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ON THE FRITZ - Fritz Dusel
By David Starck
Posted: 2020-09-04T16:18:00Z
When COVID hit last Spring, the way we lived, worked, and played (Lightning Sailing) changed dramatically.   With the closure of the USA/CAN border, many of the Lightning sailors at the Buffalo Canoe Club (Fleet 12), which is located on Lake Erie 15 miles west of Buffalo, NY in Crystal Beach, Ontario, needed to find a place to sail Lightnings for the summer. 

Enter Fritz Dusel.  An avid cruising sailor on the mighty Niagara River and 1980 North American Champion Crew for Mark Bryant. Fritz had been trying to revive sailing and racing on the river over the past few years.  Any type of sailboat was fine. Just show on Sunday’s and Fritz will run races from his 30’ keelboat. No one was turned away and all were encouraged. If someone needed sails or other equipment in order to race it wasn't a problem. Fritz reached out to local boat owners, asking for older sail/gear/parts donations and made it happen. It worked. Soon enough, Fritz had a few boats racing on a consistent basis.

When word came that Lightning sailors needed a home, Fritz jumped on it.  He collaborated with clubs on the river (Sandy Beach Yacht Club and Niagara Sailing Club) and made it happen.  86 races later, over 21 sailing days, from June through August, 11 Lightnings and many sailors (mindful of social distancing, etc) enjoyed Fritz’s fantastic race committee work and his love for the Lightning.

The history of Lightning sailing on the Niagara River dates back to the 1950’s.  There are so many fond memories.  Thanks to Fritz and others, the magic of river sailing was brought back to life in 2020.  It was absolutely fantastic.

Fritz aboard his sailboat “On The Fritz”

Fritz hopped on the Grenauer’s Lightning for one race and skippered it to victory!  He still has it!!

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