Many different stories are told describing what brought people to the sport of sailing. Here’s another. Seymour Padnos’ father traded a wood planer to Jesiek Brothers shipyard in exchange for a wooden boat from a fleet being constructed by Jesiek’s. Seymour and his brother joined Macatawa Bay Yacht Club in 1938 to begin their sailing careers. After World War II they bought a Tripp 33 designed Medalist from Peter Grimm of Chicago. This began Seymour’s uninterrupted involvement in sail racing that lasted for over 76 years.
Seymour recognized that sailing was an activity which was clean, safe and worthy of life-long involvement. He led local development of youth sail training at Bay Haven (now Bayshore Yacht Club), facilitating the construction of a fleet of wooden Optimist dinghies in 1959. He freely gave his time serving the Lake Michigan Yacht Association, eventually serving as Commodore of the sail fleet. Continuing service to the sport, he was nominated as Rear Commodore of Macatawa Bay Yacht Club, continuing on to Commodore in 1970.
Seymour saw the benefit of offshore one-design racing and joined the original owners in creating the North American 40 offshore class which was composed of sail racers from Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, and Lake St. Clair. Many in his crew, including Billy Chamberlin, Brett Reed, Doug Reed, and Willard Westrate, went on to successful sailing careers.
Seymour’s philanthropy to boating is remarkable. He wished to form a Sea Scout program in South Haven. He financed the “Padnos Boat Shed” on the Michigan Maritime Museum campus to initiate this group. Seymour and other family members contributed to the expansion of this campus, which funds support maintenance of the boats and campus. Seymour provided an endowment fund for the Hope College Sailing Team which is set up to cover the expenses of first-time collegiate racers above what the college can provide.
Seymour sold his North American 40, Scrappy, in 2014, ending his active involvement in racing. However, he kept tabs on his children’s and grandchildren’s activity in the sport.
The Board of Directors of Lake Michigan Sail Racing Federation welcomes Seymour Padnos into the Lake Michigan Sailing Hall of Fame.
October 10, 2020
Seymour Padnos was nominated by the Board of Directors of Macatawa Bay Yacht Club to the Lake Michigan Sailing Hall of Fame.