Point of Sail
Dick Baxter ’63 didn’t initially think he had an interest in sailing. “A casual acquaintance invited me to go sailing with him. I really didn’t want to go. I wanted to stay home and watch football. I couldn’t think of a polite excuse, so I went,” Baxter said. “It was an instant addiction, and I knew I wanted to learn how to sail.”
Baxter did just that, and over the next 40 years, he raced small sailboats on Galveston Bay, just south of Houston. “Racing sailboats provides an escape from reality,” he said. “It requires intense concentration and complex problem solving, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you solved the problems correctly—it is just a game.”
Baxter made twelve trips to the Upper Midwest and East Coast to compete in national championship regattas, racing on Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, Lake Huron, Lake Erie, Canandaigua Lake, Long Island Sound and Barnegat Bay. He finished in the top 10 five times, but Baxter’s favorite race was the last of the 2010 National Championship Regatta in Cedarville, Michigan. “We benefitted from an early wind shift and lead the race from start to finish,” he said. “This gave us a third-place finish for the regatta, which we considered a fantastic accomplishment.”
Though he’s now retired from sailing, Baxter’s unexpected hobby turned out to be the experience of a lifetime.