From Chesapeake 20

Neal Kramer - Chesapeake 20 Pioneer

Posted in: Racing Legends, 1940s
By Ted Weihe
Jun 8, 2011 - 11:39:42 AM

Neal Kramer – Chesapeake 20 Pioneer

 Neal Kramer died on Wednesday, June 8th at his home in Annapolis.   Neal Kramer was an avid racer in both Penguins and Chesapeake 20s.  He joined the Annapolis Yacht Club as a junior member in 1938 and was also a member of West River Sailing Club.  Along with his brother John, he raced Stormy in 1940 and 1941.  He met his future wife, Eleanor at the Oxford Regatta in 1941.  He and Eleanor raced Penguins out of the old Maryland Yacht Club.  He served in the Army Air Corps from 1943 to 1946, and later worked in the marine construction business.  What is remarkable about is sailing skills is that he began to lose his eye sight at 35, but was able to remain competitive with diminished sight for many years. 

After WWII, he raced Serenade with his all girl crew of Eleanor (his wife), Sally, Barbara, and Kathy.  The Annapolis Maritime Museum exhibit in 2010 on Chesapeake 20s featured a beautifully restored Serenade under the care of Burt Sachse, Sally’s husband.  A hanging picture of Serenade in 1947 at the entrance had with Neal at the helm with Eleanor, his first mate, who at the time was pregnant with Sally.  The exhibit also featured a collection of his trophies which included:

1941 – Annapolis Yacht Club, First, Spring Series

1941 – Tred Avon Yacht Club, Second, 20 Foot Class, Division 1

1964 – Miles River Yacht Club, Second, Chesapeake 20

1964 – Rock Hall Yacht Club, First, Chesapeake 20

1964 – Chesapeake Bay Yacht Association, High Point, Third, Chesapeake 20

1967 – Captain Oscar Hartge Perpetual Trophy, First, Chesapeake 20

1967 – West River Sailing Club, Captain Vincent P. Kramer, USAF, Memorial Trophy, Annapolis to West River Race (named in honor of his brother who was killed in an aircraft crash after WWII.)

At the funeral, there was a wonderful poem.  It read:

Here I lie a Salty Dog,
A boater on the bay,
Fair weather only, if you please,
I like it best that way.

Now "The Skipper" calls and I must go,
I have to stand my watch
As many men before me have,
I just moved up a notch.

I'll miss my mates and all my friends,
And water calm and serene
But, I'm proud to say, the day I left,
My bilge was dry and clean  

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