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.
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.
A young lady walked into the Chicago Yacht Club Belmont Station one day in the early 1980s, recently after the man had suffered a massive stroke. She was astounded at how people were reacting and the concern about the recovery of this man she had heard so much about. The respect and love that was exhibited by his competitors was overwhelming. She was taken aback by the esteem that his peers held him in—this man embraced his sport and was well respected by all his peers. It was only after learning of his amazing accomplishments and contributions to the sport of sailing that she finally understood why.
John was born into a family which had extensive experience with the waters of Lake Michigan. His father, Harvey, had been a commercial fisherman for many years on the lake before changing his life to become a real estate broker in Muskegon. Harvey, winner of many events himself, owned a series of boats named Romahajo on which John crewed until Harvey passed away. It was then that John began skippering his own boats. John was recognized early in his life that he knew what he was doing on a sailboat. Wally Stenhouse, owner of Aura, had John crew with him during Wally’s campaign to win the World Ocean Racing Championship and Chuck Kirsch, owner of Scaramouche, had John aboard when Chuck won the Southern Ocean Racing Circuit, these adventures occurring in the 60’s.