Eight Bells: Steve Henkel

Published on December 27th, 2022

Stephen Charles (Steve) Henkel, author, sailor, and polymath, died December 14, 2022 at the age of 89 in Sarasota, FL.

Steve grew up in Short Hills, NJ and attended Princeton University (BS in mechanical engineering) and Rutgers University (MBA). He married his college sweetheart, Carol Pippitt, in 1955, and from 1955 to 1984 worked as engineer, administrator, and business consultant, primarily in New York City.

During this period, he started writing for fun for several sailing magazines and in 1972 published his first book, Bikes. In 1984, with two partners, he founded Sailor magazine.

When that project ended, Steve became a full-time freelance writer and illustrator, with hundreds of articles to his credit and three additional books: Boating For Less (1987), Boat Trailers and Tow Vehicles (1991), and The Sailor’s Book of Small Cruising Sailboats (2010).

Among the magazines he wrote for were Yachting Magazine (where for a time he wrote the Gadgets & Gilhickies column), Yacht Racing/Cruising (now Sailing World), for whom he did an illustrated column called Interesting Boats, Sail Magazine, Small Boat Journal, Practical Sailor, and WoodenBoat Magazine.

After moving to Darien, CT in 1961, Steve and Carol became avid sailors, a passion they shared with their two sons. They were active members of Noroton Yacht Club and Steve served on the boards of the Blue Jay Class Association and the Junior Yacht Racing Association of Long Island Sound.

After moving to Florida in 1991, Steve and Carol were members of Venice Sailing Squadron and Sarasota Sailing Squadron and Steve served on the board of the Venice Youth Boating Association.

In retirement, Steve remained active in many pursuits, including genealogical research, painting, writing a historical novel, and model sailboat racing at Sunnyside Village, the retirement community where Steve and Carol lived starting in 2003. He was appreciated by friends and family for his intellect and humor.

He was predeceased by his wife of 64 years, Carol, and is survived by two sons Charlie (Kokyo) Henkel and his wife Kerstin (Shoho) Kuebast of Muir Beach, CA, and Laird Henkel and his wife Kriss Neuman of Corralitos, CA.

Services will be private. Donations may be made to the Sunnyside Foundation, 5201 Bahia Vista St., Sarasota, FL 34232.

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