I was shocked when I got an email with a notice of a service for Chris. I was informed that indeed one of the great pioneers of beach cat sailing has gone on to less troubled waters.
Chris was a very big, big guy. Many of you might remember seeing him single-handedly loading his Nacra 5.8 on top of his van. I was amazed. He was always laughing and always fun, and when sailing, always fast. He was very instrumental in getting Hobie sailing started in Florida. And he was the guy that got the rules changed so if you were a big guy, you could sail single-handed. Not sure, but Chris had to be pretty close to 300 lbs -- a real Man Mountain Dean.
He was a great competitor and I personally feel lucky to be on the same waters with him. We did dice out a lot of races.
I got this letter from Hans Barth, who also very good friends with Chris and Pauline.
Rick, Pauline phoned last Tuesday morning and said Chris passed away on Sunday. Chris told us last September that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer, after he had lost his voice in February for a brief period. Only a PET scan around last June, or so, revealed a huge cyst in his lungs. So it took the doctors 3 month to find out what the real problem was.
Chris told me that he wouldn't seek treatment. He turned to some natural healing methods but found most comfort within his religious beliefs.
During our traditional Christmas get together at our house, he looked relaxed and happy, just 3 month ago. (See pic attached)
I would see him one more time about 6 weeks ago at their home, and he still was in good shape.
Pauline and Chris looked after both our sons, Eric and 4 years later, Stephen when they were between 1 to 6 years old respectively.
It was always an incredible trip to go to their house and pick up the kid after work. There was always a story, they were so good with our children, we had someone we could trust and their example is within our children forever.
He was their Uncle Chris !
To me and Laura, a catamaran sailor icon and pioneer of the sport is no more.
Hopefully see you on Saturday. Maybe you can mention him in on your website.
PS: I have informed Dave Rodgers, Jamie Livingston, Keith Notary, but your website would much better reach the whole community.
Chris' service is at 10:00 am this Saturday at St. Henry's church at the corner of McNab and Andrews in Pompano Beach.
1500 South Andrews Ave. Pompano Beach, Florida 33069
He was very instrumental in getting Hobie sailing started in Florida. And he was the guy that got the rules changed so if you were a big guy, you could sail single-handed. Not sure, but Chris had to be pretty close to 300 lbs -- a real Man Mountain Dean.
Chris was my "best buddy" next to Davy Rodgers when I started sailing Hobies in 1971. He and Pauline sorta looked after this wayward hippie kid. I often stayed at their house when we went to 'Lauderdale.
There are way too many Chris stories to tell, and most would be based on his strength.
However, he had a very gentle demeanor and was probably one of the kindest guys I have ever known well.
Last time I saw him was in Key West at my house in about 1978. He was there with Pauline and Davy was there too.
I tried to look him up last year when I got back into this crazy sport, but failed at making the connection in time. Lesson: don't procrastinate on this stuff!
Fair winds Pal.
Jack Woehrle Hobie Wave #100, Tiger Shark III HCA-NA 5022-1 USSailing 654799E Alachua FL/Put-In-Bay