Rob Schuyler Sportsmanship Award
The Rob Schuyler Sportsmanship Award was created at the SC27 National Class meeting in 2019. It was an idea presented to the fleet by Patrick Diola and De Schuyler to honor the memory of Rob Schuyler, a long time member who passed away unexpectedly on May 1, 2019. Rob and De bought their first SC27 in 1981 and joined the partnership of Variety Show with Dan Borror and Barry Whittall located in Santa Cruz. It became apparent that Rob was a natural driver and he purchased Hanalei Express in 1991 and partnered with Roger and Isobel Sturgeon until 1998. He won his first championship in Huntington in 1997. He won many more championships in his sailing career. He especially enjoyed sailing with his son, Ryan. In the words of Henry Cassady of Sumo, “Rob will be remembered as a great sportsman, excellent sailor, fair minded, mentor to new sailors and father of the SC27 fleet. He made us all want to be better sailors. Rob will be missed”
Procedure for Nomination
- Nominations should be sent to the SC27 National Class board by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
- The recipient will be chosen based primarily on nominations, and secondarily by a consensus of board members and past recipients.
- You must be a current class member to make a nomination.
- Nominees must be a current class member
- The award will be presented each year during the awards ceremony for the National Championship.
- For any questions or suggestions, please email the board at email@example.com
List of past recipients
2021—Patrick Diola, awarded at StFYC Nationals
2020—Joe Wagster, awarded at SCYC Nationals
2019—Barry Whittall, awarded at Tahoe Nationals
As a teenager, Rob learned to sail with his father in a Lido 14, sailing out of Palo Alto. In 1976 he bought a cruising Santana 22 in Monterey and named his first boat Libido. It soon became apparent he was a racer, so he rigged the boat with a spinnaker and secondary wenches and started racing PHRF. He taught his wife De to sail, and she happily became his first mate. They joined the Monterey Peninsula Yacht Club because Rob was working in Monterey. Then, since they lived in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Rob and De decided to buy Variety Show, a SC27, by partnering with Dan Borror in the fall of 1981, and Barry Whittall became a partner a few years later. The Schuylers joined the Santa Cruz Yacht Club in 1982 and immediately started sailing with the SC27 local fleet. Rob loved racing One Design in his new fleet. He was SC27 National Class President in 1982 and never stopped supporting his fleet and new members.
Since Dan and Barry were avid skiers and the Santa Cruz Harbor shoaled up during winter, Rob and Roger Sturgeon signed up to race RYC Midwinters together and alternated between their two boats, Variety Show and Mystery Eagle. In 1991, Rob and De bought Hanalei Express with Roger and Isobel Sturgeon and a winning formula was born. Rob was the designated driver while Roger was the tactician. At this time the harbor had now been opened with the dredge program, and it was Rob and Roger’s idea to start the Mid-Winter series in Santa Cruz, which they did. The last big event that Roger and Rob raced together on Hanalei was the 1997 SC27 Nationals in Huntington Lake, where the partnership finally won their first National Championship.
Roger bought his first Rosebud in 1998, and Rob was his designated driver in this SC52 owner-driver fleet. That same year SCYC honored Rob and Roger as the “Yachtsmen of the Year.” Rosebud won the Big Boat Series in 1999 with a combined amateur crew from SCYC and MPYC, which put Rob on the front cover of Latitude 38. Roger went on to buy two more Rosebuds and win many more honors with a professional crew.
After the 1997 Nationals, Rob continued to race Hanalei with De in Santa Cruz, winning more honors locally and more National Championships. They became the sole owners of Hanalei after a brief partnership with Beat and Magdalena Naef (2002-2006).
Rob had taught his son Ryan to sail as a Junior member in SCYC. When Ryan took a break from sailing to pursue other sports, Rob said, “I will see you when you are 30.” Almost to the day, Ryan was back on the dock looking for a ride. He joined Hanalei’s racing crew, helping them win numerous National Championships (see sc27.org for more details). In November 2018 Mark Woznicki became a partner, and Rob was happily looking forward to sailing in SCYC’s One Design Series with his newest partner, along with his son and Corinthian crew members.
In 2002, Rob and De bought into the Gandalf partnership with Hjordis Quitzau and Ric and Marilyn Diola. They were soon joined by Bob and Jan DeWitt in 2003 and by Ashley Zaninovich/Basanese in 2015. Rob enjoyed racing PHRF series in Gandalf and again taking many top honors locally with his partners. For Rob, Gandalf was the chosen platform for Wednesday Night races and welcoming new sailors.
In 2010, Rob was elected a Director of Santa Cruz Yacht Club Board, and he volunteered to chair a committee to explore strategies to grow the Corinthian membership group (ages 21-35). Rob wrote the following before his death on May 1, 2019:
How to Attract Young Adult Sailors to Your Club
I belong to the Santa Cruz Yacht Club in California. We are famous worldwide for starting the ultralight displacement sailboat revolution. Basically we are a volunteer club and for decades we have been wondering why we were not attracting more young adult sailors. This is a phenomenon that many yacht clubs across the nation have experienced.
The Santa Cruz Yacht Club decided to form a fact-finding committee that included a diverse cross section of members to problem solve the lack of members in this age group. After careful consideration we concluded that we did not have much for them to do. Due to the lack of participants, we didn’t have a one-design fleet for them to enjoy or any social events.
So, we started looking around for some boats to start a one-design fleet, but we could not find any money or boats available for a new fleet. Being a volunteer club with little funding, we were stymied as to how to develop a new fleet. We came up with an ingenious idea to obtain boats: Lasers! We asked the membership to loan the club their old Lasers to develop a new fleet of boats for young adults. We received a landslide of old Lasers from our “baby boomers” who were no longer interested in sailing a small dingy. And we offered free space in the boat yard for those who still believed they wanted to sail a dingy. Many spouses were delighted to get these old boats out of their garages and back yards. Within a month, we received ten lasers.
The next challenge was to find young adults who wanted to sail in our new fleet. The young sailors who had grown up sailing in our club’s excellent Junior program were not really interested in sailing a bunch of beat up old Lasers, so we decided to reach out into the community to find people who would like to join our club and learn to sail using the Lasers. We found a huge untapped source of enthusiastic young adults in our community who wanted to learn to sail. They were amazed at how easy and affordable it was to join SCYC, and they were truly excited about learning to sail.
I decided to get my U.S. Sailing Instructors License, then I began giving free beginning sailing classes. The first class filled to capacity and the second class filled up again. We are now having Friday evening Laser races and it is growing by the week.
Within two months, the club tripled its young membership and was vibrating with energy. The new members were an enthusiastic group of young men and women who attracted new members within their community. It also attracted previous Junior sailors who began to rejoin the club to be with a peer group. The experienced young sailors started teaching the new members how to sail, and the new sailors provided new energy that was intoxicating. The new sailors wanted to learn to fly spinnakers, race in keelboats, do race committee, and organize new social events. It is very exciting for our club to be involved in this amazing process.
There are many people in our community who want to learn to sail, and I believe we have been ignoring these people in our quest to develop competitive young sailors. If we can become more involved in pleasure sailing, I believe we can save our beloved sport of sailing.
In addition to his work with the Corinthian Program, Rob was elected Rear Commodore in 2011. When Commodore Dave Emerson became ill in 2012, Rob assumed leadership and completed the Tram Project. He also got permits finalized for the major club remodel.
Rob was Commodore in 2013 and celebrated the club’s 85th anniversary with the Tram Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony. Rob continued to sail Hanalei and Gandalf, and he was always welcoming new sailors on Wednesday nights and teaching new Corinthian members to race. He continued to support the Corinthian Program as their Director until he passed away unexpectedly on May 1, 2019, from a massive stroke while walking his beloved dog Buster.
The Schuyler family invites you to spend an hour and watch Rob’s memorial. It is unbelievable that a year has gone by since he passed. Here is the link to his memorial, which is word perfect! Yes, it will make you cry, but it is an amazing tribute to Rob from his family and friends, who love him dearly.
View link (only available through Sept. 30, 2020)