Gene’s long life has allowed him to contribute a great deal of time to administer and improve the sport of sail racing. He was race chairman for the 1959 Pan American Sailing Games, chair of the 1964 North American Star Class Championship, was Commodore of the Lake Michigan Yachting Association, was a founder and first Commodore of the Lake Michigan Sail Racing Federation and a continuous Director of same for 34 years. He has served as President of the Yacht Racing Union of the Great Lakes, a member of the Board of Directors of US Sailing. Gene has served on US Sailing’s National Offshore Council, Safety At Sea Committee and Legal Committee. He was race chairman of the first two National Sea Explorer Championships.
He has served as Rear Commodore of Jackson Park Yacht Club, assisted in the creation of the Double Goat Trophy recognizing those who have raced both the Chicago to Mackinac and Port Huron to Mackinac offshore races at least 25 times. He is a US Sailing Certified Judge, a member of Chicago Yacht Club’s protest committee. He has served on the Lake Michigan Sail Racing's Appeals Committee.
Gene has been or is a member of Chicago Yacht Club, Jackson Park Yacht Club, Paw Paw Lake Yacht Club, Little Traverse Yacht Club and the Royal Hawaiian Ocean Racing Club, serving on over 18 committees of these clubs.
Two non-sailing activities in which he has been involved include the creation of the original Regatta Liability insurance program for US Sailing. Two racing sailors drowned in Long Island Sound and their widows sued the sponsoring yacht club. It was thought that the General Liability insurance would cover this matter. It did not. Sailboat racing was threatened, as club boards did not want to serve exposing their estates to loss. The President of US Sailing asked Gene to solve this problem. He did, and US Sailing club membership went from 350 to over 900 clubs. The other activity was bringing the Milwaukee Clipper, a 345’ cruise ship, to Navy Pier, which started the modern cruise boat industry at the Pier in Chicago.
His sail racing career has included winning the Star Class Great Lakes Championship 3 times, Winning the Southern Ocean Racing Conference on Red Jacket (the boat which gave C&C Yachts a big boost), Sailed 17 Southern Ocean Racing Conference series, 61 Chicago to Mackinac races, and 30 Port Huron to Mackinac races.
Gene has won 10 section prizes in owned boats and a total of 27 in all Mackinac races; had the privilege to win Chicago Yachting Association's Boat Of The Year sailing aboard the sloop Gypsy, out of Milwaukee. He has won the Match Racing Championship of Lake Michigan six times, the Queen’s Cup, the 100 Miler, and many Lake Michigan Sail Racing Federation Area III races.
Gene, at lunches with Marshall Kissel and Fran Bryne, created the concept of the Chicago Yachting Association to bring together the Chicago area yacht clubs for the purpose of holding a combined winner’s dinner for all the clubs.
In 2007 he asked the Board of Directors of Lake Michigan Sail Racing Federation to create the Lake Michigan Sailing Hall Of Fame. The Board agreed and the Hall had its first inductee in 2008. Gene chairs this Lake Michigan Sail Racing Federation committee and works tirelessly to get clubs to nominate their candidates for recognition. “We want to remember the individuals who have brought our sport to so many,” he stated.
The Lake Michigan Sail Racing Federation is honored to induct Gene T. McCarthy into the Lake Michigan Sailing Hall of Fame.
November 13, 2014
Chicago Yacht Club, Monroe Station