Richard “Dick” Rodseth, like so many others, began his sailing career as a young boy in the Chicagoland area as a crew member. As he matured he retained the knowledge of each adventure aboard which was preparing him for one of the most successful sail racing programs on Lakes Michigan and Huron. He was also preparing himself for a very successful business career.
His success in business allowed him to enter the stage of sailboat ownership. He bought Bangalor and raced it a few years. He moved on to various sailboats which were named Vagary. His last vessel was a Peterson 43 which he purchased and was delivered with only the hull, a deck and bulkheads. Dick finished this Vagary to his own specifications, helped by digging a hole big enough to hold the vessel so he could walk from yard surface onto the deck of the boat.
Dick relocated himself, family and business to West Michigan in 1983 and joined Muskegon Yacht Club. There he introduced many young people to the sport of sailing and racing. Some of those persons became regulars in his crew. He was intense about his sail racing, never stopping until Vagary crossed the finish line or the time limit was reached.
Vagary was raced in practically every scheduled race on Lake Michigan. From 1975 through 2000, of 130 races he entered, Vagary was either first, second or third, except for five of those races where Vagary was fourth. Vagary finished first overall in the Chicago to Mackinac Race one year, only to be penalized for not having a spare tiller. Dick had fabricated Vagary’s tiller out of aluminum, strong enough to lift the boat if needed. The judges refused to inspect and consider the strength of the tiller. Dick was terribly hurt by this action.
Dick was always willing and able to help any sailor who had a problem with repairs to their vessels. He was renowned with his knowledge and generosity.
Shortly after Dick passed in January, 2001, the Dwight Lawrence family and the Rodseth family donated a 1905 Mackinac Race trophy and funds to create the Master Mariner Award, which honors those individuals who have raced 50 or more Chicago to Mackinac sail races. This trophy, managed by the Island Goats Sailing Society, is awarded annually to those who reach this pinnacle.
Dick would congratulate and welcome others who succeeded in racing, a very gracious loser. His life love was all about sail racing. Few have advanced the sport as much as Dick did.
It is an honor to induct Richard “Dick” Rodseth into the Lake Michigan Sailing Hall of Fame.
July 27, 2019
Richard “Dick” Rodseth was nominated by the Board of Directors of Muskegon Yacht Club to the Lake Michigan Sailing Hall of Fame.