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Port Captain Introductions: Steven L. Arbaugh

Authored by Cindy Badley
October 15, 2021

Please welcome newly appointed Port Captain Steven L. Arbaugh for Harbor Springs, Mich. (M-4)! Here's a bit right from the sailor's mouth...

     I joined on 7 Sept 2021, so I have not attended any GLCC events or Regional Meetings. Obviously, I am not currently on any Committees, have not participated in any GLCC activities and have never been awarded any recognition. While this may seem an auspicious request for the position of Port Captain, my parents have been members of the GLCC for over 50 years, and I am well aware of the importance of the GLCC to cruisers and yachtsmen.

     Yachting biography: Looking back, it seems that I’ve been on the water most of my life. I had a Class A Utility racing powerboat with a Mercury Super Hurricane 15-hp outboard that I used on the Grand River in Lansing when I was 10 years old. I started racing sailboats when in my early teens, and have since competed in regattas in San Francisco, Key West, San Diego, Newport, R.I., Chicago, Detroit and many other Great Lakes venues such as Harbor Springs, Charlevoix, Traverse City, Milwaukee and Grand Haven. I’ve raced a 46-foot sloop from Miami to Montego Bay, Jamaica. I have competed in 31 Mackinac races in boats ranging from 32 to 78 feet, and was involved with two America’s Cup campaigns (1987 “Heart of America” challenge, Fremantle, Australia, and the victorious 1992 “America 3” campaign in San Diego). I have also competed in the British Virgin Islands, and was a charter skipper on a Tiburon 48, based there in Road Town, Tortola, and have delivered boats from there to Antigua and Ft. Lauderdale.

     On the cruising front, I bought my first cruising boat in 1990, a Bertram 28. Since then, I have owned and cruised a Bertram 33, Bertram 46, Tiara 38 Open and our current Tiara 47 and Pursuit 385 Offshore, and have cruised on many other power and sailing vessels. I captain a Grand Banks 42 for my mother, and have spent much time cruising the north shore of Lake Superior aboard her beloved Simba, always with Bonnie Dahl’s invaluable Superior Way close at hand. I have cruised the North Channel and Georgian Bay of Lake Huron more than 20 or so times, and have been close friends with Little Current, Ont. Port Captain Byron “Jib” Turner since we were kids.

     I am a founding member and Past Commodore of the St. James Yacht Club on Beaver Island, and serve on the Board of Directors. I am also a member of the following yacht clubs: Little Traverse YC (Harbor Springs), Mackinac Island YC, Bayview YC (Detroit), the Boathouse Club (Harbor Springs) where I serve on the Board of Directors and the Naples Sailing and Yacht Club (Naples, Fla.) and currently serve on its Board of Directors, as well.

     I come by my love of the lakes honestly. My great-great grandfather, Capt. Joseph Parsons (1844-1921) was the master of the brig British Lion when he was 20 years old. He went on to be the master of many large sailing vessels, including the 133-foot three-masted schooner Queen of the Lakes, which he bought in 1870 and sold in 1892. Captain Parsons drowned in a storm off of Lake Huron’s Hammond Bay, north of Rogers City, Mich., while sailing solo from Detroit to Mackinac Island at 77 years of age. I guess that makes me the son of a son of a son of a sailor (apologies to Jimmy Buffett)!

     I’ve lived in Harbor Springs for almost 50 years and know the harbor and surrounding area well. I’m confident that I’ll carry out the required duties as Port Captain, in a professional and thoughtful manner, and pledge to do so. Upon your visit to Harbor Springs, please give me a holler. While there and elsewhere, look for a 2007 Tiara 4700 Sovran, white hull, named Rodeo.