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July 11, 1986 - Image 28

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-07-11

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Continued from preceding page

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four days.
"It's a very exciting event, one
that all sailors look forward to
starting with the beginning of
the season, because you're build-
ing (up to the big race). It's not
the most important race of the
season for season standings, but
it's such a big race and it's so
exciting that you're always
building for it."
Edelson said he has been in
26 Port Huron-Mackinac races,
with different. size boats, with
fourth place eight or nine years
ago his best finish.
Eve Kommel, 1983 commo-
dore at Great Lakes, said she
was in 18 Mackinac races as a
co-skipper with her husband
Richard. They started with a
26-foot boat, she explained, then
moved up to a 30-footer, then a
37, a 43, and now own a 51-foot
ketch, which they don't race.
"We've raced with a crew of
anywhere from six to 12," she
said. "On our 43-foot boat we
had 12."
Their best finish, she said,
was a fifth place in 1965 out of
37 boats in their class. That
race is particularly memorable
to Kommel because of "the inci-
"A woman on a Mackinac race
was not an acceptable matter for
some racers," she said. "We got
hit — twice — in the middle of
Lake Huron by a guy who was
absolutely infuriated that a
woman at the wheel should be
ahead of him. •
He was finally penalized, and
that was a whole to-do too be-
cause he should have been abso-
lutely thrown out of the race
entirely, (but he wasn't) because
it was a good 'ole boy club. This
was a well-known racer with a
marvelous reputation."
After he rammed the Kom-
mels' boat, she continued, He
said, You get out of my way or,
by God, I'm going to come back
and hit you again.' And by God
he did."
1982 was her last race, Kom-
mel said, adding that she

wouldn't go to Port Huron just
for the pre-race hoopla because
"I'd eat my heart out. I still
miss the race. It was just a
marvelous experience.
"Probably in any given year
each boat experiences something
where all the crew members will
say, What the hell am I doing
here?' You know, you're seasick,
or there's absolutely no air, and
there are thousands and
thousands of bugs and you are
covered with these flies."
But there's that, mystique that
seems to make it all worthwhile.
Another former Great Lakes
commodore, Gabriel Alexander
(1967), has been a Mackinac
race official since the early '70s,
shortly before he became com-
modore of the Detroit River
Yachting Association. Bayview,
he said, gave him a testimonial
dinner one year for his contribu-
tions as a race official.
Today's Mackinac boats are
loaded with all manner of elec-
trical equipment which help
skippers determine where they
are, how far they've gone, how
deep the water is, and to help
them raise and maneuver the
"You found where you were
all these years and everybody
has become dumb all of a sud-
den," Eve Kommel said with a
smile. "We went on our first
Mackinac race with (only) a
tafflog rail — that's a thing you
drag behind you which spins to
determine how far you went —
a compass and a plumb line.
Now it's become a highly-
computerized activity and I
think it's scared a lot of people
out of it. Financially they can't
afford to race on that level
• "The thing that concerns me
is people get into sailing who
have not learned the fundamen-
tals, have not learned to put up
their finger to feel the air. If
lightning hits their mast and
everything goes out and they
don't have the equipment they
won't know what to do to get

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Friday, July 11, 1986



An engineering student at Boys Town Jerusalem explains to
Minister of Education Yitzhak Navon how his senior project
monitors heart functioning and displays the heart rate with a
digital readout and the pattern of heart activity on a video screen.

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