary; 6 reciprocal; 4 junior; 39 inactive. Col. John A. Williams, Comdr. (1968-69).


  • New docks installed, surplus from Expo ‘67.
  • In Macdonough, after racing all night Mame (Steele Griswold), New World (Phil Davis), and Royal Savage (Bill Freeman) finished at dawn, overlapped! New World won. Related by Bill O'Brien, RC that night with Bill Stevens.


  • Members: 59 active; 5 life; 4 honorary; 10 reciprocal; 2 junior; 20 inactive. William K. O'Brien, Comdr. (1970-71).


  • First launch purchased for new site. Named Milo C. Reynolds in honor of long-term sustainer of club.


  • Milo C. Reynolds, Honorary Commodore, died February 23 – age 100.
  • Single-Handed Race created by Hal Greig & Bob Vitalli. Last raced in 1978 – determined too risky; some high-wind races produced hair-raising tales.
  • Members: 59 active; 5 life, 4 honorary; 14 reciprocal; 3 junior.
  • Robert W. Henshaw, Comdr. (1972-73)


  • Tea Kettle Race created by Bill Brown III & Charles Bowen as complement of Coffee Pot Race of Mallets Bay Boat Club. Both were created as informal races for boats returning to their clubs after winter storage at Shelburne Shipyard.
  • Lady Skippers Race created by Brown III & Bowen as a race in which a woman must skipper from start to finish.
  • Yachtsman of the Year award created "to honor that member who has shown outstanding service and participation at the yacht club." Cannot be officer or member of Board of Governors.
  • Ceremonial brass cannon, bought in 1909, returned to club by Walter Edlund. He had stored it in his attic for safe-keeping when club de-activated in 1940.
  • Members: 82 active; 5 life; 4 honorary; 15 reciprocal; 2 junior.


  • Hot Ruddered Bum Race created by Bob Henshaw & Dale Hyerstay as informal finish to racing and social seasons, ending with hot buttered rum for racers and non-racers alike around a cozy fire in the fireplace. Bill O'Brien & Frank O'Connor long-time hosts.
  • Wednesday night racing re-established by Hyerstay. For several years no awards were given for these races. First awards were pennants made by Jay Trumper.
  • Tanzer 22 Northeast Regional Championships hosted.
  • Members: 123 active; 5 life; 4 honorary. Reciprocal membership eliminated. William C. Brown, III, Comdr. (1974-75).


  • Tanzer 22 Open hosted at LCYC. Tanzer 22 Northeasterns hosted by MBBC.
  • Members: 127 active, 5 life, 5 honorary.


  • Tanzer 22 Northeast Regional Championships hosted.
  • Members: 129 active, 5 life, 5 honorary. Thomas Sproston, Comdr. (1976-77).


  • Members: 134 active, 5 life, 5 honorary.


  • Pacific (later Performance) Handicap Rating System (PHRF) recommended by Dale Hyerstay after learning about it at Tanzer 22 North Americans in Quebec; adopted by all clubs on lake. Mike Lynch chosen first Director of PHRF Lake Champlain.
  • Members: 132 active, 5 life, 5 honorary. Dale D. Hyerstay, Comdr. (1978-79).


  • Major improvements to property, about $60,000. Shoreside bank terraced, Butler building relocated, south parking lot created, east end of north parking lot grassed in where playset now is. Launch ramp and beach added. Dinghy racks built. Low-volume pneumatic toilets and new holding tank installed, old leach lines closed off. Building foundation replaced. Drainage ditches installed along the south, west, and north property lines and across mid-line to protect building foundation and to make large grassy area more usable.


  • Kingsland Bay July 4th Shore Party & Rendezvous begun by Dale & Alice Hyerstay. Special feature: members may come by land or boat.
  • Northeast Sailing Canoe Championships hosted.
  • Tanzer 22 Northeast Regional Championships hosted.
  • Members: 134 active, 5 life, 5 honorary.


  • Northeast Sailing Canoe Championships hosted.
  • Members: 138 active, 5 life, 5 honorary. James S. Brock, Comdr. (1980-81).


  • Members: 134 active, 5 life, 5 honorary.


  • Members: 137 active, 5 life, 5 honorary. Robert G. Dunn, Comdr. (1982-83).


  • Renovations to clubhouse: extended roof over east deck, added south deck, new sliding doors, ceiling and lights over kitchen. Bill Brown II, Chair.
  • Second launch purchased, named the Nautilus after second and five-time Ladies' Cup winner, and Jules Verne's and Hiram Rickover's submarines.
  • Odziozo Regatta created by Bob Dunn & Bob Penniman to replace Ladies' Cup as an LCRC Race when Board decided Ladies' Cup should be stand-alone event.
    Burger Burn Lawn Party after first day's race begun by Francoise Dunn.
  • August 8, two awesome squalls from NW, 1630 & 1900, cut swath across Shelburne peninsula, wreaked havoc in mooring area. After years of talk, decision made to commit to Mike Lynch's recommendation for concrete mooring blocks in grid layout.
  • Members: 147 active, 5 life, 5 honorary.


  • First Annual Multiple Sclerosis Regatta hosted, created by Steele Griswold. (LCYC hosted all subsequent.)
  • Grid mooring arrangement using concrete blocks installed in October. Designed and supervised by Mike Lynch.
  • Membership with or without harbor rights established.
  • Members: 136 active, 5 life, 5 honorary. William C. Brown, II, Comdr. (1984-85).


  • Members: 143 active, 5 life, 5 honorary.


  • Double Handed Race created by Peter Phillips to replace earlier Single-Handed. A race for two deemed safer and more acceptable than a race for one, yet offers similar challenge.
  • Members: 145 active, 5 life, 5 honorary. Anthony B. Lamb, Comdr. (1986-87).


  • LCYC Centennial Celebration. Opening Gala May 16 at Fleming Museum, with live music and dancing. Second event was Family Day with fireworks, clowns, and family FJ racing. Third event was Awards Banquet featuring Tom Whidden, tactician with Dennis Connors when US reclaimed America's Cup.
  • Members: 153 active, 5 life, 5 honorary.


  • Bernadine H. Collins elected first woman Commodore. (1988-89).
  • the Binnacle created by Comdr. Collins.
  • Centennial of creation of Ladies' Cup Race.
  • Burlington Boat House, designed by Marcel Beaudin, built at foot of College Street at site of first three LCYC clubhouses. Modeled after design features of all three, mostly the first.
  • First Wednesday Night Burger Burn after an August race. Started by Jay Marshall to make money for trophies. Mary Rathbone in charge.
  • Members: 148 active, 5 life, 4 honorary.


  • Burger Burn a hit, increased to one per month. Mary Rathbone, Dick Moser, Shel Rieley, et al, chefs for several years.
  • Members: 151 active, 5 life, 4 honorary.


  • Jesse P. Archey, Comdr. (1990-91). For two years led major club effort to address 'public trust doctrine' waterfront issues raised in Vermont legislature by Conservation Law Foundation; posed potential threat to facilities that provide public access to the lake.
  • Members: 147 active, 5 life, 4 honorary. Inactive Membership eliminated.


  • "Senior Associate Membership," created as option for members active 15 years or more – full voting rights, no harbor rights, one-third dues.
  • Members: 153 active, 5 life, 4 honorary.


  • Ladies' Cup winner changed from first to finish to first on corrected time to broaden competition for the club's most prestigious trophy. Ted Brooks Trophy changed to first to finish from first on corrected time.
  • Non-spinnaker racer recruitment begun by Jeff Hill. 'Cannon' trophy created for non-spinnaker winner of Billado Series.
  • Members: 152 active, 5 life, 5 honorary. Charles R. Bowen, Comdr. (1992-93).


  • Electrical service to main dock redone, waterline added. John Kimura, Chair.
  • Members: 162 active, 5 life, 5 honorary.


  • Town water brought to clubhouse and main dock. Al Lewis, Chair.
  • 'Adjustment Factor' created to further encourage non-spinnaker racing by giving rating credits for non-optimized boats and skippers. Over 60 boats race Wednesday nights, almost half are non-spinnaker.
  • Zebra mussels found on a few docks.
  • Members: 168 active, 5 life, 4 honorary. Jeffrey G. Hill, Comdr. (1994-95).


  • One-design racing established. JY15 chosen as boat for new fleet at club.
  • Wed Night Burger Burns expanded to every other week.
  • Zebra mussels found on almost all docks.
  • Members: 181 active, 5 life, 5 honorary.


  • Board of Governors determines that after 36 years 1963 building was showing its age, and membership and programs had outgrown it. Committee assigned to explore options for renovation, expansion, or replacement.
  • Members: 159 active, 5 life, 8 honorary. John Dupee, Comdr. (1996-97).


  • New docks, build by Shipyard, delivered by water on May workday.
  • Fourteenth & final Multiple Sclerosis Regatta hosted.
  • JY15 Northeast Regional Championships hosted.
  • Expansion of existing building designed, permits sought, but modern shoreline zoning laws precluded town from granting variance for expansion.
  • August – Membership voted to demolish old building and build new one behind 100' shoreline zoning setback. Vote was preceded by extensive presentations and give-and-take discussions about all options and costs.
  • October – Building stripped of contents work-day, demolished month later.
  • November – Final permits cleared, construction began on sixth clubhouse. Estimated cost about $230,000 (without furniture).
  • Members: 187 active, 5 life, 9 honorary.
  • Note – In 1997 there were six member architects. Fritz Horton was selected as lead in design of the building and supervision of its construction, assisted by husband/wife Doug Viehmann & Ann Vivian, with Marcel Beaudin consulting. Tom Glynn and Jill Burley lived out of state, assisted by phone.

    Fritz Horton: "The design of the 1998 clubhouse recalls the first LCYC facility that existed on the waterfront from 1888 to 1901. That building had an open center space constructed over workshops and storage. The hall featured large double-hung windows on all four sides and was surrounded with a wide porch framed with heavy timber and roofed with what appears to be canvas. The metal upper roof was capped with a long 'widows walk' with a flagstaff about 30 ft. tall at its center.

    "The 1998 building has a similar two-tiered hip roof with its upper section over a two-story-high center space. The perimeter patio recalls the earlier building's second-floor veranda, and the roof monitor with its skylight are reminiscent of the widows walk in its form and visual impact. The new building's entry recalls the earlier building's exterior balcony, which featured the same arched broken pediment supported by four columns and the LCYC logo of that time."

    1963 clubhouse – 1150 sq ft (2550 sq ft including wood deck)
    1996 clubhouse – 2770 sq ft (4500 sq ft including office & patios)


  • New clubhouse Gala Opening Cocktail Party, May 30th.
  • Thistle Niagara Frontier District Championships hosted.
  • JY15 Northeast Regional Championships hosted.
  • Members: 178 active, 5 life, 10 honorary. Peter M. Collins, Comdr.
  • 1998 Milestones:
    — Cannon Trophy – 7th consecutive
    — Double-Handed Race – 13th consecutive
    — Odziozo Regatta – 16th consecutive
    — Kingsland Bay July 4th Rendezvous – 20th consecutive
    — Commodore's Cup – 21st year (not awarded in 1983)
    — Hot Ruddered Bum Race – 25th consecutive
    — Wednesday Night Series – 25th consecutive
    — Lady Skippers Race – 26th consecutive
    — Tea Kettle Race – 26th consecutive
    — Yachtsman of the Year Award – 26th year (not awarded in 1977)
    — Comdr. Macdonough Race – 31st consecutive
    — Schuyler Island Race – 31st consecutive
    — Ted Brooks Trophy – 31st consecutive
    — Gen. Francis W. Billado Cup – 32nd consecutive
    — Ladies' Cup Regatta – 44th consecutive running since 1955
    — LCR – 65th running in 111 years
    — LCR – Run 21 times in 51 years 1888-1938
    — LCR – Not run 17 years 1939-1954
    — LCR – Run 7 years by CofC 1955-61
    — Ceremonial brass cannon – 89 years old

[Construction note - Bern and Dale will fill in the subsequent years as time permits.]


LCYC is a member-run yacht club located in a sheltered cove on the southwest shore of Shelburne Bay in Shelburne, Vermont, USA. We offer moorings, activities, and community for our members, most of whom own a sailboat or powerboat. The object of the Club is to promote and encourage boating and sailing on Lake Champlain, while emphasizing racing, cruising, and education, without financial gain. Please let us know if you are interested in membership!

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Lake Champlain offers some of the best freshwater cruising in North America. The beautiful scenery and charming lakeside destinations make it a great place to explore. LCYC organizes several rendezvous events. Spontaneous cruising events also materialize throughout the season. We have a number of scheduled events planned for the summer season. Cruisers are out and about just about every weekday and weekend throughout the summer.

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Lake Champlain Yacht Club has an active junior sailing program, open to all children ages 8-17. We use Optimist prams and Flying Junior dinghies for instruction and racing. Full and half-day sessions are offered for all ability levels over an eight week period each summer. All of our Instructors are US Sailing certified and have extensive experience. We also typically have two race weeks during the summer, the Lake Champlain Champ Chase Regatta and we travel to Lake George for the Cheeseburger Regatta!

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