Last week I asked the membership to share any and all memories of Rich Crucet. Below are pictures and your thoughts.
Myself and a hardy contingent of seven NEIYA members attended Rich’s memorial dinner. Most striking was the consistency of remembrances. To sum up my own thoughts and the community’s , Rich was truly an altruistic person both off and on the ice.
In 2003 I was doing my first big regattas (Worlds and NA’s) at Plattsburgh, NY. I had only been sailing DNs for a year or two and one afternoon I was looking for a lighter helmet to replace the monstrous snowmobile helmet I had. A few people sent me to look for some guy named Bob Schumacher who had a few Jofa helmets to sell.
I was new and barely knew any faces or names but someone pointed me to a camper van and said he might be in there-
The door was open and I recall looking in and there was a group of guys crowded around a table full of beer and food. I can still recall the aroma…. Some guy with crazy dark hair and a shit-eating grin was telling stories and busting chops- and invited me in for a beer, a meal and, it turned out, to razz the new guy for awhile…. Had a few much-needed laughs!
That’s how I met Rich. Thanks for letting the new kid hang with the big boys that day. And for everything else.
Sail on, man.
James “T” Thieler
DN US 5224
Rich was clever and inventive, in addition to other fine qualities…
Editor’s note: Look for parking brake photo in tribute album from Mallett’s Bay in Colchester, Vermont March 14, 2009. Also check out the vintage Lake Ronkonkoma ice creepers.
Rich first approached me when I went down to New England by myself to race in the NE’s at Lake Champlain almost ten years ago.
Rich saw me with the KC on the sail while setting up my boat and invited me to join him and others in his camper to have freshly baked blueberry bran muffins. That was my first impression of Rich Crucet.
How cool is that…
… almost ten years ago, he has always remembered my name since and has always approached me to say hello and chat at every event.
Rich was a great brother in our beloved sport. We will definitely miss him.
DN KC 4536
During the years I organized the NEIYA Swap Meet and Annual meeting I would always get a call from Rich to let me know how big a crowd he had rounded up from among his NY ice boating friends. And who could say no to Rich with his excitement, passion and energy to make the annual trek to central Massachusetts. He would bring a van load, no make that a boat load of people for a day of fun and camaraderie. Our calls would inevitably turn to plans for winter sailing and always lasted for longer than either of us had anticipated. Rich truly enjoyed people, commiserating with old friends and new friend alike.
His spirit, vitality and joy of life will be missed by his many ice boating buddies from across the Northeast.
Former NEIYA Treasurer
I would like to add how generous he was – when we were at Gilbert Brook Marina, he offered to let me use his “facilities” and also was so gracious to let me try and use his push sled which I had a blast on. It was the first time meeting him and we were instant friends. He was that kind of guy. He will be missed by many.
Mrs. VC (NEIYA)
Rich was an ice boat RACER and a true ice boat ENTHUSIAST! He was always there to lend a hand, I will miss him.
DN US 4690
I met Rich for the first time this year while helping to scout Champlain ice for the DN North Americans. My first impression was of this crazy looking guy, with a wonderful long island accent, in a ford dually with a camper and trailer. Rich jumps out and starts talking about ice conditions. Being new to the sport I quickly realized that ice boaters are a “different breed of cat”…. Having spent a day killing time with T, Oliver and Chad in Peru IL, I quickly came to the conclusion that their heads are wired differently than the rest of the general population and Rich was no exception.
Rich and the boys went out scouting ice sailing and pushing and upon returning was heard to say.
“REALLY….. REALLY!!!!! Like every time I use that sail the wind dies and I have to walk and push the boat in……” (sadly shaking his head with a disgusted look in his eyes….).
Over the course of the days racing that weekend and the following I enjoyed some wonderful meals (soup and hot dogs cooked with a bernzomatic torch) and conservation in the camper with Rich and who ever stumbled in…
It was a pleasure listening to him describe his wife, their relationship and their adventures together. “We’ve got the money, you never know when you are going to die and it will be all over. My wife wants me to spend it, go enjoy and play and do the things that make you happy because it is over all too soon. ”
It has been an honor to know you Rich.
I had a nice conversation with Rich this fall at the meeting/swap meet. He told me about putting wheels on his DN and practicing race starts in the street in front of his house. He would push the boat without a sail down the street and jumping in simulating multiple starts to the bewilderment of his neighbors. I saw him again up in Pittsburgh on Lake Champlain. He was a familiar, friendly face of enthusiasm for the sport of ice boating. My heart goes out to Rich’s family.
Thanks to all that shared their memories or just thought about their times with Rich on or off the ice over the past few days.
Rich sail fast on fair winds and shore to shore black ice,
P.S. Please feel free to leave comments for all below.