Eight Bells: Joan Rinken

Published on November 19th, 2022

Joan Rinken, 85, died November 8 in hospice in St. Petersburg, FL. Rinken will never be in the Sailing Hall of Fame, her years at Chicago Yacht Club campaigning the Tartan-10 Go for It! rarely ended with a visit to the podium, but she was on the water, sailing hard and as feisty as any skipper who ever felt a breeze.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Rinken chaired the Chicago Yacht Club-Monroe Station’s portion of what were then called Beer Can Races (a joint venture with Columbia and Burnham Park Yacht Clubs). Not everyone might have known her name, but they all knew the lady passing out the rum at the post-race barbecue/awards ceremony.

Joan left Chicago when she and her wife Nancy Graver moved to Florida; they’d been together 43 years and married since 2015. Inclusion Body Myositis is the disease that brought down this strong, independent woman.

Anyone wishing to honor Rinken’s life can make a donation to Suncoast Hospice (suncoasthospicefoundation.org/donations2) or the Myositis Association (myositis.org/donate).

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