by Richard Lubell, July 1st 2018
Our club has been experiencing a Renaissance of new members recently who have been enriching the culture of Miramar with their skills and passion for sailing these last few years. But, we are also blessed by the continuing contributions of long term members, many of whom have been guiding the club for 50 years or longer.
The longest serving members of Miramar are Gil Cigal and Jules Spodek, and their wives Bernice and Hortense. They both joined the club in 1948 shortly after it had been incorporated in 1944, just after WWII. Jules and Horty recently took a leave of absence.
Gil is an electrical engineer who specialized in naval architecture; skills that helped him design electrical systems on a plentitude of vessels from commercial and military ships, to dozens of boats over the years at Miramar. He was also an early innovator of the furling system commonly used to control headsails today. He is also a certified marine surveyor and inspector who still performs these duties on boats all throughout Sheepshead Bay today.
Gil was Commodore of the club from 1974-76 and has held many other executive posts here. He was also a champion racer winning many trophies in attractive sailing craft like his Hinckley 40 ft. yawl Seaquence which swept to victories in the 1960’s. You can still see Gil arriving regularly at the club often riding his Vespa cycle through our gates.
Board of Governors 1970: (Seated) Lennie Fishman, Walter Eisenberg, Irene Olson, Julie Spodek
(Standing) Sherman Leonard, Dan Beyer, Ernie Wasserman, Gil Cigal, Bill Kossman, Sam Kadish, Burt Kyle, Neil Raskin.
Julie Spodek was a “boy Commodore” as a thirty year old, back in 1957-59. He became a legal scholar and NY Supreme Court judge, and used his legal knowledge to help navigate hurdles to the deeding of our club house and facilities. Julie and Horty were active sailors who owned many boats. Their daughter Ellen followed in her father’s footsteps and also became a NY Supreme Court judge.
Debbie Kossman, who joined the club in 1952, still comes down regularly and enjoys our parties and post race Regatta dinners, as well as most Commodore Balls. She and her late husband, Bill who served as Commodore from 1967-69, funded one of Miramar’s three trophy races, The Kossman Regatta. During Bill’s tenure as Commodore, Miramar’s present facility was constructed. Debbie and Bill were active Lightning sailors. Debbie founded the first ALS Foundation when Bill became disabled from the disease. She cared for him for nearly 50 years. Bill was one of the longest survivors of ALS.
Another former Lightning sailor is Olive Alpert who joined the club in the early 50’s. She and her late husband, Ralph sailed and raced Ollie Oops at Miramar. It was the last remaining Lightning in our fleet being “decommissioned” about 10 years ago. Ralph, who was Commodore from 1985-87 was an affable man with a good sense of humor. Along with a performing a multitude of tasks, he was devoted to maintaining our tenders which have served our club for decades.
Oli was a professional graphic artist, and through the years, she has contributed her skills toward beautifying the club. Her colorful mural of silhouetted sail boats adorns the eastern wall separating of club from SBYC. Upstairs, in the ballroom another of her murals decorates the walls in a starlit nocturnal scene. She is still sails regularly (often in Ensign races), and contributes her photography to the MAINSHEET.
One of Miramar’s finest small craft sailors, Tom Green, joined Miramar in the 1960’s and raced Lightnings, Flying Scotts, as well as being an active frostbite sailor in the winters. Tom recently took a leave of absence.
Ron Olson has been an active sailor and instructor at Miramar since joining the club when a high school student in 1956. He graduated Brooklyn Tech High in 1958 Ron’s wife, Irene has been devoted to Miramar since joining in the late 60’s. Irene has been a leader of the Women’s Auxiliary, a long term Board member, and the membership Coordinator for 20 years.
Officers of Club in 1970: (Seated) Irv Shapiro, Walter Raskin, Larry Fretts, Mike Zwerling
(Standing) Arthur Beecher, Sherman Leonard
Wendy Shomer grew up at the club with her parents, Paul and Florence. Wendy has contributed to the well being of our club at many levels through the years, including a long tenure as club treasurer, and as Mainsheet editor for over 20 years. She and Gil Cigal sailed Omega, a Pearson 365 (now owned by Sal Cannizzaro) almost daily for decades.
Barbara Banchik joined Miramar in the late 1950’s and was our first female Commodore from 1992-94. Barbie has been an enthusiastic sailing instructor for generations. More recently, she has been leading the sailing classes and Seek and Sail, and the Ready Boat activities. Her daughter, Jill Martino, also grew up in the club and has been an active board member and chair of committee including for Miramar merchandise. Leon Paley, her spouse, grew up together with Barbara in the Rockaways. They both sail their own Ensigns, and Leon has been active as entertainment chair for many years.
Two of our most productive members, Ernie Wasserman and Irv Shapiro joined the club in 1962. They and their spouses, Mattie and Barbara are seen here daily. Ernie was Commodore from 1976-78 and has been a stalwart managing the club’s finances as treasurer, while also editing the Mainsheet earlier on. Irv was a champion racer in both the Ensign and the Division 1 series. Both Ernie and Irv purchased the first edition of Ensigns in the early 60’s, and sailed their boats Playful and Calvados here from the manufacturer, Pearson.
Irv was commodore from 1972-74. He became a licensed marine agent who continues to outfit rigging and equipment for our fleet of sailboats. Irv also was responsible for delivering at least 20 Ensigns to our club in the 60’s and 70’s. By 1984, Miramar had 35 Ensigns in our fleet!
Barbara Becker and her late husband, Marv joined Miramar over 50 years ago. Barbara and her current spouse, another former Commodore, Jerry Borell (2004-06) have enjoyed sailing, and especially cruising together for the last 15 years.
Evelyn Reder and her late husband, Bill, joined the club in the late 60’s. Bill sailed numerous boats and was quite handy, but he particularly enjoyed gliding swiftly over the waves, clad in a wetsuit, on his cherished Prindle 17 ft. Catamaran. Bill and Evelyn’s son, Josh grew up at Miramar. You can now see him repairing and replacing moorings from his rafting rig. He also enjoys his new Catamaran with his wife Missy and their 4 children.
Now that you’ve read a little about these cherished members, you should stop and chat with them to learn more about the development and history of Miramar.