Great moments of mine in sailing
Published on April 10th, 2018
by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt
We should all be so lucky to have great moments in and around sailing that stay with us forever. I have had my share, with one in particular I still can’t quite believe. It was while I was attending the Class of 2014 induction for the National Sailing Hall of Fame in Detroit, Michigan.
Among the eight sailing legends being celebrated were historian and senior statesman of the sport Henry H. “Harry” Anderson, Jr. and Grand Prix yachtsman John B. “Jim” Kilroy. I was in awe of Anderson having read Roger Vaughan’s thoughtful book, The Strenuous Life of Harry Anderson, and I had grown up in the shadow of Kilroy’s many Kialoa racing yachts.
The thought of both made me 15 years old again.
The night before the induction ceremony, there was a tremendous dinner at Bayview Yacht Club. The weather was perfect along the Detroit River, a huge tent had been set up for the festivities, and all the sailing greats were there. I was lucky enough to be seated alongside Phil Lotz, now the New York Yacht Club Commodore, and following dinner we shifted inside to the club’s bar.
There a crowd had formed to settle a long running debate.
Many of the Kialoa crew were contending their drink, the Kialoa was the best. But this throwdown was taking place at a club that may have the most famous house drink of them all, the Hummer. I was suddenly recruited to judge the best drink of all.
While Kilroy was physically unable to travel for the ceremony, I was surrounded by the beef and bulk that powered his many offshore yachts. And next time to me, my co-judge in this late night nonsense, was none other than Harry Anderson. Somebody pinch me.
The two drinks were similar, both reliant on Rum and Kahlua. Having been blindfolded with my tie, I made my selection, which turned out to be the Hummer. Upon clearing my vision, there stood in front of me was Jerome Adams, arguably the sport’s most famous yacht club bartender.
Maybe not a great reflection of my value system, but to me Adams was the man that night.
The Hummer cocktail was born at the club in 1968, and Adams was the man who invented it. By then he had worked at Bayview for 47 years, and the recipe had grown legs. Bayview wasn’t the only place to get a hummer drink, but it was the only place to get The Hummer.
So it comes with a heavy heart that I share the news of how Adams, this hugely impactful and tremendously loyal man, passed away on April 7. He has touched so many, and will remain one of my fondest memories in this great sport of ours.
A gofundme page has been set up to provide assistance to his family: click here.