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Hall of Fame 2018, David Rearick


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.

Read more: Hall of Fame 2018, David Rearick

Hall of Fame 2018, Gary C. Comer


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. 

Read more: Hall of Fame 2018, Gary C. Comer

Hall of Fame 2014, Gene T. McCarthy

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.

Read more: Hall of Fame 2014, Gene T. McCarthy

Hall of Fame 2015, Jerry Miarecki

GerryMiareckiJerry Miarecki, of Chicago Yacht Club and Jackson Park Yacht Club in Chicago, Illinois, has a long and distinguished record of service and accomplishments in the Lake Michigan sailing and sail racing community.

Jerry got his start in sailing in the late 1960’s, when he purchased a small, Styrofoam boat from the Sears, Roebuck and Company store on West North Avenue in Chicago. As time passed, Jerry eventually moved on from daysailers and stepped into keel boats: a Bristol 22, a Bristol 26, and an Ericson 35. The Ericson 35, Providence, was acquired in 1981 and remains the family craft to this day.

Read more: Hall of Fame 2015, Jerry Miarecki

Hall of Fame 2016, Rich Reichelsdorfer


Richard Reichelsdorfer, popularly known as Rich, was born March 3, 1968 into a sailing family. Cruising with his family at an early age and sailing and racing with the Sheboygan Sea Scouts he learned early on the pleasure of sailing and racing. Rich learned the rules of sail racing and practiced them, earning the respect of his competitors and observers. He has dedicated his life to the sport.

At every opportunity to advance sail racing in Sheboygan he was at the front making it happen. He was the First Director of Sail Sheboygan and is the current Director of Sailing Education Association of Sheboygan. Additionally, Rich is a national race officer, having served the 2011 Nations Cup, the IFDS Blind World Match Racing Championship, the 2014 Lightning North American Championship and the Buddy Melges Challenge, a part of the Women’s International Match Racing Series. His work with the Blind World Match Racing Championship inspired IFDS to make significant changes to future blind match racing events.

Read more: Hall of Fame 2016, Rich Reichelsdorfer

Hall of Fame 2016, William L. Bluhm

WilliamBluhm-2     BillBluhm

Where many sailors joined the sailing fraternity as kids or teenagers, William L. Bluhm began his sailing career in his late twenties. After two tours in the United States Navy and acquiring his education at the University of Michigan, majoring in education and administration, he located in the Detroit, Michigan, area to begin his business career in 1961. He was invited to sail on Lake St. Clair, which he relished and being recognized as a good crew, he sailed on a C&C 34 in Port Huron to Mackinac races quite a few times.

Having married and having two sons he hoped would join sailing, Bill moved to Pentwater, Michigan, in 1970. He immediately joined Pentwater Yacht Club, joined committees, and became involved with the Lightning and Sunfish fleets. Bill and his two sons raced regularly in the two fleets. His leadership qualities were recognized early on, both on the water and in the community. He finished his business career as Superintendent of Pentwater Schools.

Read more: Hall of Fame 2016, William L. Bluhm

Hall of Fame 2014, Donald R. Wilson

As a trader, Don Wilson's success has been made in developing the strategies and tactics necessary to understand and outmaneuver others in the highly competitive financial markets. So, it's no wonder Wilson has also found success in his life-long passion for competitive sailing, where these concepts are also in constant use, especially so in match race sailing. This most aggressive form of the sport resembles gladiatorial combat, where two teams in command of equally matched boats face off against each other in a head-to-head struggle to win at all costs ... because in this game, there is no second place.

Read more: Hall of Fame 2014, Donald R. Wilson

Hall of Fame 2013, Lynn Williams

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Lynn Williams, born January 6, 1909, had no realization of the impact he would have on the sport of sail racing. Williams graduated from Yale University in Spring 1929, then went to Harvard University and acquired in law degree in 1931. Feeling the want of more understanding of mechanics, he went to Massachusetts Institute of Technology, receiving a degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1932. While drinking in all this education and knowledge, he spent time cruising in his father's motor yacht in the northern Great Lakes. Williams' father built and owned the Alden schooner Elizabeth in 1928, which began his development in the sport of sailing.

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Hall of Fame 2013, Jack Kelley

If you wanted an individual to plan and execute a sailing event, you turned to Jack Kelley. He had some limited cruising experience, when, in 1971, he bought his first sailboat, an Alberg Typhoon keelboat. He later bought a Pearson Triton and ventured into offshore racing – sailing the Triton in the 1981 William Tripp Memorial Race, now known as the Tripp Cup. His earlier training was demonstrated as he won his division and placed 2nd overall in this major East Coast of Lake Michigan event which went from Muskegon, MI, to Milwaukee, WI.

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