Bob Bernstein

Bob Bernstein – Rhodes 19 Treasure

I was recently doing some class history work—looking at past nationals results to get them updated for the website. In looking back through early years’ results, the earliest name I recognized was Bob Bernstein’s, whom I know from racing more recently in last year’s nationals. From 1973 to 2015 is quite a span of participation in the Rhodes class, and I figured there was a good story there—and I sure was right. With the very significant help of Bob’s wife, Joanne, and Bob’s friends, I put together a short sketch of Bob’s adventures over the years. Bob is a class act and one of the Rhodes 19’s class treasures.

Bob started sailing back when he was one year old. His family had an old wooden boat named Flight— well, certainly it is very old now, but it is still on the same mooring in Montrose Harbor in Chicago. Bob learned about sailing and racing on that boat. He and his dad won boat of the year at least once, and the boat was sailed in the Mac when Bob was away at summer camp.

In about 1973, that boat was sold and Bob bought his first Rhodes, #2000. Bob’s first nationals was in 1973 in New Bedford, Massachusetts. One of his first crew was Scott Graham, who later became a notable naval architect with Eric Schlageter in the firm G&S. During those years, Bob won the Chicago fleet championship several times and competed in several nationals, always placing well. Bob’s friend and competitor Elliott Lyon, who sailed both against and with Bob in the ’70s and ’80s, says Bob was “the smartest guy on the water I could possibly imagine.” Bob would often crew on other boats as well—with a big positive impact on their performance. In Elliott’s last race, with Bob as crew, they clawed their way back from sixth to first in one of those Zenlike moments.

Bob’s seamanship is impressive as well; during the 1979 nationals in San Francisco, the hellacious winds and conditions capsized six boats in a single race. Meanwhile, Bob, his rudder having broken off, was able to steer his boat to safety using sails and weight alone.

bernsteinphoto1Bob sold his boat in the ’80s and for some years pursued other yachting adventures. In the mid-to-late ’80s, Bob crewed on a friend’s boat out of Jackson Harbor on Chicago’s South Side. One summer the friend was on holiday for a month, so Bob, looking for another boat to sail on, answered an ad from Dorsey Ruley, who had an about-forty-foot racing boat and was looking for a helmsman and tactician. Needless to say, Bob was very curious as to why an owner wanted someone else to sail his boat. Dorsey couldn’t sail the boat himself because he is a quadriplegic. Being out on a sailboat, strapped into a special seat at the back of the boat, is when he really enjoys himself. While in Australia with his wife in 2000, Bob checked out a boat in Sydney for Dorsey, which Dorsey then bought. Bob drove them to first place in the 2002 Mac race and has won boat of the year numerous times. Bob has been sailing with Dorsey for about twenty years now.

Meanwhile, Bob really missed small-boat sailing, so Joanne kept encouraging him to buy one again. He said he would do so only if he could find one that was in great shape and competitive. After a year or two, he found his boat; Chris Small in Marblehead had just beautifully refinished it. Bob flew out to see it six or so years ago in about March, and then in late April or early May, Joanne and Bob drove from Chicago to Marblehead to trailer it back.

When he was looking to buy a boat, Bob often said that Rhubarb, Bob Jensen’s boat, was the boat to try to beat. Bob Jensen was Bob Bernstein’s legendary competition, and he was an inspiration! Bob was saddened when Bob Jensen retired. When I asked Bob Jensen about Bob, he said he was a worthy competitor and one with a remarkable ability for analyzing and anticipating weather patterns. Bob Jensen always had his eye on Bob’s whereabouts on the racecourse.

Upon returning to Fleet 12, he has become one of its most helpful and instructive members. He has run seminars and on-water clinics to upgrade the Chicago fleet’s performance, and he took on chairing the 2016 nationals. Chicago wouldn’t be hosting them if it weren’t for Bob. Also, once or twice a season, usually in the spring, he helps other Rhodes sailors who request his help on a practice day. On those days, he’ll jump from boat to boat and work with three or so boats each day.

Professionally, Bob had a seat on the CBOE (Chicago Board of Options Exchange) for about sixteen years. After he left the floor of the exchange, he continued to do some trading from his computer, but he never passes up a doubles tennis game, something he does with about the same intensity as he sails. He plays three to six times a week, less often during sailing season than in the winter. Bob also works part time as a financial adviser. He works independently and likes to look at the whole financial picture of his clients so he can help them holistically.

In any event, I’m told that Bob has been a Chicago Corinthian YC member for seventy years. How lucky for the club.

By Steve Uhl

Boyd Building Viking Ship

Class member Stuart Boyd has a fascinating project, building a viking ship.  The full story is here but you can read about it below as well!


Imagine A Viking Ship Off Crane Beach? This Guy Will Make It Happen

Imagine A Viking Ship Off Crane Beach. This Guy Will Make It Happen

Entrepreneur Stuart Boyd with images of his Viking ship
Entrepreneur Stuart Boyd with images of his Viking ship

Stuart Boyd can imagine what a sight a Viking boat would be from Crane Beach or sailing up the Essex River.

The Hamilton resident can picture it because he’s having one built.

“I can just imagine it at Crane Beach, the stares and the awe,” he said.

The boat, which will be 38 feet long, will then become the centerpiece for his new business, Norsvald, which was borne of a “flippant comment” he made while striving to solve a problem in the tech world.

Originally from Bangor, Co. Down, itself a sailing town in Northern Ireland, Boyd explained over coffee in Zumi’s how he went from working in consumer electronics to self-employment on a Viking boat.

“I’ve always been on the water,” he said. An experienced sailor and licensed captain, Boyd said he wouldn’t consider himself an expert on wooden boats.

Meanwhile, in his professional life, Boyd found himself working in tech companies and learning a lot about teams and putting together high-performing groups.

Casting his eye to the world of startup businesses — and it’s sky-high failure rate — Boyd wondered if he could build teams across the fledgling businesses to help them improve their odds.

While in Denmark “scouting around the tech scene there,” Boyd popped into a Viking museum to look around.

Looking at the old ships, including one that had been built in 1040 in the Viking settlement of Dublin, Boyd was struck by how the Vikings worked together on the sea in open boats to travel great distances.

Boat builder Jay Smith
Boat builder Jay Smith (Norsvald Instagram photo)

“I’d rather see a Viking ship sail up the back of Crane Beach and take small groups on that,” he said in the museum.

The Norvalds seed had been planted.

“The technology is so old, yet it’s relevant today,” he said.

All it needed now was an authentic Viking ship. Built from scratch. On the North Shore — that the U.S. Coast Guard would approve for commercial use.

Through his research, Boyd found Jay Smith, owner of Aspoya Boatyards in Anacortes, Wash.

A Midwesterner, Smith went to Norway as a young man and studied boat building in the Nordic tradition there. He has been in the business for 30 years now.

However, the vessel being built isn’t for a private owner. It will take 12 paying customers and two crew on team-building exercises. That requires permits and safety checks.

Boyd is liaising with the Coast Guard to ensure that happens.

He is working with Jim Taylor, who has his own yacht design company in Marblehead, to ensure the Coast Guard recognizes and approves the boat as seaworthy.

But Viking building techniques and materials are also being included, Boyd said. Over 1,000 hand-made rivets are being used, for example.

Made from old logging chains, the rivets had to be chemically analyzed and tested for strength in a lab to be approved as building materials.

But details like that will be important for people to experience living history while on the team-building exercises, Boyd thinks.

Finish work in Essex

Jay Smith (right) examines the keel (Susan Wood via Instagram)
Jay Smith (right) examines the keel (Susan Wood via Instagram)

The hull, built from oak carefully selected from forests of the Pacific Northwest, is almost half built, Boyd reported.

With the help of an arborist, trees were chosen where their natural crooks formed the boat’s shape.

Four “strakes” are already in place, and three more need to be added, Boyd said.

The Washington work should wind up later this year. The hull will then be loaded on a truck and driven across the country.

It’s an easy enough ride, Boyd laughed. “It’s literally one left turn” off Route 5 in Washington, then it’s I-90 all the way east.

The vessel will then be completed — and launched from — the Burnham Boatyard in Essex.

That business, itself, is famous because Harold Burnham is an 11th-generation boatbuilder. Boyd is not worried the bi-coastal experts will clash. “Boat builders warm to each other,” he said.

When complete, the craft will be around 10 feet tall from top to bottom. Viking ships had very shallow drafts, and just under two feet will be under water.


Ship taking shape (Stuart Boyd photo)
Ship taking shape (Stuart Boyd photo)

Referring to the experiential and outdoor-education business, Boyd describes Norsvald as “Outward Bound for busy people.” Right now, his intention is to sail from Gloucester, and groups will sail for a day or half-day, he said.

Another element will deal with education, where technical, mathematical, or scientific concepts are shown in practice. “We’re taking the concepts taught in school and applying them in a non-classroom environment,” Boyd said.

Four people are working on the project, including Boyd, who is full-time on it.

Asked how much all of this was costing, he declined to disclose the number. Smiling, he replied, “It’s a scary enough project.”

But his goal is to build a business, educate people and form teams. “I want the folks in Denmark to be proud of this,” he said.

Bob Taber

A troika can give a group dynamic, productive leadership. One did that for the Class and San Francisco’s Fleet 17 in the ’70’s with Kirk Smith, Jim McCray and Joe Madrigali supplying elbow grease. Now, the other coast has a similar triumvirate at Fleet 35 on Narragansett Bay. Bob Taber is the official lifetime Fleet Captain, and at 83, he delegates a portion of the heavy administrative process and propaganda to Fred Bieberbach and Paul Bestoso so that he can concentrate on what he has done so well for the past 25 years, creating an environment where everyone, young, old, competitive and laid back can meet on an equal, low cost basis to enjoy the water.

As Chairman of his Narragansett Terrace Yacht Club’s junior sailing program, which he helped organize and fund, he has introduced as many as 35 youngsters a year into a lifetime sport. He served as prime mover and builder for the club’s White Horse Dinghy frostbite fleet. The White Horse, designed by another club regular, Justin Wood, sails every winter Sunday with all ages, including Bob who can still jump in and out of the eight footer. He was instrumental in establishing several special cruising, fun type races to a number of Narragansett Bay locations, at two of which, Comminute Lighthouse and Prudence Island, his club maintains moorings.

Bob enjoys a constant hunt for ‘fixer-upper’ Rhodes to add to the fleet. One of the prime conditions for introduction to his finds is that the potential owner agrees to race.

Bob’s creed that sailing should occupy every spare moment of one’s idle time was acquired over three quarters of a century on or near the water. With the exception of a WWII hitch in the Navy, keeping B-24s flying in the Pacific, the lifetime has been spent on the upper reaches of Narragansett Bay. At eight, off Pomham Light, in a wooden skiff with a blanket for a sail, he taught himself how to use wind and current to move a boat. Another introduction of this era was the Thompson sub-machine gun, seen by moonlight in the hands of local law men as they supervised the off loading of the region’s prohibition era products. Fortunately for future generations of sailors, no one spotted the awed eight year old as he peered through bushes.

Over the ensuing years, he helmed a gamut of craft ranging from RI Governor William H. Vanderbilt’s 72-foot motor yacht through large cruising schooners; various small one designs such as the Rhodes and Newport 24s; hot boats such as trimirans and wind surfers; DN Ice Boats and, finally, the White Horse. He gained the knowledge and elusive touch that have enabled him to maintain a distinctive competitive sailing edge well into his eighties.

Competition is just one contribution he makes to sailing. For years, he has acted as a sentinel from his home on a spot looking out on Bullock Cove and upper Narragansett Bay. When spying a boater in trouble, he scrambles into his skiff to lend a hand. His caring concern for others is operable on land as well. A gauge of a man’s esteem is the number and quality of personal anecdotes that his peers circulate about him. The following will give one an accurate reading.

Back when the Class ok’d racing without jumpers, Bob was noticed sailing Butterfly with empty upper sockets. Someone asked if he did it to save weight or to cut windage, and he replied, “The damn overhead door caught em and knocked em off.” Recently, his pals’ curiosity was fired by a newly acquired Mazda RX7 of dubious vintage. When asked if he was going cruising for chicks, he replied, “Heck no, I’m going to use its Wankel Engine to power the seaplane I’m building.”

Such a treasured Swamp Yankee cannot be evolved by the simple interaction of peers, the service and the sea. A catalyst to forge these into a finished being is needed. In Bob’s case, she was Alicia, his wife of 51 years, whose loss during a Thursday evening race was chronicled in the Providence Journal. A reprint can be found in the Spring 2001 Mainsheet. The first woman commodore in Rhode Island, she enjoyed sailing as much as Bob. He feels her absence deeply , but continues the sport they enjoyed together. To abandon it would be disrespectful.

John and Denise Economides

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.

Economides1_smallJohn 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 Economides2graduated 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.

Steve Uhl

Steve Uhl of Fleet 5

By Fred Brehob

So you’re wondering how that mild mannered guy with the winning smile plopped down in our midst and immediately began jumping over the competitive buildings with a single bound. Well friends, Fleet Five members and others, your days of wondering are over. Now it can be told. Fleet Five Captain Steve Uhl has an immense sailing pedigree.

His dad, Bill Uhl, with Steve’s mom as crew, cut a swath in the Lightning Class during the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s. The highlight of their competitions was a second place at the International Lightning Class Worlds in 1958. Steve was born in 1962 when they were still tearing up the waters of Great Peconic Bay, so there is little doubt that his introduction to the sport was in utero. This is certainly a more comfortable and safe platform than an Opti.


We don’t want to trigger an investigation, but the word is that after Steve’s 1962 launching, mom and dad would solve the late or missing third crew problem by strapping in their prize forward of the centerboard trunk where he got his introduction to sail trim, and weaned himself on belaying pins used to secure the Lightning’s halyards. Steve’s earliest memories are of trailing the boat to various regattas around the country to places like Milwaukee, Schenectady, Red Bank, Quantico, Buffalo, etc. from their Port Washington, New York home.

Upon reaching the ripe old age of nine, he found himself in a more formal setting, the junior sailing program at the Cold Springs Harbor Beach Club on Long Island. There, he began his formal training in Blue Jays. At eleven, he won the last Long Island Sound Novice Open Championship in this boat. Subsequently, he moved up to Lasers. If all of the preceding weren’t enough, his sailing touch was further polished when he began flying lessons in 1980. This second hobby continues to the present out of Beverly Airport.

At college decision time, there was only one choice, MIT. The academics in Aeronautics and Astronautics were his prime interest, but the real clincher was the sailing program under the inspirational leadership of Hatch Brown. It was great fun to finish classes each weekday at four and then beat it down to the Institute’s Charles River boathouse for two and a half hours of intense sailing competition.

Steve’s parents moved to New Hampshire. There, he spent a summer as a sailing coach at Sunapee Yacht Club. After graduating from MIT, he accepted a position with Pratt and Whitney at Hartford, Connecticut where he enjoyed frostbiting in Lasers and a brief stint distance racing. In 1987, he enrolled at Dartmouth’s Amos Tuck business school and after graduating, moved to San Francisco. While establishing himself in consulting work, he let sailing slide.

UhlThorntonA 1992 opportunity to move back east with his company was a godsend with Marblehead as a magnet. There he met wife Jennifer, a non-sailing college dance professor. Their romance survived a January Interclub Dinghy dunking at Essex, Connecticut and they became parents to two delightful sons,Thornton and Clark who at 7 and 6 are continuing the Uhl sailing tradition by crewing.

Steve’s interest in the Rhodes 19 as an affordable, more forgiving, family friendly Marblehead class with an active racing fleet blossomed in 1999. And thanks to Bill and Kera Dalton and Kim Pandapas he found the good ship Woodstock. In addition to his challenging Fleet 5 Captain’s duties of finding and welcoming new members, he is chairing the 2003 National Regatta Committee.

For those keeping score, he has endured a 29 year regatta championship drought. So look out for him in August if the rest of the committee can shoulder enough of the Regatta planning load to allow him to think a little about the actual competition.

Mike Rouzee

Mike Rouzee, Captain Fleet 49–Savannah, GA
A Firm, Yare Hand at The Helm

by Fred Brehob

In establishing a sailing program for a mature, sophisticated group you pay attention to values. Mike Rouzee, founder – captain of our latest fleet, #49, at Skidaway Island, near Savannah, Georgia, is ideal for such a task. He devoted his career on Wall Street to defining and optimizing values as Partner and Managing Partner of an Investment Management and Merchant Banking business. As a plus, his sailing experience encompasses over 50 years in one designs, ocean racers and board boats.

rouzee1Small wonder then that after considering a number of other boats, he picked the Rhodes 19. The fleet is sited at The Landings, a private development community on a barrier island located on the Atlantic coastal area least likely to be hit by a tropical storm. They have seven boats that are used frequently by three person crews and they hope to send at least two to the Nationals and to eventually host the event

Mike began sailing in Lima Peru in 1946 where his dad was US Naval Attaché. When the family returned to the US in 1947, he began progressing through Blue Jays, Thistles and Lightnings. During college, Dartmouth ’62, and while subsequently serving with the Marine Corps and establishing himself in business, he reduced sailing to informal catch as catch can outings on sunfish and lasers.

During these years, his challenge and excitement quotas were filled gaining a sound education, serving the Corps at Guantanamo during the Cuban Missile Crisis and charting the intricate course patterns of financial currents.

Fortunately, he had the luck and good taste to encounter and marry in 1963 another sailor, Debbie, who grew up on Long Island in Blue Jays at Manhasset Bay Yacht Club. Sometime after establishing his career and starting a two daughter family with her, Mike reanswered the wind’s call. This second visitation was conducted in somewhat larger craft and featured a gratifying measure of success.

He achieved first in class with a second and a third in Marion-Bermuda races and a first in the 1999 Charlestown-Bermuda Race. In addition, Mike has crossed the Atlantic twice, sailed from New England to the British Virgin Islands four times and to the Bahamas twice. His northern most accomplishment is Newfoundland with Guadeloupe for the southern. He is celestially certified and while he still loves sailing, he also enjoys skiing and golf. He has served on the board of several companies and has managed finances for charities, churches and a congresswoman.

In 1998, with daughters well established, a successful, satisfying career history, grandsons and a number of time-demanding outside interests, he retired to enjoy the fruits. This decision was chronicled in the April 13 Barron’sof that year where he likened his investment state in the Market’s volatile late ‘90s to that of a bowman on a Sydney-Hobart racer in 30 knots with flare gun at the ready for an instantaneous incendiary spinnaker douse. In a real sense, his decision was sound as his company was headquartered at tower one of the World Trade Center.

The fleet is pleased with the Rhodes’ value and performance. Immediate goals are attracting more participants and locating three more boats to justify a crane installation.

Dage Legier

The Seamen’s Bethel, a New Bedford, Massachusetts chapel, was built in 1832 by a group of that town’s leading citizens, concerned about the “arduous and licentious” lifestyles of the port’s whaling seamen. Immortalized by Herman Melville in Moby-Dick, the chapel was meant to uplift and comfort mariners in need.

DaveLegierHatIt was more or less effective, but times have changed and if you want to find an institution with results that make the Bethel look like a dim oil lamp flickering in the fog, travel to New Orleans and take in the glories of Chez Legier. Granted, you won’t find any colorful whalers or Gregory Peck spewing hell’s fire and damnation from the pulpit, as he did in the movie. What you will find is much better.

There will be a pack of parched Rhodes competitors with hosts Jane and Dave dispensing massive amounts of food, drink and hospitality. The surroundings, with pool and bordering park, will sooth your soul in ways that most mariners can only imagine. The results are so beneficial that some Yankees return time after time for long stays.

This has been going on since the ’80s’ and for those poor unfortunates who haven‘t felt the joy, host Dave is Dave Legier, Captain of Fleet 7 and Gulf Coast Governor. He began sailing in 1985 or so on Rhodes 19 “SNAFU,” with his brother Bill. An overnight grounded on Cat Island South in the Gulf on a Pearson 32 and the contagious enthusiasm of Fleet Seven’s members cured a brief fling with cruising boats. He purchased SNAFU in 1989 and from there his sailing has followed a predictable learning curve.
There have been two capsizes in thunder squalls, crewing stints with other fleet seven sailors and introductions to the thrills of trailing to distant points. Dave trailed Vitesse, nee SNAFU, to Marblehead in 1996 and 2000 as well as to Hingham in 2001 where he provided post 9/11 return transportation to other New Orleans participants. He won the Don Quixote trophy in 1999 on the Lake.

Dave_and_JaneThe boat‘s name change from a WWII acronym signifying stupid chaos to the French term for quickness in order to inspire those on board is the best clue to Dave’s rounded personality. He is a man of many parts. Growing up in New Orleans he attended its Catholic school system through high school. After obtaining a BS from Southeastern Louisiana University, he worked for six months in Quality Assurance for Shell Oil before being gobbled up in the U.S. Army’s draft.

He survived his two-year obligation, one of which was an infantry assignment with the First Cavalry Division in Vietnam and Cambodia. After his discharge, he returned to Shell in Texas, was moved back to New Orleans in 1973 and retired with 30 year’ service in 1998.

Dave’s post retirement years have been filled with creative professional and community service activities beyond Fleet 7. He is developing an historical and architectural tour guide for New Orleans business neighborhoods and conducts two French Quarter tours per month for The Friends of the Cabildo, volunteers for the Louisiana State Museum.

Other volunteer activities include board membership for Girls and Boys Town that maintains four group homes and two shelters for runaway – cast off kids in New Orleans. Dave also serves on the alumni board of his New Orleans high school. During our interview for this profile he was psyching himself for carnival that he celebrates each year by parading with the Krewe of Okeanos, a family oriented float organization, and with a more outrageous collection, Krewe du Vieux that marches in the original Mardis Gras style on foot.

Since 1999, David has been indulging his passion for black and white fine arts photography with classes at the New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts. A subliminal wish to be a veterinarian got lost in Vietnam and because of the economic imperatives after it. Oh well, hosting sailors is close enough.

The goal of continuing Fleet 7’s growth in numbers with enhanced racing and camaraderie is complicated by today’s demanding commitments to work and life complexities. Finding fixer-upper boats for new recruits is a constant challenge. Dave is dedicated to strengthening the Rhodes Gulf Coast Region by enhancing ties between New Orleans and Fairhope’s Fleet 4.

David’s spare time from all of this is spent with wife Jane and their Basset Hound, Duchesse, at their Exposition Boulevard home or roughing it in their Gulf Coast cottage. David feels “truly blessed” with a wonderful, loving family and great friends. If you’re ever lucky enough to spend some time in his gourmet New Orleans kitchen, get the secrets to his Cold Water Coffee and the esoteric cult names for an array of ever hotter Tabasco sauces that grace it.

RIch Witherspoon

Rich Witherspoon, Captain Fleet 12 at Chicago’s Corinthian Yacht Club, was baptized into yachting, literally and informally via the pre-Dr. Spock, method of the early twentieth century. When he was five, his dad pitched him from a rowboat into Indiana’s Hudson Lake telling him to swim to shore. Fortunately, he made it intact and developed an intense love of things aquatic. For several summers, he and his buddies freely roamed the lake, rafting, sailing or out boarding any buoyant item they could cobble into a boat. Logs, discarded inner tubes and derelict ex-row boats, regardless of condition were fair game.

Rich is a general contractor, specializing in restoring Chicago’s older houses for up scale owners, demanding perfection. His renovation drive is a perfect fit for Fleet 12’s needs. When Rich came on the scene in 1999, a typical starting line off Montrose Harbor had three or four boats. Now, most club races have twenty or more competitors. He attributes the increase to recruiting more boat owners and encouraging them to sail with two crewmembers. The new alignment is symbiotic. Rich improves the fleet and the fleet activities give him respite from his clients’ demands.

Fleet 12 needed Rich’s talents and energy prior to 1999, but he had been busy learning, establishing himself and growing a family. In 1995 at a “tender” 47, he realized that there might be fun on that big, beautiful body of water out there. The American Youth Hostel program beckoned so he took two lessons in Rhodes 19’s.

Sailing was an instant hit and he immersed himself in grandiose plans, books and videos on cruising boat construction and ocean crossings. Family and business demands surfaced with a frequency that frustrated Rich’s sailing dreams; however, they continued sporadically. One day while totally lost in a mad hunt for a client, he turned around in a Palatine, Illinois driveway where he finally found peace and Harmony. There she was, an abandoned R19, sitting with her bow pointing skyward with hundreds of pounds of water and ice in her stern, a perfect candidate for restoration.

Two weeks passed before he found the courage to inform his wife Cynthia, a Bedford, Massachusetts native, who is seasick prone, of their new child. Harmony’s restoration went well. Soon, day sailing along the Chicago shore became old. Rich still dreamed of long distance treks such as crossing Lake Michigan in Harmony, but settled for the mysteries of one design racing with the then struggling Fleet 12.

Bow Lingle, Fleet Captain, immediately recognized and tapped the creative talent that had crossed his bow. He enlisted Rich to help grow the fleet. They combed boat ads, drummed up potential owner interest and offered rigging and racing assistance. Rich travels to Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana to locate and trail boats back to Montrose.

Their efforts have paid off. A critical mass has been reached. Inquiries about their program from other Chicago harbors and other one design fleets are on the increase. Rich has recruited other Montrose fleets, Lightnings, Vanguard-15’s, Lasers, Thistles and 110’s to aid in promoting the club and to fend off the potentially disastrous effect of a for profit raptor, Westrec. This company holds a contract to run Chicago’s harbors and they covet CCYC’s dry sailing compound.

Rich has three children and one grandchild. He finds racing challenging, but fun. He attended the 1999 Nationals where, in addition to sailing experience and enjoyment; he gained a new boat name. He never liked “Harmony,” but was too busy to concoct another. As he completed a crash tack in one race’s hairy conditions, he heard an outraged bayou wail, “Hahmony youhre too close.” As part of this winter’s total refit for the 2003 Nationals in Marblehead, the boat’s transom will be adorned with the new name, Hominy. We aren’t certain that the new moniker is an improvement, but we are sure that Rich can be counted on for the grit(s).

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!”