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EIGHT BELLS - Fred Smales
Team McLube


The Publisher

Dec 10, 2012, 2:17 PM

Post #1 of 5 (53357 views)
EIGHT BELLS - Fred Smales Log-In to Post/Reply

There are few men who I have admired more in my life than Fred Smales, who we lost on December 3 at the young age of 98.

Fred is a legendary Southern Californian yachtsman who aboard his beloved ESCAPADE won enough trophies to fill a garage bringing tremendous pride to the Balboa Yacht Club, which he served as Commodore long before most of us were born.

After moving to Oahu in the 60’s to run a second successful business, he raced his black-hulled, Gurney designed GUINEVERE over during the Transpac and then continued to win races in the difficult Hawaiian waters. Along the way Fred served as Commodore of his second club, Waikiki Yacht Club. Fred was a fierce competitor and genuine yachtsman.

I will never forget when I was a little kid and we were sailing across the Molokai Channel and Fred’s hat blew off. Shorthanded and with a couple of kids on board he thought nothing of turning GUINEVERE around to go get his hat, never mind it was blowing about 30 knots and the waves were typically Molokai large!

During Transpac it was always a camp out aboard GUINEVERE waiting for the fleet to arrive. No matter the time of day, Fred always had a load of guests aboard for a trip out to the finish line to welcome his fellow yachtsman to Hawaii.

Aside from his love of yachting, Fred was a businessman to the core. He always fought for the best deal he could, but always made sure it was fair for both sides. He understood how important it was for everyone to be successful. After retiring from running his second large company, he couldn’t stand being away from the work and started the successful Plywood Hawaii with his wife Connie. Until his very last week's, they still discussed the business and how to do the best they could. He just loved it. -- Mike Nash

The Publisher

Dec 10, 2012, 2:18 PM

Post #2 of 5 (53354 views)
Re: [The Publisher] EIGHT BELLS - Fred Smales [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply


TO: Editor in Charge
CONTACT: Janet M. Scheffer, President
Mana Means Communications, (808) 521-1160
DATE: December 5, 2012



Leading Hawaii Businessman and Sailing Enthusiast Passes

(Honolulu, HI), December 5, 2012 - Longtime businessman Fred B. Smales passed away at his home on Saturday, December 3 at the age of 98. Mr. Smales, a Kaneohe resident, was born in Keokuk, Iowa.

He took his first job with United States Plywood Corporation (later Champion International) where he remained for 32 years, retiring as its West Coast and Pacific Area Vice President.

In 1965, he spearheaded the purchase of Hawaii’s Lewers and Cooke (est. 1852) and served as its president until 1969. Mr. Smales became President of Hawaiian Cement, which was acquired by Lone Star Industries, a national cement company, and was later appointed president. Following retirement from Lone Star, he established Plywood Hawaii in 1995 and served as its Chairman until his passing.

As an investor and President of Hawaii Thermal Power, he drilled the first geothermal well on the Island of Hawaii in 1960.

An avid sailor, Mr. Smales raced five Trans Pac races from Los Angeles to Honolulu, as well as holding several local Hawaii records while engaging in his lifelong passion for yacht racing. He was commodore of five yacht clubs and two yachting associations during his lifetime. He was also a Life Member of the Honolulu Navy Leageue.

In 1987 he chaired the Governors’ Blue Ribbon America’s Cup Committee in an effort to bring the America’s Cup to Hawaii. He received the National Governor’s Association Distinguished Citizens Award in 1986. He was also Hawaii Commissioner to World Expo (Brisbane, Australia) in 1988 and Chairman of Gov. George Ariyoshi’s reelection campaign in 1988.

He is survived by wife Connie (married 47 years), daughters Nancy Alice Clark of Upland, California, Catherina Malia Christensen (Trina) of San Ramon, California, and son Fred B. Smales III (Trace) of Honolulu.

A celebration of life will be held at Kaneohe Yacht Club on Saturday, January 26, 2013 following the scattering of ashes in Kaneohe Bay.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Hawaii Sailing Foundation or Hawaii Pacific University.

# # #


Dec 10, 2012, 8:30 PM

Post #3 of 5 (53239 views)
Re: [The Publisher] EIGHT BELLS - Fred Smales [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

Fred Smales was a class act and friend to all sailors. His pale green Cal-32 ESCAPADE regularly won races in Southern California in the '50's and early '60's against the likes of YUCCA (Don Barber), SPARKLE (Alex Irving), the PCC's, and other Cal-32's. Fred was always smiling as ESCAPADE sailed to the front of the fleet. He knew the advantage of a clean bottom, fresh sails, and knowledgeble crew.

I only ever heard Fred raise his voice once. In the summer of 1961, he had bought a new green spinnaker from Burke Sawyer, the salesman at Watts Sails in Torrance. No one had ever done it before. But Fred and Burke agreed it would be really cool to have an Escapade emblem sewn on the new spinnaker.

What Fred wanted stitched on his new spinnaker was a Fleur de Lys.

Fred left the office, and Burke began scratching his head. What the hell was a Fleur de Lys and where would he find a pattern to make such a thing? I believe it was Bob Hanretty who suggested to Burke that he go down the street and buy a box of Girl Scout cookies, which used a Fleur de Lys as their emblem. Burke came back with a half eaten box of cookies and began sketching.

Fred picked up Escapade's new spinnaker with the Fleur de Lys on Friday afternoon for the weekend race. Monday morning Fred was back at the loft with the spinnaker, mad as hell at Burke. I could only catch snatches of the conversation out on the floor. It seems Burke's cookie Fleur de Lys emblem on ESCAPADE's spinnaker came out looking like Fred was giving everyone the finger.


Dec 11, 2012, 7:04 AM

Post #4 of 5 (53183 views)
Re: [skipallan] EIGHT BELLS - Fred Smales [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

Fred Smales was a man's man. When Drifter was in front of the Transpac fleet the last nite Fred asked me to take his kids out to find her. I was staggered that he would trust me with his kids. We went out about twenty miles in a 22' Boston whaler in calm seas and found her. He made me aware of how trust can raise your game.

I'm sorry, Connie. Great guy.

Bob Leslie

The Publisher

Dec 13, 2012, 6:40 AM

Post #5 of 5 (53103 views)
Re: [bobleslie] EIGHT BELLS - Fred Smales [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

From Fin Beven:
Keeping in mind that I am more than 30 years younger than Fred Smales when I first knew him I was just a kid, but I've been around for a while, so I remember Fred when he brought Escapade up to race in the LAYC midwinter regattas in the early 60s (when the only Mid-Winter Regatta was at LAYC). I remember Fred when he was rebuilding Escapade in the shed at South Coast Marine in Newport Beach. I remember the Fleur-de-lis, green-and-white spinnaker that Connie designed for him, first used for one of the Lipton Cup races in San Diego when the Cal-32s were the dominant boat. I remember when he sailed Guinevere to Hawaii in '71, as he finished shortly after us. Nice arrival party. In all of that time, Fred was always a gentleman, and Fred was always the gentleman-sailor.

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