Lightning Fleet 36 lost one of its most-loved members this fall, Herb Jestel. If you aren’t from the Ohio District, you might not know Herb, but his story is an important lesson for all of us.
Herb started sailing many years ago at Atwood Yacht Club in Ohio, and then moved to PYC in 1973, where he was an active member and racer until his recent death at age 89. In his younger days, Herb was an active regatta participant, and was even featured on the cover of the 1981 ILCA Yearbook. While Herb never won a major regatta, and for many years now has rarely traveled to outside regattas, still he leaves a rich and lasting legacy for us.
When I think of someone who embodies integrity and selflessness, he is the person who comes to mind. Herb was kind and caring, and unfailingly positive, not to mention fun - he was always a joy to be around!I remember we celebrated George Fisher as a gentleman and a Corinthian, and I firmly believe that Herbwas cut from exactly the same cloth – just on a local level. And like George, Herb was so humble that I’m sure he wasn’t aware of how much he was loved.
One of the most important lessons Herb taught all of us is that sailing and racing is a joy in and of itself. Sure, we’d all like to win every race. But instead, he showed us week in and week out that the joy is in the participating, the doing, the enjoyment of the people around him, and not really the place of his finish at all.
I can’t put into words how much Herb has meant to our fleet, but it was important to honor his memory by trying. He leaves a legacy of trust and admiration with our fleet that will live on for a very, very long time. Herb was a stalwart member of our Lightning fleet, and without him, it just won’t be quite the same.