Mead Batchelor died in the morning of Friday, August 24, just one day before he was to be honored at the Opening Ceremony of the 2001 North Americans. The Mid-Connecticut Fleet was to present the Star Class with the Mead Batchelor Trophy which is to be presented to the winning crew of the series.
Mead was one of the founding members of the Mid-Connecticut fleet. He was also active in the Star Class by being a member of various Class committees, including the Governing Committee (today called the I.G.C.). His service to the Class culminated with being Rear Commodore for the years 1994-1998.
Mead was well known throughout the Class beginning in the 1950s. His fame was enhanced by a photo which appeared in the 1960 Log in which Mead is shown with his boat Kismet, Star # 3340, after winning the Bedford Pitcher in 1959. A slight problem with a port tacker perhaps?
Below is another photo which appeared in the 1962 Log of Mead after winning the Ned Hay Memorial Trophy in 1961 with his boat Aquarius, # 4340. Doris Hay is presenting Mead with the take-home trophy.
Ode to Mead
By Chris Batchelor
My father was a sailor all his life.
His mother was a mermaid
his father was king Neptune.
He was born on the crest of a wave
and rocked in the cradle of the deep.
His clothes were barnacles and seaweed
his hair was hemp.
Every tooth in his head was a marlin spike,
every bone in his body a spar,
and when he sailed he sailed a Star.
A TRIBUTE TO MEAD BATCHELOR
by Jack Button
Last year Mead retired from racing Stars ending an impressive 50 year career with the Class. If it wasnt for his goddam knees he would have been on the line to the last spanking competitors young enough to be his grandchildren. While Meads sailing accomplishments were remarkable (which include working with Arthur Knapp in the Weatherly campaign in 1961) it is his Star experience which he counted first.
Mead won every major Star event in the First District, including the Atlantic Coast Blue Star Championship in 1983 and has often been a threat in the North American Championship. Although the Silver Star eluded him, he holds two silver chevrons as a daily first winner.
Mead was one of the few remaining active Star sailors who remembered the good old days when the boats were wet-sailed and the keels were removed each fall to facilitate storage and maintenance. Those were the days when the vang was a block-and-tackle connected to a deck pad-eye. When you jibed, it had to be eased, disconnected and reconnected on the other side.
Over the years some of Meads fiercest competition came from two of his sons, Whit and Chris, and his grandson Whitlock. Whit won the Blue Star in 1982
MEAD and the case of the STOLEN STAR
By David Bolles
Even though I began sailing Stars in the 5th District I knew about Mead. The photos in the 1960 and 1962 Logs shown above on page 6 were real eye-catchers and the name Mead Batchelor remained etched in my memory.
In 1997 when my wife Alejandra and I wanted to roll down out of the hills of New Hampshire to check out the sailing scene at Milford Mead was the obvious choice for the person to call to see what was happening locally. And of course the answer to my question about whether we could come for a sail was Come on down!
After a year of sailing around in our woodie 3855 I placed an ad in the November Starlights asking for a freebie glass Star. Mead called up and said he had just the thing. So in April of 1998 we came down to Milford for a visit to check out Meads Boat.
This boat was sitting in a local yacht yard. It had been abandoned by its previous owner and the yard changes were way above the value of the boat. We set about cleaning out years of accumulation of leaves and debris and after getting the boat to the point where we could really look at it we were rather surprised to find that really it wasnt all that bad. Mead dropped by to see how things were going and I told him that we would be glad to be able to use the boat. So what was the deal?
Well, what you are really going to do is steal this boat. Humm! That didnt sound too good! But then Mead explained that the state laws were very restrictive about yacht yards disposing of derelict boats and the yacht yard wanted this boat to be gone in the worse way. Our job was to get the boat out of the yard and down to the yacht club where we could set it up for the time being. This seemed reasonable enough and we followed his directions. After all, Mead was also the Harbor Master, an official position, and it seemed rather doubtful that the police would check out this unreported stolen boat.
When June rolled around Meads boat pad up the river at the same yacht yard where we stole the boat from was open for the River Rat Star Fleet to use. Mead told us that it was time to move the boat up to the pad. After we got there we would see the yacht yards owner from time to time and she would jokingly ask how we were doing with the stolen property.
Whether by design or not (that is, whether Mead purposely thought we were the right people to steal the boat because we came from New Hampshire) it just happens that New Hampshire is fairly relaxed about the registration of boats. In essence: pay your money and get your registration. So we registered the boat, got our bow numbers and had a nice summer sailing Meads Boat at Milfords more important race weekends.
Recently we got a new boat and Mead asked what we were going to do with his boat. He had just helped set up a Sailing Foundation at the Milford Yacht Club, the purpose of which in part is to get people to try out Stars. We were more than glad to give the boat to the foundation. So now Meads Boat is part of the Milford Yacht Club Sailing Foundation, all set up, registered, and ready and waiting for anyone who wants to try out a Star.
A TRIBUTE TO MEAD BATCHELOR
I looked out from the west window.
Our meadow was knee-deep in ground fog.
This happens at this time of the year,
The Mid-Morning Sun and
the summer on shore winds
did what they always do,
gave us another fine day.
Good Bye, Dear Friend
I believe, I truly believe youre up there
framed by the Stars
the ones in the Skies
Mead Batchelor, Durward Knowles, Ding Schoonmaker and Bob Van Wagnen at the 1987 Masters Regatta, Coral Reef Y.C.
Don Spengler with Mead Batchelor crewing on the Naiad, 1950