SAILING IN THE 90's

Typically, trophies were won by sailors throughout the country. The 1990 Nationals winner was our boat builder, Dave Nickels, in a new "Nickels Boat" at Perrysburg, OH.
1990 saw another first when Yvonne Flanigan was sworn in as the first woman Commodore of the National Rebel Class Association. Yvonne commented that, "It was a long time coming and there were many deserving women who could have come before me."

WORKING IT HARD TO WINDWARD In 1991, New York Skipper Steve Vurno, with his Dad, George and members of Fleet #21 in Greenwood Lake, NJ, took home the National Championship trophies. 1991 also saw Nickels Boat Works introduce the Rebel MK V which secured a second place at the hot and steamy Nationals at Rush Creek Yacht Club in Dallas, Texas.
John Butzer served as Commodore in 1991 and Karl Karlsson in 1992. 1992 also brought Hank and Karen Hodgson their 5th Nationals title. The Nationals were sponsored by the Des Plaines Fleet, cooperating with the Island Bay Yacht Club, Springfield, IL. The Don S. Musselman Award, given to recognize outstanding contributions to the Association, is given to sailors and non-sailors. Clarence Metzger received the Musselman Award in 1992 for his continued support of the Association. Clarence and Sally, who no longer sail, have run the committee boat and rescue boats and provided extensive assistance to each recent Nationals.

In 1993 the trophies headed east again, carried home to Pennsylvania by Randy and Debbie Blough winning over a fleet of 32 boats. The Association continued to attract sailors of all ages. One of the more colorful sailors is Ben Hassell, who with his wife Erna, celebrated 50 years of marriage in 1993. We understand a celebration gift was a new boat which resulted in an even tougher competitor. Yearly, this weathered and experienced sailor vies for the Dean of the Regatta, an award presented to the oldest skipper.

The 1994 Nationals were hosted by the Clark Lake Yacht Club. At the end of four days of sailing the trophy went to Dave Nickels and daughter Christy from nearby Lake Fenton. Hank Hodgson and Karen locked into second place with Randy Blough and Debbie taking third. A familiar name was added to the Rex Pierson Memorial Perpetual Award this year...Don Robinson. Tim Dowling took the helm of the Association as Commodore for 1994 year from retiring 1993 Commodore Bill Blaine. The Juniors entered six boats in the Junior competition with Pat Vorel supervising.

The Association membership always looks forward to receiving the newest REBEL RABBLE edition. Bill Ryan, sailing from Augusta, GA took editorial control with the 1991 fall edition. In the fall of 1993 Laureen Dowling assumed the REBEL RABBLE post while Karel Vorel launched her term as editor with the fall edition of 1995.

The Association seeks an opportunity to help youth learn about our sport of sailing. It has been providing assistance and support to the Irish Hills Michigan Girl Scout Council for several years. In a letter acknowledging this help, the Council noted the special assistance that Don Robinson had provided in putting their fleet back in shape.

Ed and Linda Cox achieved their much sought after prize of first place in 1995 followed by Don Robinson in 2nd, and John Baron in 3rd. Pat Vorel accepted the Commodore's post at the general membership meeting held during the Nationals in July. A decision was made to hold the Nationals for 1996 at the Island Bay Yacht Club in Springfield, Illinois under the direction and sponsorship of the Des Plaines Yacht Club.

The selection of Dave Nickels as the official builder of the Rebel in 1988 proved to be a giant step forward for the Rebel Association. By the mid 90's Dave had made several improvements in the design of the Rebel. A major improvement was making it a self rescuing vessel. The owners of Nickels boats are thrilled with the quality of workmanship! Perhaps Dave's concentration on improving the boat gave him that extra something to enable him to win the Nationals again in 1996 at Island Bay Yacht Club, Springfield, IL. His crew was CeCe (Reading) Smith. They made a great duo!

Sailors elected Neil Robb Commodore at the 1996 Nationals and also shared the excitement of the 50th wedding anniversary of Emery and Ruth Freeman. Emery's grandson Chris skippered in the juniors and crewed for his grandfather in the Nationals. Dave became so enthusiastic about the Rebel Association that he and his family and NICKEL'S BOAT WORKS are hosting the 1997 Rebel Nationals at Lake Fenton, MI.

National Champions of the 90's:

  • 1990 Dave Nickels, and daughter Christy - Lake Fenton YC, Fenton, MI
  • 1991 Steve Vurno, with father George - Awosting Yacht Squadron, Hewitt, NJ
  • 1992 Hank and Karen Hodgson - Manitou Beach, MI
  • 1993 Randy and Debbie Bough - Wayne, PA
  • 1994 Dave and Christy Nickels - Lake Fenton Yacht Club, Fenton, MI
  • 1995 Ed and Linda Cox - Grand Rapids Yacht Club, Grand Rapids, MI
  • 1996 Dave Nickels, and CeCe Smith, Lake Fenton Yacht Club, Fenton, MI

    The National Rebel Class Association continues to thrive. It is important to note that the Rebel Class is characterized by the young and the old and those in between. It is through the encouragement of Rebel sailors with a few years of sailing under their belts that younger and less experienced skippers are brought into our sport. The Rebel Class honors those who provide the most help at Nationals, and it is true, a sailor is never alone in fixing and honing his or her boat.
    The Association has always taken pride in making the National Rebel Class Association a family experience. Not only have we had parent child teams, we have had grandparent -grandchild teams, and many sailors have brought youth from among their acquaintances they felt would enjoy the sailing experience. It's also notable that sons and daughters grow up and continue to sail with the Association.
    The National Rebel Class Association looks forward to continued growth as its members pledge to continue to search out better and safer ways to compete on the water, and wonderful ways to celebrate the joy of wind and water on land.