Congratulations to Ron on his nomination into the National Sailing Hall of Fame. Best of luck to him at the announcement of the 2015 inductees, at the Bay Head Yacht Club, in October.
The following is an exerpt of the nomination letter, submitted by Peggy Walsh-Sarnecki.
Ron’s an eight-time ice boat world champion who, in the true Corinthian spirit of the sport of sailing, spent the better part of a day helping someone he barely knew get into the sport.
It’s easy to forget just how much variety there is in the sport of sailing. There are monohulls, multihulls, boats that use foils. And in the winter, there are ice boats.
Ron is probably the most successful American to ever race an ice boat. His eight world championships include five in DNs, one in the Renegade class, one in the Skeeter class and one as a junior.
He’s won 11 North American champions in DN iceboats. In 2001, he won the World, North American and European championships in the same year.
With his typical modesty, Ron claims he “can’t remember” how many other ice boating championships he’s won. When pressed, he mentioned a Canadian national, Russian nationals, Central Regional, Western Regional and Northwest Regional regattas, several times over in most cases. He’s also won the ISA and International Skeeter Association championships.
His summer sailing has included 29 Port Huron to Mackinac races and 26 Chicago to Mackinac races, most recently as the mainsail trimmer on Equation, one of the fastest boats on the Great Lakes. He won the Thistle nationals in 1992, the S 27.9 nationals in 1989. He’s won two Beneteau 36.7 nationals, placed third in the Etchell nationals as the helmsman and two J-44 nationals.
But his nomination here is primarily based on his ice boat accomplishments. His consistent success in that class is Hall of Fame quality. His international success against top ice sailors from countries where ice boating is bigger than summer sailing makes him clearly the most significant American in this sport.
Ron’s final ice boating accomplishment is likely to be his most significant. It could certainly turn out to be his most enduring.
He realized that ice boat sailors were growing older, as a group, and it was important to bring young people into the class. But lighter sailors can be overpowered in a traditional DN ice boat, putting them in a possibly dangerous situation.
Ron took a lesson from junior sailing and helped develop the Ice Opti, a smaller ice boat with an Optimist Pram rig. They are fast boats — they’ve been clocked at 60 mph. But the Opti rig makes it more forgiving for light sailors because in heavy air, it spills air out of the top. Many ice boating competitions now have an Ice Opti class, ensuring the future growth of the ice boat class.
Rick Johnson Memorial Doublehanded Series
CSYC will again be having the Rick Johnson Memorial Double Handed Series in 2015. The dates for the Spring Series are June 1, 8, 15 & 22. The Summer Series is scheduled for August 3, 10, 17 & 24. The awards banquet will be held on August 31, which is the Monday after the CSYC Regatta.
No major changes are expected for this year. Barb and Charlie will again be staffing the grills for the post race “after glow”. The race will continue to start and finish off the breakwater at CSYC. We encourage CSYC members to participate either on the course or on the race Committee. If you have any questions or wish to volunteer drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call John Covert-Sisung at 313-804-1557 or Mike Struble at 248-376-1238.
Click here for the 2015 CSYC Rick Johnson Memorial Double Handed Race Application.