Father and son team, Fred and Ward Detwiler are causing a stir, not only in Detroit but throughout the Midwest in their new Melges IC37, Jerome.
Jerome is an innovative one design yacht that is built to perform, but achieves the ultimate balance remaining as a class that continues to develop keen sailors seeking the opportunity to race competitively, often with a crew of family and friends.
Racing with family and friends was one of the biggest drawcards to the Melges IC37 for Fred, and the recent Port Huron to Mackinac Island race, was just that. Alongside Fred and his 35-year-old son, Ward, the Jerome team were complemented by a group of four sailors in their 60s and four sailors in their 30s. The importance of friendships within this campaign is substantial with the recently launched yacht named Jerome as a tribute to Fred’s late friend.
This year’s race faced adversity initially with new health and safety restrictions either postponing or canceling much of the racing in the Midwest. However, under the watchful eye of the Bayview Yacht Club, who carefully managed competitor concerns and expectations, the race ensued and delivered plenty of on-water action as the various fleets raced North to Mackinac Island.
For Fred and the Jerome crew, the race will be a highlight of their inaugural season and for many years to come, finishing 1st in the Sport Boat division.
Fred commented, “We are incredibly pleased with not only our position in the race but that the Bayview Yacht Club was able to get us all to the start line. Now we are looking forward to getting back out on the water and learning more about this boat.”
As sailors, we connect through our passion and often obsession for sailing. Campaigns of this calibre require a network of partnerships to ensure that the boat is prepared and placed well to deliver the results we all desire. As a Michigan native, Fred Detwiler says that he is very “loyal” and enjoys supporting local businesses in the region and this statement certainly portrays the truth when talking about his relationship with Doyle Sails Detroit’s, Al Declercq, a partnership that has spanned decades. In addition to Al’s expertise making boats go fast, Fred’s praise continues to reference his ability to deliver an innovative sail inventory.
Jerome’s Doyle Sails inventory consists of a Main, J-1.5, J -3, Spinnaker Staysail, A 1.5, A 3 and a Tweener. The main and jibs and Tweener were designed by the world-class Doyle design team, with Auckland based Stefano Nava taking the lead. All of the upwind sails are constructed using Stratis membranes; the high-performance solution offered by Doyle Sails.
No stranger to both inshore and offshore racing, and often on the start lines of some of the biggest races in the United States of America, Fred is a veteran of the Newport to Bermuda race, Port Huron to Mackinac and in recent years an entry into the Transpac from Los Angeles to Hawaii. Most of his sailing, from childhood to present, has been on the Great Lakes and often in larger yachts than the IC37. He says the adverse weather conditions provide a challenging but rewarding landscape to develop as a sailor.
What the Melges IC37 delivers in performance, also offers fun in equal measures. For Fred and his family, the enjoyment and comradery that comes with sailing these types of boats is something that is generating a lot of excitement and will continue to do so for many years to come.
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