Meet Your Board Members: Barry Millbourn, Rear Commodore

Barry Millbourn

Barry Millbourn

Barry joined the Squadron in 1988 and has raced sailboats here for twenty-five years. So, he knows a thing or two about what makes this club tick.

He says he first got the sailing "bug" as a young kid at Avalon on New Jersey's South Shore . "The people next door bought a Sunfish and I was admiring it so they flipped it off the sea wall and said, 'Here ya go.' That was a lot of fun."

After he moved to Sarasota in 1985 Barry bought a Starwind 13.2 and sailed it for a while off Hart's Landing. "But that's a lousy place to sail," he said "It's so busy." Finally someone he worked with at the Herald-Tribune suggested he take the Red Cross Sailing class which was sponsored by the Sailing Squadron. Barry recalls, "The Classes were all taught by volunteers using donated Sunfish and Lasers. Ten weeks for thirty-five dollars; the most fun for the least amount of money. It was great."

That got Barry's renewed interest in sailing started. "I was reading everything I could find about how to sail," he said. "I joined the Squadron and brought my 13.2 out here all the time." Asked how he happened to buy a Starwind he said, "It was three hundred dollars. At the time I was working at Wellcraft Marine and they decided to get out of the sailboat business so about everybody who worked there got a sailboat. Everything on the lot sort of vanished."

Barry began racing his Starwind in the Wednesday night races at the Squadron. "That was fun," he said, "It was the slowest boat. It was really slow, always the last one in. But the rating was so bad that I could still place third all the time."

It is interesting how things happen at the Squadron. Barry describes how he got drawn into serious racing, "Dave Bridges volunteered me. One day somebody who had just bought a boat wanted to get into racing so he was looking for crew. I came walking through the porch at the club house that day and Dave Bridges saw me and said to him, 'Here's somebody, he'll crew.' So I got into it.

The new owner's name was Don Mattran. He had a Capri 22. He commented, 'I'm glad I've got an experienced crew.' That was funny. Little did he know!" Barry says we learned a lot. He sailed with Don for several years and remarked that was always a lot of fun.

"Later on I started sailing Day Sailors; after a while I bought one. A Day Sailor is a competitive seventeen and a half foot one design originally designed by O'Day which I really enjoyed.

Barry got divorced in 1995, sold his boat so his racing career evaporated for a time. He recalls, "I spent my free time with my daughter Leigh for a time. When she went off to college I got back into it and started crewing on Flying Scots." He has been crewing with Ron Pletsch ever since.

Now Barry says he owns a Laser, a 420 and he still has the Starwind. "Actually I married the Starwind back." He smiles as he says, "It sold. Then I met a woman at the squadron who, it turns out, had bought my boat. We became friends, got married, so I inherited it back through marriage. My wife's name is Mary Lisa."

As it turns out, Barry says he doesn't sail his boats that much anymore. He crews on other people's boats. He still holds a full time job at Sarasota Memorial Hospital. After Twenty some years in the boat business, he commented, "I decided I didn't want to grow old doing that. Beautiful scenery, but some of the work with chemicals that are kind of deadly is reason enough to change jobs." Barry is now in charge of plant operations at a nursing home owned by Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

Barry started attending board meetings three or four years ago. His was concerned that the racing program at the squadron had kind of evaporated. The organized week- end regattas including several classes such as a Portsmouth start, Spinnaker start, Non Spinnaker start, Day Sailor or San Juan start, with the club providing the committee boat simply ceased to exist. "We now provide our own committee boat," he said. "We take turns and mostly do a windward, leeward course instead of the traditional Olympic triangle. The Flying Scots also participate in regattas with other clubs."

Finally, Barry's eleven year old daughter, Anna, is involved in the Youth Sailing Program at the Squadron and Barry is actively supporting her in that program.

Members of the Sailing Squadron are fortunate to have board members like Barry Millbourn who have been dedicated to the mission of the Club for so many years and have experienced the benefits of club membership. He has much to offer.

Comments are closed.