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Sailing mentors. #106846
05/12/07 10:02 PM
05/12/07 10:02 PM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 3
hobiejay Offline OP
stranger
hobiejay  Offline OP
stranger

Joined: May 2007
Posts: 3
George Matavulj

Sailing off Glencoe Beach on the Great Lake Michigan has changed this season. My personal friend and sailing mentor, George Matavulj has passed on this week. He sailed the Adriatic Sea before WWII and eventually made his way to the Chicago area. How George settled on sailing a Hobie Cat, I will never know, but he always loved the H14 over any boat he sailed. More importantly he would love to tell sailing stories and share in the Hobie life style.

I met George on the first weekend in May of 1986

My crew and I had set sail off Wilmette Beach. At some point during the sail, the boat capsized. To make a long story short, with Coast Guard and a Wilmette beach assitances, we got towed in. As we were recovering from the event, this old man with a green Door County sailing t-shirt and jacket, walks up and says “you have this, this and this wrong” and then walks off . Of course at that time, I didn’t really care what this stranger had to say -I just wanted to get the boat put away for the day.

Fast forward to 1989. I finally land a beach space on Glencoe beach. Guess what, this old man (okay, I was 31, he may have been 55 or 58, no one on the beach was sure of his age) appears. It turns out he has a H14. He would always have a comment about the weather or how the boat should be tuned for the day or what it would take to get out past the break. More importantly, he loved to sail and he loved to go fast. In some ways he may have sold more Hobies than the local dealer, just because of his love for sailing.

He could fly a hull when others couldn’t and then would challenge you to do it. He loved to make boat “sing” and never had a problem telling you to “sheet it in, God dammit” or “fall off”. He would always find time to sing during the sail as well, whether it be in English, Italian, or any of the other languages he knew fluently. It was rare when he wasn’t smiling or thinking of ways to improve the beach. He loved sailing and loved teaching. He could take a total neophyte and turn them into pretty damn good sailor - all you had to do was be on the beach. He would offer help if you needed it or not.

George was a competitive soul. He didn’t care that you had a faster 16 against his 14 -he would try to beat you. Most times he was blind as a bat sailing for he would not wear his glasses. Knowing all this, one day my crew and I found ourselves sailing downwind with 0 to 2 knots of wind and a flat sheet of water. We were in front of him by a hundred feet when I said to my crew” move forward and start paddling from the between the hulls so George can’t see what we are doing.” Sure enough George did not like the fact that we were pulling away from him. Now you could see him moving all over the boat, trying to pump the sails, wondering how the hell the H16 was pulling away with no wind. Eventually we told him and we all had a good laugh.

I had the privilege of sailing many times with him - we would often crew for each other. Other times, we would sail solo to the same destination for hours on end. We had our share of demastings, blown sails,and capsizings. But more importantly we shared camaraderie and a love for sailing. For those of you who have read Chris Van Allburgh’s “The Wreck of the Zephyr”, you know of the old sailor walking away after telling a story to a young curious boy of how a sailboat ended up on hill. He walks away because the wind is picking up and the story has been told and now it is time to sail. George, you have moved on and I don’t expect you to as they say “rest in peace”. I expect you to use all of you influence on the winds so that it blows up a stink and the sailing will be fair more times than knot. Well old man, guess what..it is time to sail.

Last edited by RickWhite; 05/24/07 05:41 AM.
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Re: Sailing mentors. [Re: hobiejay] #106847
05/12/07 10:40 PM
05/12/07 10:40 PM
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 902
Norman,OK
gree2056 Offline
old hand
gree2056  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 902
Norman,OK
Sorry to hear that he has passed on, but it sounds as if he will live on for many years in alot of peoples minds!


Once you go cat you never go back! Nacra 5.2 (Elsies)#1499, running an inter17 spin!
Re: Sailing mentors. [Re: hobiejay] #106848
05/12/07 11:37 PM
05/12/07 11:37 PM
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 5,582
“an island in the Pacific.â€...
hobie1616 Offline
Carpal Tunnel
hobie1616  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 5,582
“an island in the Pacific.â€...
The cool thing about the sailing community is there are a lot of George’s out there. They’re the kinda guys who sail for the love of it and are always ready to offer a hand, advice, parts or tools to someone in need.

Fair winds and flat seas George.


US Sail Level 2 Instructor
US Sail Level 3 Coach
Re: Sailing mentors. [Re: hobiejay] #106849
05/13/07 09:36 AM
05/13/07 09:36 AM
Joined: Mar 2003
Posts: 736
Westport, Ma. U.S.A.
Brian_Mc Offline
old hand
Brian_Mc  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2003
Posts: 736
Westport, Ma. U.S.A.
Wow! What a wonderful tribute! Thank you for sharing it.

Re: Sailing mentors. [Re: hobiejay] #106850
05/13/07 12:02 PM
05/13/07 12:02 PM
Joined: Mar 2003
Posts: 334
Thunder Bay ON CAN
M
mmadge Offline
enthusiast
mmadge  Offline
enthusiast
M

Joined: Mar 2003
Posts: 334
Thunder Bay ON CAN
Aspire to Inspire,before you Expire.

Read this on a sign,thought it applied well to the story

Re: Sailing mentors. [Re: mmadge] #106851
05/13/07 12:13 PM
05/13/07 12:13 PM
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 5,558
Key Largo, FL & Put-in-Bay, OH...
Mary Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Mary  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 5,558
Key Largo, FL & Put-in-Bay, OH...
Quote
Aspire to Inspire,before you Expire.

Read this on a sign,thought it applied well to the story

I love it! <img src="http://www.catsailor.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

Re: Sailing mentors. [Re: hobiejay] #106852
07/01/07 09:14 AM
07/01/07 09:14 AM
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 1
L
lermanaj Offline
stranger
lermanaj  Offline
stranger
L

Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 1
George Matavulj was a legend at Glencoe Beach. He served as Harbormaster for many years, and was a friend to all sailors. He mentored hundreds of aspiring and experienced sailors. We will miss him.

In his honor, the Glencoe Boat Club has established the "George Cup", an annual award to the top sailing racer at Glencoe Beach on Lake Michigan. The George Cup is awarded to the racer that has the most points (first = 3 pts, second = 2 pts., third = 1 pt.) from results in (any three of) the four regattas that are held throughout the summer. Practically all participants are multi-hull (mostly 16 and 18 foot Hobies, but also some Prindle and Nacras) and finishing times are equalized through the Portsmouth racing system.

The beach cat scene is alive and well on the Illinois shore of Lake Michigan. George would have been proud.

Re: Sailing mentors. [Re: lermanaj] #106853
07/01/07 08:31 PM
07/01/07 08:31 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 461
Sydney Australia
Berny Offline
addict
Berny  Offline
addict

Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 461
Sydney Australia
That's a very moving epitaph and even though I live thousands of miles / kilometers away I feel it.

What a wonderful opportunity you had knowing this gentleman and I guess it behoves you now to pick up the batton and run with it.

Bern


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