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EIGHT BELLS: Bruce Goldsmith

The Publisher

Jun 4, 2007, 1:29 PM

Views: 224250
EIGHT BELLS: Bruce Goldsmith

EIGHT BELLS: Bruce Goldsmith
(June 4, 2007) One of Michigan's best known sailors, who had twice won the Lightning class World Championship, was a 4 time North American Champion and a gold medalist in the 1967 and 1975 Pan Am Games, was killed in a storm on Lake Erie while racing Sunday afternoon. Bruce Gray Goldsmith, 71, formerly of Lenawee and Hillsdale counties, was pronounced dead at the Port of Monroe about an hour after he was thrown overboard from his boat, according to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office.

Mr. Goldsmith, who was the skipper on his boat, Send in the Clowns, was competing in the North Cape Yacht Club's Commodore Perry Race, when he ran into heavy rain and waves that were 6 to 8 feet high at about 1 p.m. near Monroe.

The boat's aluminum boom swung around and hit him in the head, throwing him into the water, according to the sheriff's office. One of Mr. Goldsmith's crew members jumped into the water, put a life jacket on Mr. Goldsmith, and struggled to hold him up for 10 minutes until competing boats heard their distress calls and got near enough to help.

Mr. Goldsmith was lifted onto Group Therapy, the boat of Dr. George Osborne, a Toledo dentist, whose crew attempted to resuscitate Mr. Goldsmith during the 50 minutes that it took the boat to sail about five miles to shore.

But Dr. Osborne said Mr. Goldsmith's head injury was so severe that he believes the skipper might have died even before he was thrown into the water.

"He'd been sailing boats all of his life," Dr. Osborne said. "One of the top sailers in the world."

Mr. Goldsmith was on a lighting-class team that won Pan Am gold in Winnipeg in 1967 and in Mexico City in 1975.

He had been a member of the yacht club for decades. He was a retired stockbroker who had lived on Devils Lake in Lenawee County and then in Hillsdale before moving several years ago to Tustin, in central Michigan's Osceola County.

Yesterday, his 29-foot boat was one of about 45 participating in a race that started at 9 a.m., according to Dr. Osborne. Most of the boats had five or six crew members on them for the 24-mile race that started and ended at the yacht club.

Sailing, according to Mr. Goldsmith's oldest daughter, Carrie Southern, was "certainly his passion, certainly his expertise."

"He was always the skipper, the one in charge," she continued. "He has charisma and charm. He's definitely a risk taker. He loved to win. But he also loved just to play."

His death, she said, came when he was doing what he loved.

"If he was going to go, that's exactly what he would have wanted," she said. -- Source:

The Publisher

Jun 4, 2007, 1:31 PM

Views: 224224
Re: [The Publisher] EIGHT BELLS: Bruce Goldsmith

* From Peter Harken: Talk about a crazy fun guy, no one could hold a candle to him! He was for such a long time the number one Lightning sailor, plus multiple Pan American games and so on. When I knew him - and all the nutso boat show antics - this guy was bigger than life: A top flight sailor who also knew how to make it fun! His kind is a bygone era, unfortunately.

The Publisher

Jun 4, 2007, 1:38 PM

Views: 224219
Re: [The Publisher] EIGHT BELLS: Bruce Goldsmith

* From Bill Faude:

Bruce Goldsmith: 1936-2007

(June 4, 2007) Sailing all over the world lost a friend yesterday with the Passing of Bruce Goldsmith. How do you describe the indescribable? Somehow, "You had to be there" comes closest.

Bruce won 2 Lightning Class World Championships and 4 North American Championships as a helmsman. He won more as a crew. He won 2 Pan American Games Gold medals. He was second in the 1972 Olympic Trials to Buddy Melges.

His legend far exceeds the time he spent in the Lightning Class alone. But in a class that has produced more than 15,300 boats—a class where sailors spend many an evening around boat parks discussing the greatest ever, Bruce stands along side Tom Allen III as just that.

Those who have a heavy heart today, might want to train your mind's eye and fill in the blank:

Bruce is:___________
  • World Champion.
  • Winning the Soling practice race at the 1972 Olympics by 5 minutes.
  • Late.
  • Missing a third crew.
  • Almost a leg ahead.
  • Sailing another blue Lighting called Snoopy.
  • Winning a North American title while not considering pouring out the case of beer someone hid under his foredeck.
  • Crossing the fleet on Port from the pin.
  • Setting up the model boat races.
  • Giving away 9 used jibs on the lawn.
  • Reinforcing a broken mast with a butter knife.
  • Winning another Pan American Games Medal.
  • Launched.

Yesterday, I tried to describe Bruce to my wife, who isn't an active sailor. I told her that you could take the 5 best sailors in the world in any era, put them on a starting line and he could (after leaving his boat in the water the three previous nights) beat any of them. She said, "Wow…and you were friends with him?" I paused awhile, considering how terrible simply changing one word from 'are' feels right now. "We all were" I said.

We all were.

Because he encouraged us. He hung out with us. He helped us get faster. He asked us to come along. He came along when we asked him. He finished in front of us but he made sure we never felt beaten.

He was the Bruin.

And today is just the first day of the forever in which he'll be remembered.

The Publisher

Jun 4, 2007, 1:40 PM

Views: 224218
Re: [The Publisher] EIGHT BELLS: Bruce Goldsmith

* From David Corcoran: The sailing world and indeed the world in general is considerably diminished by the tragic loss of "The Bruin" , Lightning sailing icon and one of the most affable people I ever met. Most heartfelt condolences to his wife, daughter, and those who sailed with him.

Deep peace of the running wave to you,
Deep peace of the flowing air to you,
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you,
Deep peace of the shining stars to you,
Deep peace of the gentle night to you,
Deep peace to you. --Paraphrase of Gaelic tune

The Publisher

Jun 4, 2007, 1:43 PM

Views: 224217
Re: [The Publisher] EIGHT BELLS: Bruce Goldsmith

* From John Rousmaniere: Cold water, no PFD, out of control boom -- damn, damn, damn.

Jud Smith

Jun 4, 2007, 6:58 PM

Views: 224092
Re: [The Publisher] EIGHT BELLS: Bruce Goldsmith

Bruce has been and still is one of my one-design idols. I was always impressed with his racing and sailmaker skills. I'm also impressed that he was still out there battling the elements into his 70's. He was definitely one of those guys that made a big impression on me long ago.

Ched Proctor

Jun 4, 2007, 6:59 PM

Views: 224092
Re: [The Publisher] EIGHT BELLS: Bruce Goldsmith

Over the years Bruce has given me many tidbits of information that have helped not only my sailing, but life in general. I remember once Bruce told me that it was more important to him to be remembered as a good guy rather than as a successful sailor. So here's to a great guy! I'll miss him always!
Ched Proctor

Skip Dieball

Jun 4, 2007, 7:07 PM

Views: 224076
Re: [The Publisher] EIGHT BELLS: Bruce Goldsmith

The Bruin had an enormous influence on many sailors. His enthusiasm was contageous and I'll miss him, his laugh, his advice and his stories.

My heart-felt thoughts to his immediate family and to those in his sailing family, especially the gang on the "Clowns".


Bill Fastiggi

Jun 4, 2007, 7:20 PM

Views: 224046
Re:EIGHT BELLS: Bruce Goldsmith

Bruce was one of the best guys ever. Anytime I ever asked him about sailing some type of boat , he always had some great insight. I always enjoyed his company, and I will miss him.


Jun 4, 2007, 7:21 PM

Views: 224037
Re: [The Publisher] EIGHT BELLS: Bruce Goldsmith

Growing up Bruce was always around. It will be hard to think that now he won't be. My sympathy goes out to his family and everyone who know him. He touched many people and will be missed greatly. I really am at a loss for words at the moment. I can't stop of thinking of all the good times we shared.

Hears to you Bruce may the wind alway be at you back and the sun shining high.

Jim Allen


Jun 4, 2007, 7:26 PM

Views: 224021
Re: [The Publisher] EIGHT BELLS: Bruce Goldsmith

In Reply To

Bruce always had a smile on his face. The Gold flash on his sail truly represented his status as a world champion sailor and what his heart was made of. He will be missed but we all are better competing with and against him. - Trevor M Born MD


Jun 4, 2007, 7:59 PM

Views: 223974
Re: [The Publisher] EIGHT BELLS: Bruce Goldsmith

This is horribly sad news. My first time meeting Bruce was in Wilmette Harbor--I was a mere Junior and he was the storied star. It was some major 470 regatta (when 470's were 470's), he had a new boat, and was tuning up. Just after we met he had climbed aboard, and then climbing off came over the bow, around the mast, and PLUNK! The weight was not quite in the right spot and the boat flipped right there! I learned that even the best of sailors can still be real people in an instant. He came up laughing.

His times in the Midwest Collegiate Sailing Association sailing for Michigan were also with great success, including a stint as Commodore. There was a glint in his eye on any collegiate sailing news.

I'd see him here and there over the years, a one design event, a big boat event, and then finally as a fixture at the Devils Lake Lightning regatta every September ... These last few years he didn't own a Lightning, but somehow he'd have one to race anyway ... And, of course, he always did well. He got through a heart attack scare, fought his way back to health, and kept racing. Always with a smile. Always lighting up the sailor's moods.

Sail on, Bruce. Fair winds.


Jun 4, 2007, 8:19 PM

Views: 223955
Re: [The Publisher] EIGHT BELLS: Bruce Goldsmith

I consider my self fortunate to have spent the past 20 years crewing with Bruce on the J29 and sailing with and against him in Lightning’s for about the same.

He was a great friend, mentor and teacher.

His wisdom, one liners and smile will be missed.
George Sipel


Jun 4, 2007, 8:27 PM

Views: 223947
Re: [The Publisher] EIGHT BELLS: Bruce Goldsmith

My memories of Bruce go way back to 1962 when I was 8 years old sailing with my dad out of Lightning Fleet 5 at Chicago Corinthian YC. He was one of the first sailors at the top of his game that I knew and saw working his magic on the water.

Bruce was one of the most natural sailors I have ever seen...skills developed as a youth growing up in Michigan racing Nippers and becoming a national champion. After getting his engineering degree and taking a job in the Chicago area in the early 1960's. Bruce continue to sail and in 1960, won the Thistle national championship. This caught the attention of Dick Sterns owner of Murphy and Nye sailmakers in Chicago. Dick did not need a Thistle guy since they already had M&N set Bruce up with a Lightning and off to Fleet 5 just down the way from the Elston St. loft. The M&N loft was quite a hotbed of skill and Bruce brought into the loft the technical skills of an engineer.

As a youth, I went to the loft with my dad. Bruce was continuing coming up with new sail shape ideas. New sail cloths were changing everything. In the same loft, Gary Comer was setting up shop with the best yachting hardware store called Lands' End who later found he could make more money selling clothes. Bruce and others in the Loft were silent partners of Lands' End in the beginning.

I could tell many a Bruin story, but my memories follow his movement up to the top of the class.
Terry Burke


Jun 4, 2007, 8:55 PM

Views: 223937
Re: [Topflash] EIGHT BELLS: Bruce Goldsmith

 First, my condolences to any relative or family of Mr. Goldsmith. Bruce was a great sailor and I am sure, great friend.

I first met Bruce in 1979 when as a 16 year old kid I bought my first Lightning sail, a new Goldsmith sails jib. It was 325 bucks and for a 16 year old, with inflation and all, it was a boat load of money for me. When the sail arrived, it was very fast. We went on to win many regatta's with that jib. All of my other sails were shit, but that fast jib put us at the top mark in front.

Fast forward 5 years, and I go to Block Island race week in 1984, and I finally meet Mr. Goldsmith face to face. Professional, courteous and happy we won so many races with his jib. I go to a house party 2 hours later and I walk in the door to find Mr. Goldsmith being held upside down by 3 gals, with his head in a barrel, bobbing for Apples! I though WTF this guy is cool!

Bruce was a true gentlman and I know friends will miss him.
I just hope it is blowing 20, he is sailing a reach in a Lightning at the Pan Am games in the sky.

Jamie Leopold

Jun 5, 2007, 5:27 AM

Views: 223780
Re: [The Publisher] EIGHT BELLS: Bruce Goldsmith

For Bruce's family and friends I offer the following for comfort:


I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength, and I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other. Then someone at my side says, “There! She gone.”

Gone where? Gone from my sight...that is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side, and just as able to bear her load of living freight to the place of destination. Her diminished size is in me, not in her, and just at the moment when someone at my side says, “There! She’s gone.” there are other eyes watching her coming and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, “There she comes!”


Jun 5, 2007, 6:30 AM

Views: 223694
Re: [The Publisher] EIGHT BELLS: Bruce Goldsmith

A true legend and freind to the sailing community. he will be missed for all that he brought to our sport and our lives. God speed Bruin.

M. Princing

Bertie Werley

Jun 5, 2007, 8:41 AM

Views: 223526
Re: [The Publisher] EIGHT BELLS: Bruce Goldsmith

I first met Bruce at a Lightning North American Championship, when he was already a rock star. Yet he never, ever seemed to realize that, and was instead as friendly and welcoming a person as I've ever met. The stories are legendary, but so is the man. He certainly fought some demons over the years, but did so with the same humor and grace with which he lived his whole life . . . and seemed to be winning the fight. On so many levels he has been an incredible example for all of us, and I feel blessed for having known him.

Blinding Fury

Jun 5, 2007, 8:52 AM

Views: 223505
Re: [The Publisher] EIGHT BELLS: Bruce Goldsmith

Yes, sailing is a dangerous sport. It is more sobering to me because I knew Bruce, he was a very good sailor and even more importantly a good guy. For a world class sailor he was one of the few with no ego, I got to know him one night many years ago when he and I closed down the old Marmadukes in Annapolis. He was at the top of his game and I was a young guy and I was so impressed with the fact that he spent the evening talking about sailing and life with me that evening. I wish his family well, and Bruce - you're already missed.


Jun 5, 2007, 10:07 AM

Views: 223412
Re: [The Publisher] EIGHT BELLS: Bruce Goldsmith

The achievements, character, and awesome style of the Bruin will be honored and remembered by top-gun, big time names recognized by sailors all over the world. Rightly so...he was world-class.

I honor Bruin from a slightly different point of view. I grew up crewing for my dad in fleet 54 on Lake Wawasee, IN and have known Bruin from the regatta circuit all my life. As a kid, you notice the people whom your parents respect and admire...and it was clear that dad thought the world of Bruin. He was one of a small group of people whom dad truly confided in -- whom he truly, genuinely enjoyed being around. It makes a helluva impression when a kid sees his strong-headed dad speak of another guy like dad spoke of Bruin.

Early memories included them racing model boats in the DLYC bar, jumping tents at Geist, and cooking eggs-in-the-hole on Colemans. I watched Bruin toast and brag on my dad on a DLYC Saturday night regatta party...the only time dad led the DLYC regatta. Growing up, I watched Bruin mentor friends of mine -- two specifically -- and he was a father figure. I remembered thinking what it might feel like for Bruin to be such an important person to those guys. I watched him love his daughters and laugh with Sherry. He continually took interest as I went through school...the same for my sibs and family. I watched the stinger pitchers between he and dad taper off...

As an adult, I raced against Bruin as a skipper, learned from his advice at the keg, and stood in awe beneath his personal trophy case at Chicago Corinthian YC. I appreciated even more the style and balance of a man who was a legend to me as a kid. As I enter new chapters in my life, my appreciation grows.

I called Bruin last Christmas to share that dad had died. He cried. He told me things then that I'll hold forever sacred. His comments meant the world to me -- just another gift to me from a legend and a friend.

My sibs, our spouses, and our mom all grieve Bruin's death. Our prayers are with his family and teammates. -- David Schmahl

J. Princing

Jun 5, 2007, 10:15 AM

Views: 223401
Re: [The Publisher] EIGHT BELLS: Bruce Goldsmith

I met Bruce when I was just a kid racing in the Michigan lightning district in the early '90's. He was a legend, but of course always made me feel like a part of his circle. The last time I saw him was the Lightning WJM's NA's in '04 and he seemed so delighted that I was skippering a boat. A "Bruin sighting" made any event that much more fun.

Thank you Bruce for being you. To say you will be missed just doesn't seem to cover it.


Jun 5, 2007, 10:24 AM

Views: 223396
Re: [The Publisher] EIGHT BELLS: Bruce Goldsmith

Omlettes, Bloody Marys
And the signature twinkle in his eye...
One-liners, bad jokes,
A warm smile and a wonderful guy...

Once called "Living Lightning Legend"
And reminded us if we forgot...
Started a tent-jumping contest once -
Everyone cleared that tent - he did not...

A pretty good sailor from what I know,
Always a smile on his face,
A lot of fun on the course,
But even more so after the race...

He was my morning ride to school-
Always late by 10 minutes or more.
He'd drive me there in his underwear
And drop me off at the front door.

I know how people loved him -
I'd see it everywhere we went.
I've have always been so thankful
For him in my life & the time we've spent.

I will miss the one-liners,
I will miss that twinkle in his eye.
I will miss a man that was a father to me -
I will miss a wonderful guy.

To be carefree - to be fun -
To be genuine & true -
To be a good friend, a giving man -
That's what it was like, Bruce,
To be you.

-Kelly McCarthy (Bruce's step-daughter)

The Publisher

Jun 5, 2007, 2:09 PM

Views: 223188
Re: [The Publisher] EIGHT BELLS: Bruce Goldsmith

* From Jim Capron: Certainly the Lightning Class has had more than its fair share of legendary figures, and for anyone drawn to the class as I was, many of those successful sailors loomed large. Bruce Goldsmith will always be high on that list for his good humor and the constant help he gave others who chased him around the race course.

Bob J.

Jun 5, 2007, 2:58 PM

Views: 223151
Re: EIGHT BELLS: Bruce Goldsmith

Mary's and my prayers go out to Bruce's family, crew and friends. I've known Bruce for 40 years... unfortunately seeing him too infrequently of late. My thoughts are conflicted. On the one hand, what a terrible tragedy, an accident that happens to all of us one or two times in various degrees over the years. A Rainbow Class sailing friend perished in similar circumstance on a delivery of his boat off Block Island. On the other hand, my consoling thought is that Bruce went quickly doing what he loved most and is probably up there above organizing for the next regatta.

What a super guy! Whether duking it out in the Skokie Lagoons Penguin Fleet, battling it out in Solings out of Wilmette Harbor or dragging my sons Stu and Drake off to a Lightning regatta when they were youngsters.

Has anyone mentioned what a great sailmaker he was in the "red bag" days of Murphy & Nye? Bruce had a special talent... "a natural" and he holds a special place in my heart because two of the most meaningful races of my life were won with his sails: The 1969 Penguin Internationals with a sail so perfect, a picture of it still appears in print now and then. And, the 30+ knot 2nd race of the 1972 Soling Trials where Buddy was dismasted, Maury Rattray sank and Bruce had rounded the bottom mark lst... to be passed and smoked to the tune of 2.5 minutes by the 1st mainsail he ever built for a Soling which he happen to have under all the junk and dust in the back of his station wagon. Those who ever saw the back of Bruce's cars understand how bad it must have looked. The special Aquino cloth main he made me for the event had blown out in two practice days. It was bad cloth. The Bruin original was the only sail available to measure in at the last minute. "Here, take it and good luck", he said, brushing off the dirt. After the series, Bruce was selected to be the trial horse for Buddy Melges at Kiel where heavy winds were expected. "About that mainsail, I lent you. I think we need it to make sure Buddy is up to speed." The rest is history. Buddy won the Gold.

Those who sailed in the first US Youth Championship in 1973 at Sheridan Shore YC will also remember Bruce as a popular post-race clinic leader who generously passed on his extensive knowledge of boat tuning, tactics and love of the sport to a new generation.

So, Bruin, thanks for all the joy you've brought me and all your sailing friends over the years.

Bob J.

Jody Lutz

Jun 5, 2007, 3:49 PM

Views: 223114
Re: [The Publisher] EIGHT BELLS: Bruce Goldsmith

My condolences go out to Bruce's family on this tragic loss. As so many people have stated quite well already, I am a better person for having met and known Bruce. I remember the day in 1973 when I walked out into the water off the beach at the Buffalo Canoe Club during the Lightning Worlds and actually touched and looked at the Legends boat. Although only 10, I said to myself I wanted one of these things but "just like Goldsmith's boat" when I repeated it to my brother. How great did it make me feel, over the next ten years or so, that Bruce took the time to speak to me regularly. He was the King of all Rockstars but never acted like it or treated anybody without the dignity they deserved no matter what place they finished. What a guy. Bruce, you are at the top of my Hall of Fame and always will be.

Jody Lutz


Jun 5, 2007, 5:21 PM

Views: 223043
Re: [Jody Lutz] EIGHT BELLS: Bruce Goldsmith

My sincere condolences to Bruce Goldsmith’s family.
I met Bruce when I was a young girl sailing with my father in my father’s beloved fleet, the National One Design. The fleet had some glory years but was dwindling. It was hard to get a sailmaker interested in us. I know there wasn’t much profit with the National but Bruce drove 3 hours each way a summer afternoon and went sailing with us. We went out with almost no wind and Bruce tweaked our Proctor mast, shaped the sails, and formulated a new pattern in his head. Whatever he said we soaked up and his Murphy&Nyes lead to many regatta wins for as long as we could buy them.

He know he impressed me because I decided that day his job was the coolest of professions. I ended up marrying a sailmaker.

Sara Makielski

Greg Fisher

Jun 5, 2007, 6:17 PM

Views: 223026
Re: [The Publisher] EIGHT BELLS: Bruce Goldsmith

Bruce Goldsmith has been a mentor, a teacher, a friend, a champion and a coach to all of us who have ever been around him. He was a coach of far more than just being the best one design sailboat racer.
Bruce, with his tremendous charisma was the life of every party. Everyone felt they were Bruce's friend-because they were. He had the amazing knack to make anyone feel special, welcome and a part of the gang.
But perhaps what made Bruce most special was his ability to "keep it all in perspective". No matter what was happening around him, Bruce made sure he held everything in perspective. It seemed that for Bruce, life was always too short to not enjoy it to the fullest... and that was his greatest talent and lesson for all of us.
Our one design racing world has lost one of the biggest and happiest personalities.
Our condolences to Bruce's family and his many. many close friends.
Greg Fisher


Jun 6, 2007, 5:53 AM

Views: 222806
Re: [The Publisher] EIGHT BELLS: Bruce Goldsmith

When our club juniors -- Peter Ford, Peter Isler and BJ Jones -- needed a good chute for their Lightning I called Bruce (who else). "What colors do you want?" he asked. I said I didn't care. Bruce insisted that I select the colors saying if he made it purple and green we'd probably hate it and complain. "Purple and green will be fine", I said.

The guys called it "Caterpillar Guts." That spinnaker became famous on Long Island Sound and led them to the state championship and but for an OCS they might have won the Junior Championship that year as well.

I didn't know Bruce well, but I always knew he was that special sort of person who would leave you laughing no matter what..

Ted Jones


Jun 6, 2007, 7:36 AM

Views: 222726
Re: [Bob J.] EIGHT BELLS: Bruce Goldsmith

I remember Bruce at Murphy & Nye! My Corinthian dinghy still has one of his stickers.

I also remember how one of his decksweeper jibs transformed the Lightning. The difference in power was amazing.

Bruce was a great guy and terrific sailor who'll be sorely missed.

Bruce Thompson


Jun 6, 2007, 9:04 AM

Views: 222656
Re: [The Publisher] EIGHT BELLS: Bruce Goldsmith

Bruce stopped at my house this past Thursday. What a gift that last visit turned out to be.

Many of my fondest memories of the Devils Lake Yacht Club days involved a story with Bruce at the center. Whether it was his Cuppola party where everyone had to bring up an item from the storage floor to gain entry...Bruce came up with a toilet seat around his neck, to providing me as crew for Matt Fisher when he was tuning his Lightning up for the World's. I had never crewed a Lightning before...or any sailboat. Needless to say, Matt kicked me out (well, he was nicer than that...he just didn't invite me to continue) after the first race and Bruce just laughed.

We'll continue to sing "Little Red Riding Hood" for you.

To Sherry, Penny, family and friends, my sincerest sympathy.

Patty Clark
Manitou Beach, MI


Jun 6, 2007, 12:34 PM

Views: 222530
Re: [The Publisher] EIGHT BELLS: Bruce Goldsmith

My sympathy to Bruin's family and extended "sailing family". We have lost a great friend.

I have had the privilege to sail with Bruin on the "Clowns" and the lightning. You can't pin down a most memorable time because every opportunity was a great time with countless memories. It was impossible to walk away from a day of sailing with Bruce without a big smile on your face. He always kept it fun and entertaining.(while learning a great deal from him)

He was the most patient "rock star" that anyone will encounter in a lifetime. Bruin was always full of great insight, lessons and tons of entertainment.

We will miss our lead Clown and his impact over the years can't be measured. Sailing has lost a true icon.

Condolences to Sherry and the entire family.

Sjoerd-Jan Vanderhorst


Jun 6, 2007, 1:58 PM

Views: 222489
Re: [The Publisher] EIGHT BELLS: Bruce Goldsmith

I first "ran into" Bruce at the Gull Lake Lightning regatta in 1988. It was my first trip to a regatta with my "new" Lightning. On Saturday morning were trying to launch into a stiff breeze that came straight back toward the dock. We pushed off and promptly ran aground. As I lifted the centerboard the boat turned and prompt reached full speed as we screamed back toward the dock. Without the board there was no steerage and we slammed into a boat that had just put in. After cleaning up the mess and recovering we realized we had hit a really new looking boat.

Anyway after racing I asked around for the fellow that I had hit and they pointed him out to me. I introduced myself and stammered something about damages and my insurance numbers etc. He got a big ol' smile on his face, grabbed my hand and shook it and said something like "Don't worry about it son, these are racing boats and they get beat-up all the time. Have a beer and forget about it."

After I returned home I found out who Bruce Goldsmith was and it just made the legend even bigger. What a wonderful man!

Alan McReynolds

Mark Kelley

Jun 7, 2007, 5:15 AM

Views: 222245
Re: [The Publisher] EIGHT BELLS: Bruce Goldsmith

So sad to hear about Bruin and my thoughts are with his family and friends. I only sailed on "Clowns" with Bruin a couple of times, but "socialized" with him so many more. The Bay won't be the same without the Ringmaster of all us clowns.

Mark Kelley

Bruce Nelson

Jun 7, 2007, 5:47 AM

Views: 222222
Re: [The Publisher] EIGHT BELLS: Bruce Goldsmith

I wish to add my condolences to the many surely already received by Bruce's family and many, many friends ... the Bruin was truly one of a kind, and making friends was his natural hobby.

As a junior Lightning sailor on Long Island Sound, I was of course aware of the great Bruce Goldsmith and his beautiful Murphy & Nye sails - the fastest sails at the time. Then while attending Bruce's alma mater, I became aware of his many accomplishments as a great intercollegiate sailor and his reputation grew even greater in my mind. And when I eventually met the great man, while donating his time on the jury at a college regatta, I was most impressed by his natural friendly and down-to-earth style ... he was the coolest and funniest guy around, and did everything possible to help and encourage all of us to enjoy the sport of sailing to the fullest.

In short, the Bruin was one of the finest sportsmen and competitors the sailing world has ever seen, and showed us how to mix fun with competitive sailing in a way that made the sport more enjoyable for everyone. His untimely passing is a sad loss, but hopefully his mentoring of how to make the sport of sailing truly fun will live on forever.

Bob R.

Jun 7, 2007, 8:48 AM

Views: 222089
Re: [The Publisher] EIGHT BELLS: Bruce Goldsmith

Bruce was one of the best guys I have ever meet sailing or otherwise. His attidude about life was infectious and he made every-one who new him happy that they did. When ever I sailed with him or against him a good time was had by all. May god bless Sherry and his family and comfort them.

Vickie Matthews

Jun 7, 2007, 5:40 PM

Views: 221881
Re: [The Publisher] EIGHT BELLS: Bruce Goldsmith

Bruce was always the life of the party, a great story teller and an unbelievable sailor and that sparkle and twinkle in the eye was always there. I'm privileged to have sailed many years with him and his wife and know my sailing career went far because of him. I'm honored to have had him as a friend. I'll miss him.

And by the way, that was my orange tent referred to above, it survived all the jumping contests intact.


Jun 8, 2007, 10:40 AM

Views: 221701
Re: [The Publisher] EIGHT BELLS: Bruce Goldsmith

I am very saddened by the loss of Bruce, my thoughts and prayers are with all his family and friends. Bruce was a very good friend to our family, especially my father. I will always have great memories of Bruce at Devils Lake. I will also, always be proud to have been named after Bruce Goldsmith.

Bruce Henderson

Skip Dieball

Jun 9, 2007, 10:06 PM

Views: 221497
Re: [Jody Lutz] EIGHT BELLS: Bruce Goldsmith

June 30th @ Devils Lake Yacht Club.......for the BRUIN!

steve chavez

Jun 10, 2007, 6:00 PM

Views: 221360
Re: [Jody Lutz] EIGHT BELLS: Bruce Goldsmith

for many years, i didn't know bruce at all. but i knew of him. i grew up on devil's lake in the 60's and early 70's, where a reference of one's sailing talent didn't go far without a comparison to bruce. the one story that sticks in my head is that he would start a dlyc fleet race (in rebels?) as race committee, jump in his boat after everybody had cleared, proceed to catch the fleet and win the race, and then take down the finishes of all of his competitors. i have no idea if this is true. but it sure sounded extraordinary to a young kid in the midst of falling in love with the sport.

my family eventually became active in lightning racing through fleet #270 outside of indianapolis. i got to meet bruce several times at regattas at our home club and others (i had my first beer in a bar with bruce in wawasee - he bought it) and i will always remember how kind and unpretentious he was. a great sailor who will be missed.

steve chavez

The Publisher

Jun 12, 2007, 10:35 AM

Views: 220970
Re: [Skip Dieball] EIGHT BELLS: Bruce Goldsmith

The Memorial Service for Bruce Goldsmith will be June 30 at 1:00 p.m. at Devil's Lake Yacht Club. The address is 2097 Marsh Dr., Manitou Beach, MI 49253. Phone (517) 547-8132. Email:

Organizers are seeking a head count so that they don't run out of food (or drinks, for that matter). Those planning to attend are encouraged to sign-up here:

Also, a memorial fund for Bruce has been set-up to benefit the youth sailing. Any donations can go to:

Bruce Goldsmith Memorial Fund
22593 210th Avenue
Tustin, MI 49688.


Jun 15, 2007, 6:58 AM

Views: 34130
Re: [The Publisher] EIGHT BELLS: Bruce Goldsmith

Your journey has been long, and now must end.

Your life has been full and rich with love.

Your friends have been many, and warm and kind;

Enriched by the example you've left behind.

Go with joy to a better place and a new beginning.

Go in peace and know that you've made a difference along the way.

Go in comfort, for all you've been, remains to stay.

** / Moderator

Jun 18, 2007, 7:24 AM

Views: 34041
Re: [pattycats5] EIGHT BELLS: Bruce Goldsmith

An email Scuttlebutt received from Andrew Kern:

I have a Bruce Goldsmith Story. Back in the 60's when I was a little tyke there was a Penguin regatta called the Weston Regatta. The top 4 or 6 boats (I'm not sure) sailed in the finals. The most incredible thing was that Bruce Goldsmith did not make the finals. He went out and sailed with the slow guys in the consolations.

His crew had to go somewhere so I was the lucky guy to get to crew for the "Great" Bruce Goldsmith.

He told me that he liked having a much lighter crew than he had previously in the day.

We sailed about three races with us winning each one by over a leg. We spent every race just talking. About anything but sailing or racing. It might of been about football or school or anything. We just had a lovely conversation the entire day while we toasted the rest of the competition.

He was one hell of a guy.

Andrew Kern
Finn Sailor