Jerry O’Neill has had an outstanding sail racing career. He has competed in 48 Chicago to Mackinac Sail Races as of 2019. Of those races he has won Overall four times and has accomplished twelve first in Section wins. In his 50 plus years of racing on Lake Michigan he has won the National Offshore One-Design-Chicago Regatta, The Verve Cup Regatta and Boat of the Year. He has been victorious in many other LMSRF Area 3 races through the years.
Jerry has developed two generations of O’Neill’s as crew members and has mentored and developed many other persons into very capable crew members.
He is respected as a safety conscious skipper and an expert in his seamanship and possesses impeccable sportsmanship.
He reports that he is looking forward to competing for many more years, be the Good Lord willing.
December 11, 2019
Jerry O’Neill was nominated by the Board of Directors of Chicago Yacht Club to the Lake Michigan Sailing Hall of Fame.
Few of the inductees to the Lake Michigan Sailing Hall of Fame have had the opportunities to expose so many young people to sailing as Joseph "Joey" Harris. He was Director of Sailing for Columbia Yacht Club from 1993 to 2001, Head Sailing Coach at California Maritime Academy in 2001, Director of Sailing at St. Francis Yacht Club in 2002 and 2003, Director of Sailing at Grosse Pointe Yacht Club from 2003 to 2005, Director of Sailing for the City of Lake Forest from 2005 to 2009 and became the Manager of Sailing for the Chicago Park District in 2009 continuing through this date.
These opportunities had an inauspicious beginning. Joey’s mother, a Chicago school teacher, decided to teach summer school when Joey was about 10 years of age. To keep him on the good road, she enrolled him in the Columbia Yacht Club’s junior sailing program. Although trying hard, in the final race of the season Joey placed last. Beginning that fall he read every book about sailing he could find. In the following season’s championship he beat all other students. This action began his sailing career.
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.
Jere Sullivan’s heritage propelled him into a life oriented around water. His grandfather captained a three-masted schooner, Moonlight, which won a race against another schooner, Porter, in 1880. The race went from Buffalo, New York, to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, averaging 15 knots across the course. His grandfather established the Gartland Steamship Company in Chicago, Illinois. Jere was brought to the bridge of the owned vessels at a very young age, installing the desire to be active on the water for his entire life. His family migrated from Milwaukee to Cleveland, Ohio, where Jere started his sailing career. He sailed in Comets, Stars and R Boats out of Cleveland Yachting Club. In 1965 and 1966 he won the Yacht Racing Union of the Great Lakes’ Richardson Cup championship, sailing for the Inter-Lake Yachting Association.
Helen “Cookie” Mueller and John Archibald are an amazing couple who have increased sailing and sail racing on Lake Michigan for over 30 years.
Upon their arrival in Milwaukee for John’s employment, they both joined South Shore Yacht Club at different times to continue their enjoyment of sailing on Lake Michigan. John volunteered to help the race committee and Cookie became involved in the South Shore Yacht Club Junior program.
John and Cookie co-own a cruising sailboat, Tardis, a Cal 43. They race it often in Milwaukee area offshore races.
Born August 21, 1928, Lindy Thomas did not have the privilege to begin as a youth in sailboat racing. He began his sailing career at age 23, but that did not keep him from being very successful in this field.
Lindy started out in Seagulls, then progressively moved up through Arrows, Snipes, Dolphins, Flying Scots, Yankees, Solings, then the Tartan 10, Thomas 35, Tripp 47, Nelson/Marek 50, and finally an Andrews 70; most of them named Goblin. He has won trophies in most of the events in which he has raced: 24 of 41 Chicago to Mackinac races, 7 of 18 Port Huron to Mackinac races, Tartan 10 Nationals in 1978, three Tartan 10 Midwinter Championships and the 1975 Centennial Race from Port Huron to Chicago in his division by over 5 hours. Lindy’s vessels have been Lake Michigan’s Sail Racing Federation’s Area III Boat of the Year 16 times. His many victories in the seasonal LMSRF Area III races are too numerous to detail here.
John Hoskins’ contributions to local sailing clubs seems tireless, serving in many different positions and always trying to improve members’ participation, while emphasizing fun sailing and making new friends to encourage new sailors to participate. He has served as Sail Racing Chair and Commodore of Anchorage Yacht Club, of Lake Forest, Illinois, and is a lifetime member and is a past President of the Great Lakes Singlehanded Society. He has been a US Sailing certified Sailing Instructor and Sailing Instructor for Instructors.
With just a few other members of the Anchorage Yacht Club, John helped with the development of a racing program that has increased participation and learning for the entire fleet. Within the time span of six years, between 2008 and 2014, this effort increased the weekly participation from an average of ten boats to an average of more than thirty boats on the starting line each week. He helped the club implement a set of Saturday distance races called “Solo/Double” each season to provide opportunity for shorthanded sailors to race with the club. Due to their popularity and the attraction of distance racing, in 2013 the club added an additional section for full crewed boats and now these races are called “All-or-One” to include solo, double-handed and fully crewed boats. In 2013, John collaborated with a sister club to create “Big Fleet Races” which provided more opportunities for racing and friendships amongst sailors in Waukegan Harbor. John has offered many suggestions on race course setup and sailing instructions to enable ease of race management and racer participation.
Since David Rearick was a 12-year-old boy, a major part of his life has revolved around sailing. Once he experienced the joy of being around water, he immersed himself in learning how boats harness the wind and waves. He had big dreams and got involved in local races, setting courses, encouraging others, and creating opportunities for people to learn and to race. His focus expanded from races hosted by Michigan City Yacht Club, Michigan City, Indiana, to those held across the Great Lakes, encompassing crewed and solo opportunities.
Dave has sailed Sunfish, Hobie Cats, Lasers, J/24s, Open 50s, Class 40s as well open pulling boats, large schooners and many other sailing vessels. Dave is most often associated with the well-known boat Geronimo, and more recently, with the J/V 67 Defiance.
A continual leaner, he became a good project manager, whose approach helped streamline race management, boat management and racing campaigns. When he lost his good friend Mike Silverthorne during the 2002 Lake Michigan Solo Scramble, he advocated for stronger communication and safety standards for solo races.
Gary Comer was born December 10, 1927, into a family of very modest means residing on the south side of Chicago near Jackson Park Harbor. As young people will do, he explored his area and found the waterfront of Lake Michigan and the harbor. He hung around the Jackson Park Harbor, offering his help to anyone desiring assistance in cleaning or moving their boat. Edgar “Bud” Tohlman, owner of the 46’ sailboat Taltona, asked Gary to be of help to him one day and that led to Gary and Bud sailing together for 20 years. Bud wanted Gary to learn how to sail and gave him a small sailing dinghy. Gary proved to have natural talent and excelled in sailing the dinghy.
While doing his dinghy sailing, Gary saw that the Star Class sailing fleet was active and interesting. He found the means to buy a Star and began a very successful career racing Star boats. All the Stars were moored in the water in the harbor. Gary went to the Chicago Park District (CPD), who controlled and issued permits to moor, to seek permission to install a small boat hoist immediately north of the harbor parking lot. This area was full of weeds and scrub bushes which when cleared could hold about 12 Star boats on their trailers. Gary convinced the CPD to allow this. This became the first “dry sailing storage lot” which set the stage for the CPD to open such areas in all harbors. This improvement led the Star Class to become the largest one design class sailing on the Great Lakes.
While this was occurring, Gary was honing his racing skills, winning the Great Lakes Star Championship in 1953 and 1954. He won the Tulip Tune Up in 1955. Finally, with a good boat and new sails, in 1959 Gary won the Star North American Championship, placed 2nd in the Star World Championship, and won the Bronze Medal in the Star Class in the Pan American Games.
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.