Jean and Don Bergman met in the mid-1970s at Sheridan Shore Yacht Club in Wilmette, Illinois. Each had been involved in the sport of sailing for many years before: Jean as Director of Winnetka Yacht Club’s Junior Fleet sailing program and Don’s exposure from his father’s involvement as a founder of Sheridan Shore Yacht Club.
They married in 1976 and established their home in Winnetka, Illinois. They were very active in Winnetka Yacht Club activities, being key players in the “Super Sail Regatta” and club planning. Sailing off the beach was very popular and the Bergmans were leaders in this formation. Jean was Chair of the 1985 Sunfish Womens North American Championship sailed on Lake Michigan off Winnetka.
Many different stories are told describing what brought people to the sport of sailing. Here’s another. Seymour Padnos’ father traded a wood planer to Jesiek Brothers shipyard in exchange for a wooden boat from a fleet being constructed by Jesiek’s. Seymour and his brother joined Macatawa Bay Yacht Club in 1938 to begin their sailing careers. After World War II they bought a Tripp 33 designed Medalist from Peter Grimm of Chicago. This began Seymour’s uninterrupted involvement in sail racing that lasted for over 76 years.
Seymour recognized that sailing was an activity which was clean, safe and worthy of life-long involvement. He led local development of youth sail training at Bay Haven (now Bayshore Yacht Club), facilitating the construction of a fleet of wooden Optimist dinghies in 1959. He freely gave his time serving the Lake Michigan Yacht Association, eventually serving as Commodore of the sail fleet. Continuing service to the sport, he was nominated as Rear Commodore of Macatawa Bay Yacht Club, continuing on to Commodore in 1970.
The state of Ohio lost the talents of Tom Atkins in 1987 when he elected to move to Sheboygan, Wisconsin. He had started a Junior sailing program at Toledo Country Club, helped initiate the University of Toledo Sailing Club, and established a sailing program for the Aquatics Department at the University of Pittsburgh.
In Sheboygan in 1989 he established his own marketing business, using his skills successfully and applying those skills to create, improve and manage sailing programs. Sheboygan Yacht Club’s Commodore asked Tom to Chair a committee to start a Junior sailing program. This entailed setting a budget, financing, fundraising, sponsorship, site location, and establishment of a 501(c)(3) Foundation. Initially, the Foundation acquired a fleet of ten Optimist Dinghies. The organization matured into the Sheboygan Youth Sailing Club, which now has fleets of J/24s, Lightnings, 420s, Lasers, a high school sailing team, and adult sailing lessons, now serving several hundred people per season.
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.
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.
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.