Skip to main content

Tom Broeckl dies; longtime Chicago sailor

Tom Broeckl, longtime sailing enthusiast and a member of Chicago Yacht Club for 60 years, died July 11 at the age of 77.

A veteran of World War II, he taught in the first Chicago Yacht Club Sailing School. He was one of a three-man crew that raced in the finals of the first Mallory Cup in the North American Championship series for men in 1952. Respected as an authority on the club, Chicago yachting history and early Chicago yachts, he was appointed club librarian and chairman of the Old Guard Committee.

Friends say he raced with panache in the Luders 16 fleet (attending world championships in New Orleans, Bermuda and Long Island Sound) and kept track of Lake Michigan’s yachting lore. Broeckl’s sense of humor was also well known. He was the master of understatement, once reportedly commenting that sailboat racing was “certainly an outmoded form of transportation,” while swatting flies in a no-breeze zone on Lake Michigan. He is survived by his wife, Nancy; four children; and five grandchildren.