Eight Bells: Harold B. Oldak
Published on September 28th, 2016
Harold Oldak was originally from Sands Point, N.Y. and has been residing in Naples, FL for the last 35 years. A retired executive and well known sailing innovator he died September 25, 2016 after a brief illness at the age of 98.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y. he and his older brother Irving A. virtually taught themselves how to sail with a row boat, a bed sheet, a long pole and an oar!
Harold worked as a Master Machinist in his early years, which cost him two finger joints. More determined than ever, he soon rose to take the helm of the family business -Lordship Industries of Hauppauge, NY. Lordship Industries started out as a costume and nautical Jewelry Company, but evolved into a sales promotion and military contract organization. The Company worked with Eastern Standard Oil (Esso) on the ‘Tiger-in-the-Tank’ campaign and manufactured Medals during the Vietnam Period including the Medal of Honor.
In the post war years, Harold brought a group of eight to Henry Hinckley in order to purchase identical Sou’wester 34’s. Those boats were cruised and raced for a decade and then the group returned in 1957 for 35-foot S&S Hinckley Pilots. In 1960 some of the group shipped up to the Bill Tripp, Sr. designed Hinckley Bermuda 40, and finally to the S & S Hinckley 38’s acquired in 1968. As a loyal patron, Harold become a part of the ‘Hinckley Story’!
Harold was a formidable yacht racer for many years, later turning his sailing interest to Blue Water Cruising in the 1980’s using Ham Radio to stay in contact with fellow cruisers. He won countless Long Island Sound day and long distance races with his many INDBORNE’s. Later in partnership in a Carter 39 BLAZE with the famed du Moulin Clan, they won Block Island Race Week overall and their Division in the Bermuda Race.
With enough energy left for one more sailing syndicate, Harold and Ed du Moulin went to Bruce King in 1979 with a group of 10 to request a redesigned version of the Whitby 42 – the Brewer 12.8. He kept this boat for most of his remaining life.
In 1962, with two other partners, Harold formed the Nautical Development Company (NDC) in Port Washington, NY, which was responsible for many innovative sailing system items. In collaboration with Hood Sails, they developed the first truly roller furling headstay (not jib) by using a baseball stitch to attach the sail to a mild steel rod. Spreader and shroud rollers, colored lines, mast bales, turnbuckle covers, captain’s hooks, and an early version of a hydraulic backstay adjuster are other examples.
Harold was a Member of Storm Trysail Club, Knickerbocker YC Naples YC, and the Handicap Club of Long Island Sound. He is survived by his wife, Jill Lane, and his children Emily, Joyce, and Lee and his 2 grandchildren Aaron and Elizabeth.