Tag Archives | History

Eight Bells – Farewell Frank Bigelow

Frank Bigelow - AYC Commodore 1989-90

 

Frank Bigelow

  • BORN: October 9, 1931
  • DIED: March 30, 2011
  • Frank was one of our few AYC “Honorary Life Members”, an AYC member since 1959, AYC Commodore 1989-90, the man who was “Mr. AYC” to many of the club’s long time members. 

    He passed away with his family at his bedside Wednesday March 30, 2011 due to complications from pneumonia.

    CELEBRATION OF LIFE:  Many long-time members of the Arizona Yacht Club joined with Frank’s friends and family for a Celebration of Frank’s life, attendees included Don Defreze, Tia Renshaw and Mike Yarnell , Joe Laux Jr., Tony and Phyllis Siros, Patty Rosky, Dave and Debbie Nowak, Steve and Angela Nahkala, Don and Faye Hueble, Al Lehman, Wayne and Dottie Tucker, Dennis Lynde, and in spirit, Frank Bigelow.

    Bigelow Celebration1

     Tom Ohlin, also an Honorary Life Member, recalls Frank for us……”Frank’s dedication to the AYC over the last 50 years has been immeasurable. He was a friend and teacher to all that knew him. His Saturday night socials at his camper at the old Lake Pleasant ramp 2 were legendary.

    Each Saturday night after much discussion of the day’s races, and the arrival of darkness, we would break out the dice cup and a pen light to pursue the game of Liar’s Dice; in the darkness (the guards thought we were crazy). Quite often on slow/large games Frank would take a cat nap between turns. One such night when the cup got around to Frank, he was abruptly woken and given the dice cup and pen light, which he immediately grabbed and began stirring his drink with it!

    Bigelow Celebration2Another time, I was discussing with Frank the problems I had had sailing a sabot off the Rocky Point beaches. We always started into the wind (east or west) and by the time we were ready to head back to camp, the wind would reverse and we would have to beat back. Frank’s solution to the problem; “sail downwind first, you might get two downwind legs”.

    =====

    Frank’s long time sailing partner Don DeFreze shares another tale…

    Frank and I raced against each other on Interlakes, but later we partnered on a larger boat. The advantage of the partnership is that the costs are now discounted by half, and that arrangement worked well over the years except on one occasion.

    For some reason Frank could not make it out to the lake one weekend and so I picked up a “green crew”. During a race I grounded on a shoal. Rather than try to explain to the young man how to raise the keel I jumped in the cabin and started cranking. The boat turned and then the rudder grounded and came unhinged. I watched as it disappeared into the murky water.

    Later I explained what happed to Frank and he said, “YOU lost YOUR rudder?” I gulped. A rudder is not a dime store item. The next week I hired a diver and took him to the spot and asked him to find the rudder, and he did.

    I called Frank and said “I’ll sell you half of my rudder if you will spilt the diver’s fee with me.” It was a done deal.

    ======

    Frank has received about every honor the AYC can bestow, and we still owe him more.

    Frank; may you sail into a red sunset with the wind at your back.

    My First – THE FIRST – Governors Cup 1994

     By Dennis Lynde

    Well, this is from quite a while ago, but I was asked to recall a former Governors cup that I had participated in and my first was THE FIRST.

    In 1994 I was working for The Sailboat Shop and had the pleasure of selling a new Hunter 26, which he named Wit’s End, to Cliff McCrumb, a Phoenix police officer, and real nice guy.  He and his wife were going to go cruising, but his dad is a long time sailor also and had owned a few sailboats.

    Hunter had just come out with their new 26, which was a real departure from previous Hunters, and had a lot of freeboard, a centerboard, full batten main and working jib. You really could not put a large headsail on this boat, since the shrouds were all led to the outside of the deck and hull which prohibited an overlapping jib. This was really a cruiser with a lot of space below, an open transom and a large cockpit.

    Cliff decided he would like to try his hand at racing, which he’d never done, so I volunteered to crew for him, and along with a friend of his, Tom Comtois, we decided to enter this new race.  This was the First AYC Governor’s Cup.

    Back then, the new dam at Lake Pleasant had just been completed the year before, and none of us were real familiar with the new lake, and it was in the process of still filling, so this sounded like a real fun challenge and a cool way to learn the new lake.

    In 1994 the race was held on January 1st, pretty cold at night, but beautiful during the day. Cliff rented a slip at the then new marina and launched before I got there. When I arrived, like any good racing sailor, I asked him if he had cleaned out the cruising gear for the race, and could I get him a cart to take everything off the boat. He said don’t bother, we would race it like it was equipped, and we did. Sleeping bags, BBQ’s, two anchors, batteries, dinnerware, cushions, heaters, etc, etc, and with all the lockers full to the brim. I couldn’t touch a thing.

    With “Wit’s End” being a new boat, Cliff only had 2 sails, a working jib, and full batten mainsail (if you don’t have one, get one). The full batten main was a new toy for mono hulls back then. Anyway, we entered the non-spinnaker class, which was a 2 lap 25 mile race of the lake. There was also a 4 lap 50 mile course for the spinnaker boats. Thank goodness we did not enter that class.

    Starting out there was a good size fleet, and I don’t remember if we had 2 starts or just one combined fleet start, but there was very little wind and not much to come for quite a while. We settled into drifting mode, I was on the helm, trying not to pinch in a boat that had a lot of freeboard and a small headsail, but lo and behold, because of the small headsail, which was easier to fill in light to no wind, and the full batten main, we were out pointing all the boats that had a large headsail up and a standard main.

    This kept up the whole first leg of the race, with this sail and wind combination being just right. And with even with all the gear on board, during a lull we had plenty of momentum to carry us through.

    It took us the better part of a day just to get to the far end of the lake and find the first mark, which was a small buoy with flashing yellow highway emergency lights, not very bright, and prone to slipping off to one side of the buoy. Well, we found the marks at the far end of the lake, rounded them alright and tried to make compass references on the chart (remember, no GPS back then).

    We finally finished the first lap in the light, and then it got interesting. It was not a full moon, and it got dark at the back of the lake real quickly. We fumbled our way through the course in the black of night, with absolutely no lights at that end of the lake. Luckily we had a wide assortment of flashlights with us, (remember the full lockers) and were only scared 4 or 5 times when we would shine them down on the water and see rocks ghosting by  a short distance away. Also luckily we had all brought winter gloves and jackets, and Cliff pulled a propane heater out and set it in the cockpit next to our feet.  Cruising Boat, remember?

    We rounded the last mark and headed for the finish line at the other end of the lake at about 11:30pm and THEN the wind kicked in. We had a broad reach in about 15 knots of wind for the rest of the race and made it back down the lake in about 45 minutes, just screaming along.  We had lost sight and sound of all the other boats and had no idea of where any of the competition was. We finished about 12:19, and motored to the dock.

    Cliff asked if we were hungry, pulled out his BBQ and proceeded to make pork chops, green beans and warm bread and coffee for the crew. Something warm to eat at 1:00 really hit the spot. Cruising boat, remember?

    You can imagine our surprise the next day when we were awarded 1st place in our class. We thought it was pretty amazing, and even though it got cold that night, we had a great time, never ran aground and really enjoyed ourselves. If I remember correctly, some of the spinnaker boats were finishing the next morning after a 4 lap journey.

    EDITORS NOTE:  Have a story from “back in the day” that you’d like to share?  Please contact Emory Heisler or Rob Gibbs by email at CompassPoints@ArizonaYachtClub.org

    Rembering Boats of a “Zippy” Nature

    Submitted by Dennis Lynde

    After reading Rick Johnson’s excellent article in compass points about a Martin 242 named “ZIP’, it brought back memories of another time, many moons ago, of another “ZIP” that sailed with AYC.

    This “ZIP” was a Montgomery 17 flush deck, which was my first new boat, and pride and joy. Pale yellow, with multi colored stripes, 1200 lbs displacement, 25 ft. mast, no interior, shoal draft keel with centerboard, and a ball to sail. We raced her for 3 years with the club, and in San Carlos Mexico, with Tucson Sailing Club, which also had several M17 flush decks sailing in their club. Al Jr. was a crew down there with me at least once. We also put the mast in the water when a wind shift knocked us down while under spinnaker. Very exciting. I sailed with her for 3 years, until I decided I wanted a boat with accommodations below, and good light air capability. Thus did the San Juan 24, “Bigamy” come into my life, but that story will be for another time.

    Do YOU have a story about any of the many one (or two) of a kind boats that have sailed with AYC over the years?  They have likely been in either the Portsmouth or PHRF fleets.  Here are some photos of a few that may help you remember!.

     It would be nice if any of you have a special boat in mind, or just one you were fond of that you would write and mention in an article too!  Send them to CompassPoints@ArizonaYachtClub.org .      .org .