Jerry Schostak, family and friends celebrating the Mackinac victory of Fujimo FBF, last year.
preparing to set
sail for the
Special to The Jewish News
Friday, July 11,1986
If Jerry Schostak should ever de-
cide to change the name of his
boat, perhaps "Checkmate"
might be appropriate.
The prominent Southfield
real estate magnate looks upon the
prestigious Port Huron to Mackinac
yacht race — and indeed all sailboat
races — as a "chess game," with the
challenge being, among other things,
the strategy needed to win.
And certainly he knows about
such things, having skippered his
new, custom-designed, 50-foot sloop
Fujimo FBF to the overall victory in
last year's race. He and his 13 crew
members, including three of his four
sons, intend to compete again in this
year's race on July 19, as well as in
the similarly challenging Chicago-
to-Mackinac race a week later.
The winner is not necessarily
who's the biggest, who's the
strongest, who's the fastest," Schos-
tak said, "but rather, in addition to
a bit of luck, who strategizes the
race in terms of weather, competi-
tion, all the circumstances. Sailboat
racing is much like a chess game. It
takes an enormous amount of study,
preparation strategy, and that's
what I find to be the challenge."
Winning in the Port Huron-
Mackinac race wasn't something un-
familiar to Schostak. In 1982, his
44-foot Fujimo, predecessor to the
current one, finished first in Class
A. The same boat in 1973 was the
Class B winner, and in 1967 Schos-
tak was on the winning Class F boat
owned by Dr. Ray Jacobs.
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
Sailboat racing is a "family af-
fair" for the Schostaks, the senior
Schostak said, adding jokingly about
his sons, "I consider myself fortunate
they let me come along for the ride."
Over the winter the new Schos-
tak boat was first in its class in the
Southern Ocean Racing Association
Conference, a series of six races
around Florida, held in February.
Fujimo FBF also won a spring series
on Long Island Sound, Schostak
said, and competed in a series of five
races at Newport, R.I., called the
Onion Patch series, culminating in
the 650 mile Newport-to-Bermuda
ocean race on June 13.
Last year's Port Huron-
Mackinac race undoubtedly will well
serve the Schostaks, and others who
competed, in future races because
conditions were unusually rough.
"It's becoming known as the big
storm of 1985, but that's not really
correct," Schostak said of the
weather. "There were lovely, clear,
crisp skies with all the magnificence
of the Milky Way, with the Northern
Lights before us. But we experienced
40-mile-per-hour winds out of the
north, temperatures in the 40s and
50s, and .eight to twelve-foot seas,
which is what caused the breakdown
both of gear and the human element.
We, like other people, had a certain
amount of gear failure and crew
Gene Mondry, 55-year old
president of Highland Appliance, is
another regular Port Huron-to-
Mackinac competitor. He found last
year's conditions "nervewracking,
"Under those conditions," he
said, "unless you win it's not much
fun. But you can have fun without
winning under other conditions."
Last year Mondry, who plans to
race again this year, skippered his
40-foot Class C boat, Leading
Edge, to a disappointing finish well
off the lead. However, he won his
class twice before and four times
captured class championships in the
Chicago race, with an overall
triumph in 1982.
He has been competing in the
Mackinac races since the mid-50's
something that didn't seem plausible
after his early ventures on a friend's
sailboat, merely cruising around. "I
found the experience very boring,"
He told his friend, We have to
do something more exciting," and,
when racing was suggested, Mondry
said, "Then let's do it.
"We tried it and I fell in love
with it," he said.
There is a mystique to the race
that perhaps only sail boaters truly
understand. It begins with the pre-
race parties that turn the docks and
bars in Port Huron into a Mardi
Gras set. Then, out onto Lake Hu-
ron. A couple of hours into the race,
the challenge takes over. Adrenaline
may flow even more in the middle of
the night when navigation is more
demanding and the silence and
blackness transform a cruise into
more of an adventure.