Eight Bells: Chris Wentz

Published on December 6th, 2017

Chris Wentz passed away December 6, 2017 shortly before sunrise after a brief battle with cancer. He was 65 years of age.

Chris grew up in a boating family that spent summers at the Jersey shore. He helped his father build two boats by the time he was ten. His racing career started in Lasers and E Scows on Barnegat Bay. In 1975 he graduated from Pratt Institute (Brooklyn, NY) and went to work in a sail loft on City Island, NY.

After seven years on “The Island” he worked for two years at the yacht design firm MacLear and Harris opposite the New York Yacht Club in Manhattan. M and H specialized in designing large and very unique yachts for power and sail. While there he worked on groundbreaking projects including a high performance canting keel, wood composite cruising yacht and what was at that time the largest aluminum sailing vessel ever classified by Lloyds, a 98′ brigantine sailing auxiliary

While at M and H, Wentz observed how important the forethought of the design process is when combining the various disciplines employed in creating an outstanding yacht. After the exposure to the uncoordinated process he’d seen elsewhere in the marine sphere, it was a revelation.

So, in 1984, when Wentz opened Sailspar Design, Inc. with the idea that the design process is the essential foundation of a good product. Given the great revolution in sailmaking materials that was getting underway, this design experience turned out to be invaluable.

In 1991, Chris was the founding partner at Z Sails in Stamford, Connecticut and will be terribly missed. His kind and quiet demeanor, wit and sailing skills touched everyone lucky enough to have met him. A memorial gathering for Chris will be held on Saturday, December 16, 2017 at the Stamford Yacht Club in Connecticut from noon to 4pm. His ashes will be scattered at Buoy 32 off Stamford, Ct before the gathering.

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