Nautical News November 2007- Vol. 109 No. 11

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We’ve reached the end of another sailing season, our 109th, and it has been a successful one.  We had our sad moments to be sure - the retirement of John Fairfield, and the untimely passing of Ken Reilly. It is necessary to stop and take stock when those unhappy moments occur, but we should not dwell on them. We must also remember our successes, and look toward the future. That’s what our predecessors would expect of us.

Recently we admitted to membership Romy Oeckel, who at twelve is our youngest member. Romy owns a Star 45, and competed in his first race, the last one of the season. He came in fourth. For years we have mused over the question of outreach to the younger members of our community. In Romy’s case, we have a model of how it can be done.

Romy’s mom, Barbara brought him to the lake, where he became fascinated with radio controlled sailing. That fascination and the brokering of Oscar Koechlin led to Romy’s purchase of the “Sea Weed,” a Star 45 built by Tony Marshall, and subsequently owned by John O’Brien. This summer, John moved to New Mexico, and had offered his boat for sale.

Unfortunately John had already packed his radio, and the “Sea Weed’s” rigging. The rigging was recovered from the moving van, but it had been damaged in the process. The radio, however, could not be immediately found. Re enter Oscar Koechlin, who met with the Oeckel’s at their home one Sunday. He repaired the minor damage to the rigging and gave some sound advice on new radio gear, which he subsequently installed. Exit Koechlin, enter Tony Marshall, who at Oscar’s request offered to meet the Oeckels at the clubhouse to help Romy tune his boat and gave him a sailing lesson. The rest was up to Romy and Barbara, who had experience in big boats, and taught Romy the rules of the road, so to speak. After a few weeks of intense practice on his own after school, Romy entered his first race. Not only did he place fourth, but also he committed no fouls. Welcome aboard young man. Soon all the old fossils of the Star fleet, myself included, might be watching your transom.

The story gets even better. Oscar, in addition to his own Star 45, owns another Marshall built boat, Star #1, which belonged to his father, Oscar Koechlin, Sr. Those of you who were around at the time undoubtedly remember that Oscar Sr. was the Star 45 fleet champion for several successive years during the nineties. For quite a while Oscar has been generously loaning the boat to prospective sailors. Barbara Oeckel has indicated she might be interested in sailing #1 next season. We just might end up with the first mother / son sailing team ever.

Next month, nominations for 2008 club officers and directors will be submitted. All offices are still up for grabs.  If you are interested in any club office, please get in touch with Don Ciucci, Ken Valk or John Garis before the November meeting. It is your club.  If you want to effect change, or you just want to join in the reward of being a club officer / director, you can’t do so from the sidelines. Get involved.

Our rejuvenated web site is rapidly taking shape thanks to David Ward. I encourage all members to pay a visit. If you have any input, let us know.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and your families. This season some of the things we should all be thankful for are Jeff Stobbe’s continued recovery and return to good health, the camaraderie of our club, and the extraordinary facility entrusted to us for our enjoyment of the hobby we all love - Spreckles Lake and our clubhouse.

Jim Forbes, Commodore