Lap 14 - Beyond Sports Car Racing
As can be seen by the continuing records
of his race entries, Sy's auto racing career did not come to
an abrupt halt either with the dramatic demise of his beloved
Blotus, or with the closing of his Lotus distributorship. He
continued to enter various races with various types of cars.
In the 70's, however, Sy's competitive
spirit sought a more relaxing sport and turned back to the water,
though this time under the power of nothing more than the wind.
In 1976 he married Cynthia Parker, and they had two children.
When I visited Sy and Cindy in the winter of 2002, I asked about
their Paris marriage expecting to hear some wonderfully romantic
story. Cindy laughed and Sy was very obviously humored by my
impression that it had been a grand romantic endeavor! Cindy
explained to me that she and Sy had prepared to marry while in
New York. Their intention was to have a simple "city hall"
marriage, but when the paperwork was completed, they were informed
of the "two week cooling off period." So they returned
to their offices in the Mercer Arts Center where their staff
and friends had prepared a champaign celebration - they celebrated
anyway. In two weeks, Cindy's theater company was in Paris and
Sy went along, the plan being that they would simply tie the
knot "en français." Apparently French marriage
law requires an enormous amount of paperwork for a foreigner
to be married in France. The law is meant to keep foreigners
from marrying French citizens for the purpose of collecting the
government benefits afforded French citizens - the law did not
consider that two foreigners would like to be married while in
France, with no one gaining the benefit of French citizenship!
Cindy was explaining this to another member of her company who,
it turned out, was good friends with the Ambassador in France,
who was able to put the matter quickly to rest thereby allowing
the newly married Kabacks the honor of being able to say "Oh,
yes, we were married in Paris daaarling!"
Around this time, Sy began sailing merely
I was very interested in multihulls and even started a magazine
called "Multihull" which didn't do very well. I was
mostly interested in trimarans and raced to Bermuda on some friends
boats a couple of times. They were home built jobs and they didn't
do very well. One was dismasted about 100 miles from Bermuda.
We lost our ability to maneuver and had to turn around and sail
home without ever reaching Bermuda. I switched to monohulls and
just cruised for about 10 years.
In the 1980's Sy turned his attention to
competition sailing and became well know in yacht racing circles
in the West Sound and the East End of Long Island. He raced various
sailboats usually named "Lotus" (for the "pleasant
memories and good Karma,") with which he once again began
winning races. Wiggers Custom Yachts prepared a Peterson 37 which
was raced successfully through the 1983 competition season.
I started my sailboat racing career in
1981 when I was 60. I raced for about 10 years and had a lot
of fun and did very well. But it wasn't the same thrill as motor
featured on the cover of the Wiggers brochure.
In 1983 he captained "Lotus"to
a first in Class at Block Island Race Week. That year "Lotus"
was also named boat of the year by the Eastern Long Island Yachting
Packet and note from
prepared in commemoration
of the success of
TEAM "LOTUS" - 1983 SUCCESS STORY
The unparalleled successful
racing season culminated in "Lotus" winning two first
places on successive days and first overall in I.O.R. Class C
in the Manhasset Bay Invitational Fall Series.
This team effort began
early in the year with Bill Kelly visiting the Wiggers plant
in Canada and deciding on the Petersen 37. A great deal of engineering
and planning between Bill Kelly, Tom McLaughlin and Andy Wiggers
resulted in the final product.
Despite the late delivery
of the mast, McMichaels finished the installation of the instruments,
rigging, etc. in time for us to enter the American Spring Regatta.
David Silberkleit returned from his ski hiatus to take care of
all the details and get the "Lotus" race ready.
In every series that we
entered this year we finished first or second in class. Among
these wins were:
Riverside Yacht Club Press
Spring Plus Fall Series
First in Class
Indian Harbor Yacht Club
- Whitmore Series
Spring plus Fall Series
First in Class
New York Yacht Club
2nd in Class
The highlight of the season
was the gratifying first place win in the I.O.R. Class 5 at Block
Island. Class 5, with 35 yachts, was undoubtedly the most competitive
class at the Storm Trysail Yacht Club's Block Island Race Week.
There were (5) Wiggers
Petersen 37's each equipped by a different sailmaker, as well
as "Lindy", the prototype Petersen 38. Farr was represented
by "Migize" (won 5 of 6 races in the S.O.R.C.) and
(2) new Farr 37's "Sugar" and Mandala". Bruce
Nelson was aboard the Nelson-Marek 39 foot "Conamore".
"Stajon" and the other Nelson-Marek boats were in our
class. "Messenger" and the latest German Frers creations
were present with outstanding crews.
Lack of wind prevented
anyone in our class finishing race #1 and consequently everyone
started out with 35 points. Without this handicap, our total
for the remaining races would have put us in line for overall
fleet winner. (over 300 yachts) En route to block island, we
managed to come in first in the I.O.R. class in the Sag Harbor
Y.C. -Drug Abuse Race.
During the summer season,
"Lotus" won the Eastern Long Island Yachting Association
Championship - a 10 race series, and was the ELIYA "Boat
of the Year". Overall wins included the Shelter Island Yacht
Club Heatherton Trophy, the Eastern Sailing Club Annual Regatta
and the East Hampton Yacht Club Bowl Regatta. In Local East Hampton
Yacht Club Gardner Bay races, "Lotus" won (2) firsts
and (1) second.
Additional kudos go to:
Andy Wiggers - Wiggers
and most important
Tom McLaughlin of North Sails
Hathaway-Reiser and Raymond Rigging
Sager Restaurant - Sandwiches
Popeye Chicken without
which the whole project would not have been feasible.
"Lotus" Crew Members
East Hampton Crew Members
OWNER - *Sy Kaback
||Crewed at Block Island
sales flyers based on
the success of the waterborne "Lotus"
In 1985 another "Lotus", a J35,
took 2nd in the J35 North American Championship Races at Larchmont
Yacht Club, while in 1991 yet another "Lotus" this
time a Catalina '42, won all the East Hampton Yacht Club Races,
the Sag Harbor Cup, and took third in the King of the Bays Race
in Peconic Bay!
During his tenure as a yachtsman, Sy accumulated
titles and memberships left and right:
Commodore, East Hampton Yacht Club
Member, Devon Yacht Club
Member, Breakwater Yacht Club
Vice-President of the Board of the Alfred Adler Institute
Vice-President of the Board of the St. Tropez Condominium
Partner, Halsey's Marina, East Hampton.
In the 1970's and 80's Sy divided his time
between homes in NYC and East Hampton, and in 1992 he retired
to year around residence in East Hampton. Along with the four
children mentioned earlier, Sy has two grandchildren: Jenny Vaccaro
of Wellesley Mass., and Alexander Kaback, of Syossett, NY. His
brother, Bernard Kaback currently resides in New York City.
Kaback rightfully proud with a few of his awards in 1992