Lake Erie Multihulls: Who We Are
The Skipper and Chairman: James B. Frederick
Jim always loved the water. He was a power boater first. He would spend days at the cottage on Sandusky Bay where he would putter with the his old Johnson offset engine on his little wooden row boat or he would fish. It’s Jim’s past Navy experience during the Vietnam War as a radar man on a destroyer gave him a love for adventure at sea. Even though his destroyer, the USS DuPont took three direct hits in the Gulf of Tonkin War, the experience instilled in him a love of the water and boating offshore. When Jim returned to civilian life, Jim bought his first power boat, a Sea Ray, and then ran charter fishing trips on three different Sea Rays before he bought his first Hobie 18 in 1981. Jim’s been racing multihulls ever since. Jim ran a Handicapped Program in Ottawa County for many years, but he’s retired now and devotes all his time to racing, cruising and honing his skills via Virtual Reality Races like the Volvo Ocean Race. Jim also enjoys posting photos of our adventures on facebook.
The Navigator and Newsletter Editor: Deborah K. Schaefer
Deb learned to sail on Ranger 23 sailboat as an adult. But, when she met Jim, he was not a sailor. Deb enjoyed power boating on Lake Erie and she learned navigation during their cruises to the North Channel. Wasn’t she surprised when Jim came home with the news that he had sold the 26’Sea Ray and he wanted to buy a sailboat? Together, they looked at several monohulls, and they almost bought one. But their heads were turned by the excitement of sailing the Hobie 18 catamaran.
Together: Jim and Deb raced one-design beach cats for 15 years and they had raced an equal number of national events, when they began crewing on a J-30 monohull on open weekends. “We became weary of traveling every weekend to race our Hobie 18. We were envious of the monohull sailors who were able to cruise to their race destinations. We wanted to race in our own backyard.” But, only a fast offshore Multihull would meet their need for speed! The Corsair F-24 MKI trimaran was such a boat. They bought the F-24 thinking that, one day, the F-24 Mk I would become a popular one-design class, just like the popular Corsair F-27. Here was a Multihull that they could race comfortably offshore on Lake Erie, or fold up to trailer to regattas out of state.
Unfortunately, when Deb and Jim bought their beloved Summer Storm in 1993, there was limited racing for multihulls on Lake Erie and no one-design racing at all. As active members of the US SAILING Multihull Council, Jim and Deb were on a mission to organize PHRF racing for offshore multihulls on Lake Erie. Working closely with the local PHRF group, I-LYA, and various yacht clubs, Jim and Deb took on that task. Running a race organization was a role they had both played before. They honed their skills as the Chairman and Newsletter Editor of a five state racing organization called the Division Ten Hobie Class Association. Deb and Jim put together a schedule of races and began to issue certificates. Lake Erie Multihulls organizes a 9 race series for Lake Erie called the Gary Hall Series. Now, they work with a consortium of Multihull sailors from each of the Great Lakes and Canada to issue PHRF Handicap Certificates for Multihulls on all the Great Lakes, thus the name Great Lakes Multihull Racing Association, or GLMRA. Ron White, Chief measurer for the Chicago Mackinac Race, is the leader of this intrepid group.
Jim and Deb won there class in three Corsair/Farrier National Championships on their beloved F-24, Summer Storm, but Jim had a strong desire to race long distance in offshore races such as the Port Huron and Chicago Mackinac races, so we had to buy a bigger boat in 2000. Big Storm is a cruising version of the F-28 with all the amenities necessary to race and cruise long distances offshore. We’ve done well with the new boat, having won our class in the Corsair/Farrier Nationals in 2000, 2001 and 2002 and won the revitalized Trans-Erie Race in 2001. But, we’ll always have a soft spot in our heart for Summer Storm.
Our Crew: Kim Smith
Kim was our main man and trusty crew for many years. Kim bought his Hobie18 about the same time as we bought ours. Kim was mad about sailing and he could often be seen single-handing his Hobie 18 on the lake and flying a hull a high as it could go....No Fear! Kim was our main crew and spinnaker trimmer when we bought our first F-boat in 1993. Kim raced every Mills Race and every Sandusky Islands Race and almost every race in between. Neither sleet, nor rain, nor dark of night would keep Kim from his appointed position on the ama. Kim raced several Corsair Nationals, the Bayview Mackinac Race and Trans-Erie Race in 2001. He kept us from being run over by a freighter. We sang a lot of the golden oldies when we raced offshore. Kim knew all the words. Unfortunately, health issues have put Kim on the sideline.