Sam Myer’s an Appreciation
Republished from the September 1978 Downwind by then Commodore John Virag, courtesy of Kay Myers Ralph.
On September 2, Sam Myers passed away suddenly from an aneurysm. The loss of Sam came as a shock. He will be badly missed for his friendship, enthusiasm, and energy contributed to all of us.
Long-term members of PSC had watched Sam’s growth from a novice to a champion sailor. It all began in 1969 when Sam was dating Kay Iacozili, whose father, Gus, had an Interlake at Pymatuning’s Westinghouse Bay. It seems that Sam enjoyed picnicking with the Iacozilis, but as a non-swimmer, he was not enthusiastic about all that water out there. Apparently, Gus, one pleasant day, convinced Sam that the Interlake might be at least a little bit of fun. One cruise was all it took. As Gus reports, when Sam took the tiller of that Interlake gliding silently through the water, the sailing bug reached out and grabbed him, and never let go. (See Note)
Sam’s first boat was a Cottontail he purchased from a local doctor. Soon, however, he acquired his first Fireball. Sam began his racing career like the rest of us – at the back of the fleet. But he didn’t stay there long. With his wife, Kay, often aboard as an able and enthusiastic crew, Sam toured the Fireball circuit from Cleveland to Canada to the Carolinas to Florida and points west. Aware of the necessity for boat speed in top competition, Sam always made sure he had the best of boats and sails available. Altogether he owned five Fireballs! His skill, tremendous dedication, and attention to equipment paid off in an extensive record of wins.
His victories culminated with a fourth place finish in the Fireball North American Championship in August [1978, eds]. Sam was disappointed he didn’t do better, but his achievement was nonetheless impressive. The races held on treacherous San Francisco Bay with strong winds and currents offered conditions different from any Sam had formerly encountered. Yet he was often in the lead, only sometimes deterred by a stubborn spinnaker halyard, which hampered lowering the chute. The next goal he had in mind was the Worlds in Thailand. Having qualified earlier, he was trying to figure out a way to attend. Knowing Sam, most of us would guess he’d have found a way.
In addition to touring with his Fireball, Sam remained involved with his home club, PSC, offering support and leadership to club activities. He served as Race Committee chairman in 1974-1976, was a Director in 1977, and our ViceCommodore in 1978.
The Fireball Association also soon recognized Sam’s leadership ability. He went from leadership in the local District 4 to editor of the Fireball Newsletter, “Baller’s Bulletin”, to national ViceCommodore, and finally to Commodore of the US International Fireball Sailing Association. He was also actively involved with meeting and projects of USYRU.
Note: Before getting bit by the sailing bug, Sam was interested in cars. He often spent his weekends at the drag strip racing his Corvette.