Nassau Bay engineer keeps tradition going by restoring J/24 racers
The way Anita Gale sees it, the purpose of life is to enrich the lives of others, she said.
For Gale and her late husband, Dick Edwards, sailing and racing were the things that most enriched their lives, and now she wants to bring that joy to others on Galveston Bay, she said.
“That’s really what this is about,” she said. “Keeping these boats is helping to introduce this sport to others.”
Edwards died in 2009, after suffering a stroke on a boat while racing, she said. And, in the years since his death, Anita Gale has collected four of her late husband’s favorite types of racing boats — the J/24.
Gale, a Nassau Bay resident, named them Trickbag, Yikes, 99 and Superman, she said.
“They’re just a great boat for bringing novices into the sport,” she said.
The J/24 is the world’s most popular one-design keelboat class, with more than 5,500 boats in 27 countries.
The Gales first got into sailing while working as Boeing engineers in southern California and, at one point, owned a Ranger 23 and entered it in races, she said.
But the couple were transferred to the area in 2002 and gave their California boats to Sea Scouts, she said.
Not too long after moving, Dick Gale got the urge to race again and purchased his first J/24 in 2005 — the Trickbag, she said.
“We found out it came from New Orleans,” she said.
Dick Gale convinced his wife they should purchase a second J/24 so he could use it to practice with Trickbag, comparing notes and figuring out how to eke out more speed during races, she said.
The couple eventually found a damaged J/24 in Corpus Christi and purchased it, but during repairs discovered the deck had rotted, she said.
Before they could finish fixing the second boat, Yike$!, Hurricane Ike struck in 2008, and Dick Gale died not long after, she said.
Since his death, Anita Gale has gone on to finish repairs on Yike$!, the second boat, and also has acquired two others — 99 and Superman, she said.
“I don’t want to say we’re a boat rescue, but if we sniff out a good boat, we’ll acquire it and do a little restoration,” she said. “We’ll save them if they’re worth saving.”