Michigan Heritage Awards
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Photo by Patrick Power
2007 awardee, Clinton Township (Macomb County),
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
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