Today’s column was going to center on Riverside resident Greg Alm, who was part of a seven-member crew who won the Mackinac Cup on a boat named Real Na Mara in this year’s Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac. But there is more to the story for Alm.
Alm has been a crew member on the same boat for nine Mackinac races, an event which began in 1898, covers 289.4 nautical miles and features more than 350 boats and 3,500 crew members.
Last year the Real Na Mara did not finish the race, after storms hit and a boat capsized, resulting in the loss of two lives. The crew of Alm’s boat dropped out of the race to aid in the rescue of the crew members.
An experienced sailor, Alm talked about a “treasure hunt” that ended up factoring ever so slightly into this year’s win. Given an old photo album, he found pictures of his great-grandfather who sailed in the early Mackinac races. He then received a picture of a boat his great-grandfather had sailed on and the search began.
Analyzing the pictures, he was able to distinguish that the boat was named the Amorita, which won the race in 1911 and set a record that lasted 76 years. Further research led him to the New York Yacht Club for information on the Amorita. He learned it was owned by a man named Baum.
Putting the pieces of the puzzle together, as Alm describes it, he concluded that his great-grandfather, Edward Younglove, had a been a member of the crew of the Amorita. The Amorita was dismantled in 1925, but its history lives on.
Later on, an uncle gave Alm two sailing medals belonging to Edward Younglove. As a tribute to his great-grandfather, Alm brought one of the medals on board the Real Na Mara as it set sail for its victorious voyage.
Alm, talking about the maternal side of his family where his love of sailing stems, says his grandfather and father were not into sailing, but his mother loved to sail. Having learned all this as recently as 2010, he admits that his curiosity will have him continuing to delve into the people pictured in the old photo album.
He added another chapter to his family’s history in sailing with a picture of the Mackinac Cup in 2012, the crew of the Real Na Mara and their jubilant win. It seems there is always a story within a story.