Mills Trophy Race: Tragedy on Lake Erie
Published on June 8th, 2015
Hosted by the Toledo Yacht Club, the annual Mills Trophy Race starts near the Toledo Harbor Light along the Ohio shoreline of Lake Erie, and finishes off of South Bass Island (Put-in-Bay). Three courses, ranging from 38 to 71 nm, deliver the fleet to this popular summer resort and recreational destination.
Sadly, one person lost his life in the race.
The National Weather Service office in Cleveland issued a small-craft advisory for western Lake Erie when the 122-boat fleet started on Friday evening (June 5), in which it predicted north winds of 15 to 25 knots shifting to the northeast and waves building from 2 to 4 feet to 3 to 5 feet high.
Ron Soka, the chairman of the Mills Race, said rough winds and waves were evident from the race’s start on Friday evening and remained consistent throughout. “It was windy, but it wasn’t unmanageable,” Soka said. “We have raced in worse – it was heavy though, no doubt.”
Glen William Reeck (65 years), of Matlacha, Florida, was crewing on the Mull 30 Horse, owned by Kenneth Sabin, when he fell off the boat at about 12:15 a.m. Saturday near the entrance to the West Harbor channel. Authorities recovered his body at 6:40 a.m. Saturday between the East Harbor channel and East Harbor State Park beach.
“Preliminary investigation revealed drowning as likely cause of death pending medical examination,” ODNR spokesman Jason Fallon said in a statement Saturday. The ODNR, which is leading the investigation, has not released whether Reeck was wearing a life jacket.