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Michigan Heritage Awards

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Photo of Ron Sherry in his workshop
Photo by Patrick Power

Ron Sherry
2007 awardee, Clinton Township (Macomb County), Iceboat Builder

At the age of nine, Ron Sherry began helping his father build DN iceboats. The DN is a class of iceboat that was named after the Detroit News held a contest for a new "home-buildable" boat design in 1936. He grew up in the Lake St. Clair area among a strong community of iceboat racers and within a family whose tradition was to sail and race iceboats. Today, Ron, president of Composite Concepts, Inc., is a known master iceboat builder within the iceboat racing community. He makes and sells about six complete iceboats a year to other racers and many individual component parts. He has built over 500 masts and over 500 sets of runners, long blades that are used below the boat, one on each side and one in front to steer. In addition, Sherry restores and repairs old iceboats, and having worked at various sail lofts for 15 years, he also is a skilled sail maker.

Over the years, Ron has taught several apprentices. Currently, he is teaching his nephew, Mike Rehe, who is also a skilled iceboat racer. Sherry is known as an innovator, constantly improving the technical aspects of iceboat design. Believing that sharing traditional knowledge makes the sport more enjoyable for all its participants, Ron readily shares new design tips and ideas with other racers and builders. He fully believes that the more he helps others around him to be faster racers, the faster he will be. His leadership in producing parts and new technology for iceboat components such as the carbon fiber mast also makes him stand out.

In addition to making boats, Sherry has won six world titles in three different classes of iceboats. He is an active member of the Detroit Ice Yacht Club and the International DN Ice Yacht Racing Association. Ron's passion for water sports is year round. He races iceboats in the winter and, in the summer, participates as a world-class competitive sailor. Ron won the 2006 Port Huron to Mackinac Race overall as a helmsman and trimmer aboard "Equation," Bill Alcott's Andrews 70.

Ron Sherry is recognized with the 2007 Michigan Heritage Award for his masterful iceboat building and his engagement with and support of this maritime winter sport

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