Sailors compete for George Cup in Glencoe

The George Cup, an annual Glencoe Boat Club tradition, took place with seven races Saturday, Aug. 9.

The event was held in memory of George Matavulj, a Glencoe harbormaster, boat house manager, skipper, mentor and sailing instructor who died in 2007.

“It’s a great memorial to my friend George,” said Jay Adler of Buffalo Grove, who knew Matavulj.

Matavulj’s photograph is included on the George Cup award plaque, displayed in the Porter Bennett Boat House.

After retiring from an engineering career, Matavulj became the boat house manager for a decade.

“He was an excellent sailor,” said Jim Henderson, a 15-year Northfield resident who started sailing at Glencoe Beach in 1979. “He taught us how to race, how to fix our boats, how to rig them. He taught us all.

“He was a very old salt,” Henderson said, with a laugh. “Language which just cannot be printed in your newspaper. That’s why we loved him. He was our family down here, George was our dad. We miss him.”

Clay Riggan of Winnetka and a 2012 New Trier graduate, is Glencoe Beach harbormaster, handling many of the same duties that Matavulj mastered.

“[Matavulj] was dearly respected with the park district,” Riggan said.

The weather at the Glencoe Park District beach produced 2 to 3 foot waves Saturday, with winds at about 14 mph and matching air and water temperatures of 72 degrees.

“It was a good looking day, I wouldn’t call it perfect,” said club vice-commodore Eric Brislawn of Buffalo Grove. “But it’s never perfect, is it?”

While the George Cup was completed on time, a winner could not be determined until season points are tallied.

At about 6 p.m. Saturday, things were looking good for Bob and Megan Findlay of Glencoe to snag the cup. The two, who keep their boat at Wilmette’s Gillson Park, sailed to and from Wilmette to compete in the George Cup.

Bob Findlay, a six-day-a-week regular at Gillson Beach is a global sailor who qualified for the Sunfish World Championship at age 14.

Raised in Wilmette, Findlay is a 1977 New Trier graduate. His wife Megan, who grew up in Glencoe, is an ’82 New Trier grad.

“Oh, we had fun, there was a little bit of everything,” said Bob Findlay, who taught sailing in Key West, Florida, for 15 years. “The people here are the nicest. It makes it all worthwhile when people go out and have a good time.”

The lowest point-getters of the seven George Cup races were the Findlays with nine points.

They were followed by Dylan Cotter, 14, of Glencoe and Jacob Travis, 13, a Central School eighth-grader from Glencoe, with 14 points.

“They were tricky conditions, due to the wind,” Dylan said.

“I trusted my skipper,” Jacob said. “We’re the youngest people.”

In third, with 25 points, were Tom Sparks and Dr. Toni Risdon, both of Wilmette.

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