Patti Schwab

Hearing that two demolition professionals have teamed up to race and cruise sailboats, most people’s first visualization would be chaotic scenes from “Demolition Derby,” followed closely by a couple of Sailing World’s wildest “Dr. Crash” features. If the two sailors were our newest fleet’s President, Patti Schwab, and her husband Mark Schwab, “most people” would be adrift.

From the time of their meeting while she was working for his father’s Chicago based demolition company until they played key roles as wife and husband in the founding of the Rhodes 19 Class Association’s newest fleet in New Rochelle, NY, their relationship has been noted for positive results. At the start, Mark was the experienced sailor, having, among other things, single handed the Atlantic in Wreckless, a S&S 47 at the age of twenty-eight. Playing catch up, Patti, at twenty-six, began sailing classes in Vangard Club Trainers at Chicago’s Columbia Yacht Club.

This introduction gave her enough confidence to join Mark in sailing his C&C 40, “Southern Cross,” back to Chicago from the Mackinaw Island Race. The trip was a success in spite of one of Lake Michigan’s wilder storms that Mark characterized as “I H N SW” (I have never seen worse). At the tender age of twenty-six with but a few sailing lessons behind her, Patti’s only negative reaction was a short cry.

Chicago sailing experiences also included a Flying Scot, number 2437-Serendipity, as well as an initial awareness of our Class. During this enjoyable time, they were building a relationship in business and romantically. Patti began working for Mark and before long they were partners in demolition and marriage.

A Consolidated Edison demolition project in Queens took them to New York in 1991 and they have been there since. Rocket Man, an Impulse 21, provided an introduction to East Coast sailing. They continued racing and cruising in an Ericson 35, Flash Gordon. Four years ago, their Huguenot Yacht Club at New Rochelle, NY began searching for a club fleet boat. The Rhodes 19 was chosen.

In today’s world of chaotic work schedules, one of the primary requirements for such a boat was an ability to be raced by two people. Our boat was the right size. Other factors included wide spread availability, cost and fun. Also, Patti and Mark remembered the Nineteen’s comfort and seaworthiness from a vacation at the Bitter End Yacht Club, BVI.

The decision made, acquisition quickly proceeded. The fleet’s starter boats ranged from old wrecks to well-maintained cream puffs. For the former, a number of reclamation strategies were employed. Some folks, including the Schwabs, provided their own TLC in the form of new ribs, bottoms, and rigging on number 1199. Others used a group of Maritime Academy students they dubbed the “Rhodes Syndicate.”

This apprentice group was recruited by Steve Devoe, who had purchased number 1477. They had agreed to work at a discount “bulk cost” rate, and when pressures of study and other activities intruded, Steve picked up the slack by moving the “in process” works to his Jamestown, RI boat yard at his own expense. He continues as the fleet’s morale and logistical spark plug.

A key element in the building of camaraderie has been provided by Steve’s “Rhodes Warrior” awards at the fleet’s annual recognition banquet. Other fleets call them “Joke Awards” or “Every Boat Prizes,” but in every place they are used, they promote attendance and keep interest high.

Thanks to all of the aforementioned effort, and contributions in the vital Secretarial and Fiscal areas by Ellen Hermann and Ruth Campanelli, the new fleet is convinced they made the right choice and is looking forward to increased participation in local events such as the Larchmont NOOD Regatta, as well as in Rhodes 19 Class competitions. From the Rhodes 19 Class Association, “Congratulations Patti and all. Keep up the good work!”

Randy Fitzpatrick

She’s here at long last, a real, honest to goodness 3rd generation Rhodes 19 family sailor and she’s brought Fairhope’s Fleet Four with her. Anne “Randy” Fitzpatrick began sailing with her grandfather, Ed Marty, on #688 at the age of five. Virtually her entire life has been spent in Alabama enjoying the delights of Rhodes 19 sailing on Mobile Bay and the experience of growing up in Fairhope’s charming, idyllic environment.

Early on, she did no racing, but enjoyed the thrilling experience of rail-down upwind thrashes in an essentially safe boat on a protected body of water, and watching her grandfather’s racing through a telescope from the bayside family home. As she grew, she was gently nudged into a more active role. Her enhanced experiences included string pulling and helming as well as elementary keel maintenance. She is, as she modestly relates, “hell on wheels with a grinder.” (Greg and Joe be warned!)

As Ed Marty aged, his first pupil, daughter Nancy, Randy’s mom, took over the boat and dutiful Randy continued as crew. Eventually though, as in every family, human and animal, nest-leaving time came. Anne accepted the truth that she would always be the child on that particular Rhodes.

When the right time came, she jumped ship to David McFarland’s more successful program on #1693. The new association has benefited both parties. Dave has a dedicated crew who helped him win a number of local events and finish fourth in the 2001 Gulf Coast Regional Championships. Randy gained racing experience and has enjoyed Dave’s encouragement in broadening her sailing horizons.

After serving Fleet 4 as Secretary for two years, Randy took over as Fleet Captain. In the latter role, she has proven grandfather Ed’s premise that nautical expertise is fostered by a light touch, and that women are the best at applying it. The results, a more active membership, a super fleet report and a well-attended, reinvigorated Gulf Coast Championship, speak for themselves.

Captain Randy comments that the Fairhope fleet never thought of itself as inactive, just unexcited, nationally. With the 2002 Nationals slated for nearby New Orleans, she says, “We’re back. We’re bad. We’re ready!”

Jeremy Bloxham

Jeremy Bloxham, Fleet 5 President for the past year, has experience, training and education that are an outstanding fit for this challenging office. Fleet 5 is a huge, competitive, diverse, and feisty assortment of characters that requires a firm, discerning hand at its helm.

His sailing credentials are the best. He began messing around in a nondescript small boat at the age of nine in 1969 at the Norfolk Broads, a series of lagoons formed by flooding of medieval peat diggings near the East Coast of England. From there, he proceeded to crewing for an older brother on an eleven-foot Mirror Class dinghy at the English Channel port of Chichester. This yachting hotbed, with its fifteen clubs, provided a high level of competition and motivation. Jeremy’s club, the Hayling Island Sailing Club, boasts six Olympic medalists from Sydney 2000.

Jeremy_and_Katie
Jeremy and Katie Bloxham and Kathy Wright,
2000 National Champions

Soon, Jeremy was skippering his own Mirror. From there, he advanced to the sixteen foot trapeezed Fireball. He was in constant demand as crew for a variety of boats. He also competed in Lasers and Windsurfers. His personal highlight of this early career was helming a quarter-tonner as it rolled over a similar one sailed by Paul Elvstrom in twenty-five knots of wind.

More laid back experience was provided by cruising at various times in Europe, Australia, the Caribbean and the United States. One interesting passage from the Indian Ocean’s Seychelles to South Africa was done with his mother-in-law. Upon meeting her daughter, Katie, an accomplished sailor, Jeremy knew he had found a keeper and signed her up as Contributing First Mate.

He came to this country in 1985 and continued sailing on a S2, 9.1, a J/35 and most recently the Rhodes 19. His titles over the past decade include three New England PHRF Championships, Marblehead PHRF Boat of the Year, the Rhodes 19 National Championship and the Rhodes 19 East Coast Championship. He was elected Rhodes 19 Association Secretary at Hingham.

Jeremy_night_swimmingJeremy holds BA and Masters Degrees in Mathematics, and a PhD in Geophysics from Cambridge University. He currently chairs Harvard’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and teaches Geophysics. His goals for the fleet are to increase its membership strengths in numbers and sailing talent. Geophysics, his discipline, among other things, concerns itself with the source, configuration and variations of the earth’s geomagnetic field. It is easy to see why Jeremy knows where he’s at and how he got there.

A dripping Jeremy (2nd from left) and his dry and warm entourage, returning from Jeremy’s involuntary night swimming episode after winning the 2000 Nationals!