Believe it or not, Fleet 45’s soft spoken captain, John Economides, has a few traits in common with California’s new, flamboyant governor. They both serve as the CEO of a diverse, atypical organization, they appreciate the guitar and both owe much to their wives. Blessedly, this is where their similarities end.
John actually played the guitar, he doesn’t bulge from years of enhanced body building and he hasn’t terminated anyone, yet. Most importantly, his wife stands with him rather than behind him and in fact, he insisted on a guarantee of “equal billing” for Denise as a precondition for this profile.
Children of the sixties, she from Winthrop, he from East Boston, they met at a Winthrop party where John was playing a rock and roll guitar gig in 1969. They realized that they shared interests in the life sciences and the belief in education as the path to personal growth and married in 1973. At that time, John had completed a BA in Biology at UMass Boston by way of Boston Latin secondary school. Denise had completed her primary and secondary education in the Winthrop Public Schools. Post marriage, the pace picked up. They soon had two children and they continued their formal educations.
Denise pursued and gained a BS in Health Science from Northeastern University. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with membership in Northeastern’s Sigma Epsilon Rho honor society while working part time and providing primary care for their son and daughter. She also gained an Early Childhood Education Certificate from Salem State in her spare time. She is putting this training to use as a Senior Medical Technologist at Lahey Clinic’s Burlington facility.
Not to be outdone, John attained a MBA in Finance and a Masters in Computer Science from Boston University. He works as Principal Financial Systems Analyst for MFS Investment Management in Boston.
In 1993, after 20 years together, they found time for basic keelboat lessons in Solings and Sonars at the Boston Sailing Center. With a residence in Winthrop, they gravitated to the Cottage Park Yacht Club which they joined in 1998. Mike Gahan, a Fleet 45 founder, helped them pick the Rhodes 19 as an affordable racer/cruiser. The boat met Mike’s advanced publicity and as a plus, they have been pleased by the friendship of their fellow Rhodes 19 sailors.
They began racing and actively supporting the fleet soon after they acquired Ghost Dog, number 1118. They participated in the 2001 Nationals and John was elected East Coast Vice President at the Annual Class Meeting on the fateful day, 9/11/01. The following year, they convoyed to New Orleans with Trees-MacAdoo and were awarded their club’s Tranfaglia award for promoting CPYC sailing by sporting the club burgee during their 70 hours on the road.
Again, they were besieged by larger events as they transited the D.C. environs during the height of the sniper attacks. Frequent gas stops with the great white shape in tow provoked a certain measure of anxiety.
They attended the 2003 Nationals in Marblehead and continue their drive to spur Fleet 45’s participation. In this effort, they have been aided by Cottage Park pros Costa and Zambella who selected the Rhodes 19 for a new club adult sailing program. This past summer, they gained three new members plus their daughter who is a frequent crew for MacAdoo-Trees in three person events.
In bringing the Economides style of togetherness to the Class on the water and in the shore side administration activities, they have given the boat’s family tradition a big boost. We can only hope that other families of all ages observe and follow their excellent example.