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Congratulations to Lloyd Karzen
on being named The 2013 Yachtsperson of the Year
by The Chicago Yachting Association
CYC member Lloyd Karzen named
2013 CYA’s Yachtsperson of the Year
By Julian Zeng
When Lloyd Karzen talks about his six grandchildren, all boys, his eyes soften with pride.
As his grandkids' interest in sailing grows, so does Karzen's expectation of having them all join him on the deck of his newly purchased J-70, a family of crewmates.
Perhaps they will uncover the same passion for boating that Karzen has enjoyed for nearly 60 years, the same passion that has earned him the 2013 Chicago Yachting Association's Yachtsperson of the Year.
Initiated in 1960, recipients of the award will have "performed deeds and/or services of an exceptional nature, which have directly benefited the Chicago Yachting Association."
First introduced to sailing in high school, Karzen began his experience with an all-wood 1939 Islander. Owned by his wife's aunt, the sailboat piqued Karzen's curiosity.
"I didn't know anything about sailing at all," Karzen said. "I was green and so forth, and they taught me how to sail." He went on to start racing Luders and L-16s, followed by five to six years spent on a Vanguard 33.
Karzen's next venture was racing on a C&C Custom 43 for 12 years, the owner of which was in Toronto.
"We had to go up through the Welland Canal to get it," Karzen said, "and then sailed it all the way back to Chicago over a few weeks. We had a good time."
His most notable racing accomplishment is his 25 Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac regattas. Karzen is now on the Mac Committee and has been the Island Coordinator since 2000.
"It's a challenging race," Karzen said. "I enjoy getting up to the Island, meeting the people and setting everything up."
As a competitor, Karzen said conditions are not always favorable, a sentiment with which any other sailor would agree. "You have good times and bad times," Karzen said. "Then you usually get up in the morning to solitude.”
Though Karzen commented how the latest tracking technology has made everyone visible, he is of an old-fashioned mindset.
"See, some of the old-timers like me, you don't want anyone to know where you are," Karzen said. "We want to go where we want to go and that's that."
Despite wanting to stay off the grid on the water, Karzen has made a very visible mark with countless boating committees and organizations off the water.
A 25-year member and past commodore of the Heritage Boat Club, member of the Sea Scouts of Chicago Area Council and past chairman of the Sea Scouts Dinner and chairman of the Chicago Yachting Association's Christmas Committee, to name a few, Karzen has a history of contributions to the Chicagoland boating community.
The most important to him is arguably the Christmas Ship, on which he has served as chairman since 2010. Founded in 2000, Chicago's Christmas Ship is the city's largest all-volunteer charitable support program for inner city youth and their families during Christmastime.
"We have trees that we give away to disadvantaged families, it's a good group," Karzen said. "We're non-political -- every dollar we raise goes towards a tree. Some of the people from the committee want to do things, we do it out of pocket ourselves. We don't want to be politically tied to anybody, we want to be honest."
His involvement in the Chicagoland boating community has been a rewarding experience, one that has given him lasting friendships and a true sense of belonging, especially as a member of the Chicago Yacht Club.
"We take this lake for granted, people don't realize what we have to offer here," Karzen said. "The club, the camaraderie, you find that you have more friends here around the sailing community -- it's a nice thing to do."
Now, as his sailing life continues on, Karzen has more family with which to share the water, looking forward to his grandsons' sailing development.
"I'm enjoying my grandkids getting involved and seeing progression where they're getting excited about sailing," Karzen said. "I'm looking forward to getting them all involved on my boat."
His best advice to them, and to all others with a passion for sailing?
"Just go out and have fun, enjoy it," he said. "Turn your engine off and all you have up there is the wind god."
Karzen will receive the 2013 Yachtsperson of the Year award at the Chicago Yachting Association’s Yachting Celebration to be held on Friday, Dec 6th at Monroe Station.
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