Eight Bells: Herbert F. Schwartz

Published on July 23rd, 2014

Herbert Frederick Schwartz died July 15, 2014 at his home in Riverside, CT, following a prolonged fight against bladder cancer. He was 78 years of age. This was possibly the only challenge throughout his professional life in the court room, or while competing on the water, he couldn’t find a way to overcome.

He was a very active member of Cruising Club of America, New York Yacht Club and Riverside Yacht Club. Herb continued to skipper his last boat Wenden Too, with long time crew Peter Simpson, son-in-law, Paul Craine and his grandsons, Ben and Duncan, until just the last couple of years.

In response to news of Herb’s passing, his longtime friend and sales rep from North, Tom McLaughlin reflected: “He was a very good friend to me, and taught me a lot about racing in Long Island Sound. More than just a few times on the Block Island Race, Herb would pop up from down below at 3am when we on deck were slatting along, look around in the partial moonlight and make a declaration to ‘head for the shore’ (except for the dreaded Smithtown Bay). He was right on his bold calls 90% of the time, and his trophy shelf backs it up. WENDEN earned the strongest reputation for fair competition, fun and podium finishes over so many years and hulls.”

Herb began sailing as an undergrad at MIT, where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering in 1957. He later completed his MBA and Law degree at the University of Pennsylvania in 1964.

After moving to Riverside, CT, Herb began racing Cape Cod Mercuries and then Ensigns with the Greenwich Cove Racing Association. He was one of North Sails’ first successful clients on Long Island Sound after John Marshal opened North’s first East Coast loft in Mamaroneck, NY. Herb began big boat racing with a C&C 34 and continued on with many subsequent versions of “Wenden” (named after daughters Wendy and Karen).

While he won countless races over the years, including his class at the NYYC Sesquicentennial Regatta, Herb’s custom Swan 44 MKII Wenden was his most successful, winning his class and overall fleet champion during the Swan 1999 American Week in Newport, RI. In 2000, he continued with class wins in the Block Island Race and the Newport to Bermuda Race. And in 2001, he secured 1st in class and 2nd in fleet in the Marblehead to Halifax race.

Herb and his wife, Nan, along with a crew comprised exclusively of friends and family, explored Nova Scotia down to the Grenadines with CCA, NYYC, RYC and the American Yacht Club cruises, in addition to extensive bareboat chartering in the BVI’s since the 60’s. He loved researching which cruise itinerary seemed the most interesting each year and which would offer the best adventures for his grandkids, who developed their current love of sailing sitting beside him at the helm from the time they were very little.

Herb served for many years on the Junior Sailing Association of Long Island Sound board and was instrumental in bringing the Optimist to Long Island Sound in the early 80’s. For many years, Herb volunteered as a judge for the RYC Opti regatta. His grandchildren’s success and enjoyment of racing Opti’s was a great joy to him.

Friends and family are invited to a celebration of Herb’s life to be held on August 24 at 12pm at Riverside Yacht Club. In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to MIT to support a crew shell in Herb Schwartz’s ’57 honor to support the Varsity men’s heavyweight crew program. Checks should be payable to MIT and mailed to Bonny Kellerman, Director of Memorial Gifts, 600 Memorial Drive, W98-500, Cambridge, MA 02139. Please indicate that your gift is in memory of Herb Schwartz ’57 in the memo.

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