Louis Sandoval has had two elements to his career in the sport of sailing – professional and volunteer – on Lake Michigan. Having learned the arts of business in the Biotech and Pharmaceutical industries, he established the marine dealership, Karma Yacht Sales. As a dealer for Beneteau Yachts he sold 41 Beneteau First 36.7 yachts and 16 Beneteau First 40.7 yachts. The Beneteau First 36.7 fleet is the largest offshore one-design yacht fleet globally and one of the largest to this day on LakeMichigan. His dealership’s sales activity made him a perennial winner of Beneteau President’s Top Gun Award for exemplary sales and service. Through service on the North American Dealer advisory council- Sandoval was influential in the product design and offering for the North American market for Groupe Beneteau.
He was awarded the Maestro Award for Entrepreneurship by Latino Leaders Magazine in 2018.
Lou served as a Fleet Officer of the Beneteau First 36.7 Fleet and was Chair of the 2004 and 2008 Beneteau First 36.7 North American Championships.
He was named to the Whitney Young Award by the Boy Scouts of America in 2015 for his service and impact to diverse and underserved communities.
Lou was winner of the Boating Industry Movers and Shakers Award in 2013-recognition for his involvement on numerous industry boards and councils including Sail America, Yacht Brokers Association of America, Recreational Boating Leadership Council and the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation.
Louis Sandoval’s volunteerism is even greater. He created the Diversity and Inclusion strategy for US Sailing, implemented in 2020. He was a contributor to the US Sailing REACH Program Instructor’s Guide for STEM education. He served as a Council Commissioner and Vice President of the Boy Scouts of America, leading a four-council merger into one and driving the council’s Hispanic Initiative to create outreach to underserved communities and reforming the Sea Scout program in Chicago during his seven years in the role.
Through his work with youth organizations Lou has created a pathway to the water for many Latinos through programs at Chicago Yacht Club and the Chicago Park District and continues to serve as an advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion to grow the sport of sailing.
At Chicago Yacht Club, Lou has served on the Board of Directors, as Chair of the Chicago-Mackinac Race Committee, and as Rear Commodore, Vice Commodore and Commodore. Lou’s steadfast leadership through the COVID-19 pandemic period helped keep the club viable, strong, and relevant.
Lou’s sailing record includes having competed in 21 Chicago-Mackinac races, two Transpacific Yacht Races, one Victoria-Maui Race, one Newport to Bermuda Race and many Lake Michigan sail races. Sandoval has nine section wins and numerous podium finishes in the Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac (eight aboard his yacht Karma and one on Eagle).
December 8, 2021
The Board of Directors of Lake Michigan Sail Racing Federation welcomes Louis Sandoval into the Lake Michigan Sailing Hall of Fame.