By Brub Mehl
I started sailing on the Enigma when I was 15 years old – a mere 68 years ago. Oh what a pleasure it was to be with Uncle Ken, Chuck Schauble, Pattie Padden, George Loesel, Pan Pininski, Homer Coleman, Bob Fry, Rich Loesel, Lou Klahr and so many wonderful sailors that make up the Enigma/Eckerd alumni.
We won lots of races including too many Annette Cup races to count. The excitement of the race was a thrill but more important it was the spirit of that boat and its crew that was the greatest reward. And then the finish complete with “kick a poo joy juice” to get the festivities started – a good boat, good skippers (Chuck and Rich) and a fine crew – what fun it was.
Along came 1960 and I decided I wanted to be a skipper so I bought a Columbia 33 fresh out of a show room in Cleveland. Never bothered to sail the boat before the purchase – what a mistake that was. So I got what I deserved – a comfortable sailboat but extremely slow especially up-wind. We called her Helm which is Mehl all mixed up. Lots of memories of this boat – the one that stands out is when we raced in the 1961 Inner Club – the crew was Rich Altman, Jim Scott, Buck Hubbard, John Veenschoten, my two sons Joe and Tim and yours truly. I remember a great start but it was down hill from there. The fleet took off in high gear but we were in slow. About five miles from the Dover finish line the tiller was useless because of a malfunction to the rudder. We did finish by sail maneuvers but the committee boat headed for shore before we crossed the line – I guess you call that DNF – most disappointing but we made up for it at the bars.
Needless to say I sold Helm to a fellow from New Jersey – I sure didn’t want anyone from Erie to be stuck with my mistake. That experience taught me a lesson that I was not cut out to be a Skipper so Uncle Ken reinstated me to my old crew duties on the Enigma. It’s where I belonged with a fine crew and the legendary Enigma.