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EIGHT BELLS: Hugo Schreiner

The Publisher

Oct 11, 2011, 4:27 PM

Views: 38830
EIGHT BELLS: Hugo Schreiner

Submitted by Rick Peters:

One of the greatest Star crews of all time, Hugo Schreiner of San Diego, CA, suffered a massive heart attack last week. He returned home from work complaining of chest pain when he collapsed, and despite the arrival of paramedics within minutes, there was nothing that could be done. He died at 63 years old.

Hugo was a hands-on guy, a construction expert who could build anything. He had refurbished a Scandinavian trawler, “Harmony”, when he was discovered by John Driscoll. They went on to win the Star North Americans in 1982, where Hugo got his first Silver Star.

When Hugo was into something, he was never satisfied. He was always driven to be the best. Looking to improve he started sailing with Mark Reynolds - then a rising star- but hooked up instead with Vince Brun who was at the time was the proven winner. For training, they would bicycle out to the Point Loma tide pools. Hugo would push them hard back up the hill, building their leg muscles so that they could out hike the competition. Vince knew if it came down to a tacking duel they were better than anyone. Victory was theirs at the 1986 Star Worlds in Capri, Italy - the largest fleet ever with 117 boats!

Hugo was a sought after crew, winning many regattas with the likes of Bill Buchan, Paul Cayard, Barton Beek, and others. In 1992 he won the Star Worlds for a second time crewing for Carl Buchan. Again it was his competitive drive to excel which was the difference as they came from behind with a win in the last race. On long beat back to St Francis Yacht Club from the Berkley Circle, as a victory celebration, Hugo was steering with Carl trapezing off the backstays!

We will all miss Hugo. He was the King of the Star crews and one of the characters that make going to Star regattas way more interesting. Never one to mince words, he always told it like it was and had some great sayings like, “It can’t be an exciting sport if you don’t need a helmet!”

Our condolences go out to his wife Martha, and daughters Dana and Sarah.

I would like to hear back from everyone with their favorite Hugo quote. Email them to

Here is a link to a nice article about Hugo’s other passion, riding BMW motorcycles.

Funeral Services are being held this Saturday October 15, 2011 at 1pm.
First Presbyterian Church San Diego
320 Date Street, San Diego, CA 92101

Reception to follow at the
Point Loma Community Presbyterian Church “The Red Brick Church”
2128 Chatsworth Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92107


Oct 11, 2011, 6:13 PM

Views: 38700
Re: [The Publisher] EIGHT BELLS: Hugo Schreiner

Hugo will always be remembered for his enthusiasm and good humor coupled with an inner drive to win. He was an important personality in the Star Class 5th District and he will be missed.


Oct 11, 2011, 10:08 PM

Views: 38591
Re: [The Publisher] EIGHT BELLS: Hugo Schreiner

I find it hard to fathom that I won’t see Hugo anymore or crack up from his quick wit. He could crack a joke about any subject that would come up. The first time I sailed with him as we left the dock and he was putting away the paddle I reached forward to help pull the jib in and he made it very clear that was his area. With the paddle in his hand he said if I touched it again he would use the paddle to make me look like a beaver. Hugo was a super crew, physically fit like no other at that time and focused on doing the best he could at all times. He would straight leg hike off the starting line, all 6’7”. One time in the final race of the Bacardi we had to beat John Kostecki and started just to leeward of him and Hugo went into a straight leg hike and the strap broke. He had kept one hand on the jib sheet and was able to get back into the boat but we had lost John. Hugo was pumped up and hiked without a strap on that beat and we came back and got John. When Hugo did something he did it all the way. When he got his first BMW bike, Hal had a bike, Vince got one and I got one too. The difference was Hugo got fully into it riding everywhere. I asked him one day on the phone if he had ridden his bike to work that day and he replied “you leave your dick at home?”. He also got a Ducati that he would take to the track and even laid it down one day and broke some ribs. Of course he was wearing a helmet! Hugo didn’t waste any time, he bought a house about a year ago and had a housewarming party the first night he had it. He had already gutted most of the interior earlier that day. I will really miss Hugo.


The Publisher

Oct 14, 2011, 11:24 AM

Views: 37733
Re: [The Publisher] EIGHT BELLS: Hugo Schreiner

From Bill Kreysler:
I spoke to him earlier that day. He had not been feeling well for a few days but thought it was the flu. He and his "band" had been working on my house down there off and on over the last couple years. We talked about the "on demand water heater". As usual, we joked around lots during the conversation and talked about when we got old, maybe we would buy a van (he insisted it be a step-van) and drive around Point Loma back-flushing on demand water heaters with a bag of fake junk we would claim came out of the last customers house to show people to help close the deal. We decided the van had better be equipped with wheel chair access.

I knew Hugo for many years when he crewed first for John and Mark, then in Capri when he and Vince won, but not until we worked together on a construction project in Berkeley did I get to know him well. As my parents were getting old in San Diego I knew I could call Hugo pretty much anytime and ask him to go by and do something; fix a leaky faucet, install a hand rail on the porch steps, etc. It was always, "no problem, I'll do it on my way home" or "I'll have the guys there tomorrow morning". When Dad would quiz him about how much it cost, he would say "Nothing Mr. Kreysler, your son's paying for it" which he said would always settle Dad down and send him back to the couch to read the paper. He became a dear friend and we had lots of laughs and time together these last few years. I will miss him a great deal but Jacque and I will always count ourselves fortunate to have known him and to be able to count ourselves among his many friends. Our love and condolences to Martha and Sarah and Dana. We'll miss him terribly but are so much better off to have known him.

From Steve Wright:
Early 90's Saturday morning in La Playa Cove, 35 boats and 100 sailors are hooked up on the tow but going nowhere.

We are all waiting for Hugo.........

Finally, Hugo comes sauntering down the dock and someone pierces the morning quiet with "Where the hell have you been"?

Not missing a beat, Hugo fires back, "Doing your wife!"

Off we went merrily to the Coronado Roads.

From Carl Buchan:
Hugo was great at doing impersonations of various Star sailors, especially people he had sailed with. I think I will remember those as much as some of the quotable moments. Hugo had that knack for finding humor in the quirks in peoples personalities. I think that shows how his mind was always working. I suspect he had an impersonation of me and I would love to have heard it. One of my favorite quotes would come up when we were stepping the mast for a regatta, Hugo would not let me put the nut on the bottom of the bolt that attaches the gooseneck to the mast. In his best Barton Beek voice (because that is who he heard it from originally), he would say “what are you doing that for, we’re not going to capsize”.

I consider myself very fortunate to have known Hugo. Probably the best way I can describe sailing with him, is that it felt like I was being pulled around the course. I think what that means, is that he was always a half a step ahead of me. In addition to doing all the things he had to do as a crew, he had enough left over to help me do my best. He did not tell me what to do, but he knew what I needed, whether it was pointing out something I was missing, giving a word of encouragement or just being quiet, which was not his natural condition. Hugo was one of a kind and I learned a lot from him about so much more than sailing. I will miss him.

From Alex Hagen:
Yes - I liked his statement:" It`s not a fun thing if you don`t need a helmet".
I recently had lots of contact to him. He helped me to find 2 Motorbikes in USA for my house in Mexico. We both had this passion racing Stars and Motorcycles.

Then 3 years ago we spent 10 days holiday at Lake Traunstein in Austria. Relaxing after a sauna-bath I heard a Californian voice sounding somehow familiar to me - and there he was having dinner at the Hotel-terrace with his wife and 2 friends. They were touring around the alpes on their BMWs.

Though Hugo was a BMW fan ("Italian bikes are too small for me",I will name my Duc 1000 S HUGO now.

From Scott Vogel:
Really saddened by the news of Hugo passing away. As for my fondest Hugo memory:I sailed for a season or so with JJ Fedder on the Etchells with Hugo in the middle. We were sailing upwind and Hugo was into JJ about the mainsail trim, suggesting that she needed to pull the Cunningham on a CH (of course he used the full terminology and was adamant). JJ’s response was “you know Hugo, when you are sailing with girls and you want something trimmed a little bit you say, pull the Cunningham six inches”. Only time he didn’t have an immediate comeback.

From Maggie Lewsadder:
Remember him with a big smile and hello in the boatyard and yacht club.

From Rick Burgess:
I'm very sorry about the passing of Hugo. He was a great crew and just a hoot to be around in the boat park. Years ago I went to New Orleans for the Springs and they had me parked between Vince and Mark. Hugo was sailing with one of them and as I was putting my sails on Hugo pipes up with "way to go Rick, a Sobstad jib and a North main, don't want to piss anyone off" What I really remember about Hugo was he always had time to share and was not shy about helping if you needed something.

From Joe Londrigan:
One time Hugo and I were sailing the star together and he saw a couple of guys sailing on a cruising boat together and he remarked “ You would have to be gay to want to go sailing with another man” After we completed our tack I explained to him that I was not gay and he might want to rethink that statement. We both had a good laugh and he admitted to being wrong for the first time in his life.

During the World’s in Kiel the conditions were windy and cold and I kept telling Hugo and Mark who were sailing together that I loved the heavy stuff. After we finished winning the last race by a good margin Hugo leaned over to Mark while they were still sailing upwind and said, “I think Joey likes the heavy stuff.” He was never one to pull a punch.

From John Schreiner:
I had the pleasure of knowing Hugo for the past 50 I am his brother, John. The trawler that he refurbished was the Arctic Tern, and Harmony was the sail boat (42" I believe) that he built in his back yard when living in his cool Ocean Beach bungalo with Martha. So, my favorite quote was a little later in his life..."You know we're in trouble when I am the voice of reason."

He really enjoyed life and loved his family and friends. We were all richer for having known him.

From Art Silcox:
While at the Bacardi in the 80’s just before the practice race an announcement came over t he Coral Reef YC loudspeaker—“ if anyone would like to crew on a Starboat today please come to the club office” Hugo was in the boat lot at the time of the announcement and stated in his usual manner –“ No one likes to crew on Starboats, We just do it”—he was one of a kind and will be missed.


Oct 20, 2011, 1:41 PM

Views: 37091
Re: [The Publisher] EIGHT BELLS: Hugo Schreiner

Thank you all for sharing your stories about my dad. Hugo was a wonderful father. He was always on my side. I will love him and miss him every day for the rest of my life. I am posting here the reflections that my sister and I read at Hugo's funeral for those of you who could not attend.


Dana's Reflection:

“For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun? And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?” - Kahlil Gibrahn

When I read this passage, thinking about my father becoming a part of the natural world while also rising up to meet God, it reminds me of the force of nature that my father was in his lifetime: he was strong, swift, not easily ignored. You couldn’t miss my dad when he came into a room. He was funny, sociable, sometimes loud, always purposeful and direct.

As a young child I was pretty sure that my dad was the tallest, loudest, and most interesting man to walk the planet. When I was really young he was often away sailing, but every time he came home from a regatta we went and ate pancakes at the yacht club coffee shop. While I was eating my short stack and drinking hot chocolate he would be describing in detail the most recent race. I knew when to duck as he waved his arms around, illustrating the boats and their positions while everyone debated whether or not he was telling it right. Sitting next to him, watching him with his friends, he showed what it was to be part of a community: of friends, of competitors, …it was his extended family. Some of the people we sat with in the coffee shop are here today and I hope they know that they remained in his heart as family.

As I got older, I realized that my first impression of my dad was pretty much spot on. He never faded in greatness or stature.

This may be hard to believe but I only ever went on the motorcycle with my father once. He was staying up in the Bay Area finishing a construction project while I finished up at Berkeley. I was leaving the country shortly after and I think we both knew I wasn’t going to live in America anymore so we were having a really great time. One day we took Snowball (the white bike) through Marin up to Point Reyes and through Bodega Bay. It was amazing and I finally could understand what my dad was so excited about when he talked about motorcycles. Seeing him getting enthusiastic about motorcycles the way he was about sailing when I was younger reminded me of the importance of being passionate about the things you spend your time doing, not being afraid to pursue something that speaks to you, and being caring towards the extended family you gain while following these pursuits.

What I’m trying to get at here is that my dad never followed a distinct path through life. He was like a river, with tributaries going in a number directions, each vital, each reaching out to make contact, to become something new, to benefit a new community.

One result of this tremendous breadth and reach of my father’s made him so knowledgeable and an expert on so many different things. He could lecture on boats, and motorcycles, and build or fix pretty much anything. When the material world had been taken apart and put back together by him, he became an expert on the German language and diligently spoke to anyone and everyone various phrases in German, whether they knew what he was saying or not.

I believe the German phrase of today is this: Er war ein Vater, ein Ehemann, ein Freund – und er war gut. He was a father, a husband, a friend, and he was good.

Sara's Reflection:

As I sat down to write something for today, years of memories of my father flooded through my mind. Most of the stories are totally inappropriate for a church setting, but that is just part of the man Hugo was. He was rough around the edges, but a teddy bear at heart.

When I married my husband 4 years ago, my dad gave me the advice that a woman should never marry a man with the intention of changing him. Dad told me that as a teenager he loved 3 things, motorcycles, fast cars and good looking women. And here he was in his late 50s, explaining to me that he still loved these things, so time doesn't change much. He was smart enough to marry my mother, a beautiful and supportive woman who never tried to change him. She let him be who he was and through their mutual love and marriage they both shined brighter. I know being married to Martha was the highlight of his life and I know he would want me to acknowledge her here today. Thank you mom for being by his side for the past 36 years and sharing this amazing adventure with him.

I know that Hugo was many things to many people. He was known for his quick wit, carpentry skills, sailing accomplishments and ability to grind foot pegs on the track. As his daughter, I knew him for so much more. Dad played an amazing air guitar, he could name most classic rock songs in the first few notes, he gave the best piggy back rides and could frighten any potential boyfriend in about 30 seconds flat. Dad taught me how to ride a bicycle and how to sail a boat. More importantly, he taught me about unconditional love and forgiveness, the necessity of humor and sarcasm, and the difference between a Philips head and a straight slot screwdriver. He taught me to love motorcycles and tolerated my preference for Triumphs over BMWs.

My favorite thing about my dad was that he was a man of action. He was a problem solver. The worst thing you could do to Hugo was to present him with a problem and then tell him that you didn't want his help in solving it. And Dad didn’t just solve problems for those he loved; he sought to help anyone he could. He felt blessed with gifts in his own life and sought to pay it forward to others. Dad was a genuine giver.

I am devastated by the passing of my father, but there are a few comforts that I would like to share with all of you.

First, I have no doubt in my mind that my father loved me and he knew just how much I loved him. We talked on the phone almost every day and we always remembered to say “I love you” as we hung up. He often spoke of his love for my sister and I, our children and our husbands to just about anyone who would listen.

Second, Dad loved Nick and Halvor like they were his own sons. I know that as he passed he did not have any fears that his daughters, wife and grandchildren would not be looked after. Dad often teared up when he told me that he couldn’t have chosen better son’s in law.

Third, Dad lived his life in the moment. He did everything he wanted to do and did not put anything off to the future. He wasn’t waiting to take trips to Europe once he retired. He never hesitated to spend another day at the track. He used up every moment he could enjoying his favorite people and activities.

Fourth and most importantly, the thought of my father’s body in this box breaks my heart, but I know that his spirit is no longer in there. I know he is in heaven with his parents and his dear friends who have passed before him. He is where the track is always open and the Ducatis have more power than we could fathom. The wind blows hard and his heavenly body is fit enough to straight leg hike all day long.

Dad, Thank you for being such an amazing force in so many lives. I am so proud to be your daughter. I will love you and miss you everyday I am on this earth. I will tell my daughter all about you and, due to your larger-than-life charisma, I won’t have to exaggerate the stories. I love you Papa Bear.

The Publisher

Jun 10, 2013, 12:39 PM

Views: 32169
Re: [The Publisher] EIGHT BELLS: Hugo Schreiner

From James Nichols:

I've been out of the loop for a few years. I'm stunned to learn of Hugo's passing in 2011. I crewed quite a bit for Chuck Lewsadder; the witty repartee between them was worth the price of admission. Whenever I saw Hugo and Martha together, I made sure to say something like, "Hugo! Which daughter is this?"

What a shock. Bon voyage, Hugo.