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.
National Champions of the 90's:
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."
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
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
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.
1990 Dave Nickels, and daughter Christy - Lake Fenton YC, Fenton, MI
1991 Steve Vurno, with father George - Awosting Yacht Squadron,
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,
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
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.