The US National Sailing Hall of Fame selected eleven sailors in 2021 to join the previously recognized 90 people who were consecrated since first class in 2011.
Among the 11th class to be officially inducted on October 16 is Jane Pegel (1933-), three-time Martini & Rossi (now Rolex) Yachtswoman of the Year and winner of several National and North American Sailing and Ice Boating Championships. . She is featured in this tribute by Gary Jobson, inducted in 2011:
Jane Pegel owned a series of ice boats and fast barges which all received colorful names. People notice boats with interesting names, especially when the boats are at the front of the fleet.
She has been a champion sailing Midwestern sailor since her early days. She has also taught thousands of young aspiring seafarers to improve their skills. His first ice boat was called “Holy Smoke”. Pegel’s C Scow has been named “Calamity Jane” and her legendary E Scow has been named “Frozen Asset”, a phrase any sailor can appreciate.
Pegel started sailing very early and was the descendant of a line of sailors. His grandfather, John O. Johnson, started Johnson Boat Works on White Bear Lake, Minnesota, in 1896. He was the original builder of the A Scow, a 38-foot flyer that impressed all participants in the Seawanhaka Cup.
She had an extraordinary career on the water. She has been named US Sailing Yachtswoman of the Year three times (1964, 1971, 1972), twice won the Adams Cup, the North American Women’s Championship (1957, 1964) and won championships in the X class, C Scow, M Scow, and DN ice boat classes.
She and her husband Bob Pegel were the eternal best finishers in the E Scow class. They won the E Scow Blue Chip Regatta and the Inland Yacht Association Championship. They co-skipped their barge with Jane who ran the upwind stages in 1968 and finished second in the E Scow National Championship.
Giving back to the sport has been a prerequisite for Pegel. Her first service-oriented position was as X-Class Fleet Captain in 1948. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Phi Beta Kappa, (1955) and helped organize a sailing team. Until that time, “Hoofers”, as it was called, was more of a club sport.
During the summers, she was a sailing instructor at the Lake Geneva Yacht Club, home of fellow Hall of Fame sailor Buddy Melges. In 1972, Melges and Pegel were both named Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year – Melges for winning a gold medal at the Olympics and Pegel for winning the M Scow Class National Championship and several other regattas that season.
When asked if the lessons of ice boating apply to Scow sailing, Pegel explains, “In high performance boats there is a transfer especially on lakes where the wind is changeable. For those who sail on fast boats, we have been alerted to this magical thing that made a boat faster. We had to learn design. The sailors who grasp the variables that exist in the sport is what makes it so interesting. ”
She has a long history of serving US Sailing, first as a committee member, then chair of the One Design Class Council, and finally on the board. In 1970, the Pegels moved to Lake Geneva and Jane ended up being appointed director of the yacht club’s sailing program.
Pegel spent 40 years in the Lake Geneva Yacht Club’s junior program, starting as an instructor and eventually being elected chairman of the board. She was Director of Communications for the International Class of Stars (1982-1987). As a competitor, Jane Pegel excelled on the water and on the ice. As a collaborator, she served sport with distinction for almost 80 years.
The 2021 class will be officially inducted at a ceremony on October 16, 2021 in Newport, RI.