It is with great sadness that we learned that we lost our friend Geoff Ewenson to a massive heart attack yesterday morning, October 14 at the very young age of 50. Since joining the Viper Class 5+ years ago, Geoff and his wife Mary have been two of the sparkplugs that have helped the Viper Class remain vibrant, active, and fun. Together, Geoff and Mary started the now-booming Viper fleet in Annapolis. Together they loved going to Miami for the Bacardi Cup and the Sarasota Winter Series, they traveled to all the major regattas, won a bunch of them, and were on the podium for almost all they entered, including a second place finish at the 2019 Worlds in Long Beach, and a third place finish at the 2018 North Americans in Kingston.
Then, suddenly yesterday we lost one of our Class leaders, best sailors, coaches, and a caring friend. Geoff leaves big shoes to fill. He would be there working on his Viper yet would always take the time to answer a question. On the water, his sportsmanship was unquestioned…a true yachtsman. And much to the chagrin of the fleet, he was one of the toughest sailors to beat on the racecourse. Thanks, Geoff, for the leadership, counsel, competition, and friendship. Fair winds and following seas.
Anyone who has experienced the loss of a spouse recognizes that the remaining spouse suddenly faces a world of new challenges and issues. Mary Iliff Ewenson was not only Geoff’s wife, she was truly his partner in all the things they did. Even though Geoff was a professional sailor, he saw the Viper as a family boat. His first class regatta in Sarasota years ago in USA 248 (Terminally Pretty # 1) was with Mary, his brother Nick, and his sister-in-law Meredith. It was rare to have Geoff at a Viper regatta without Mary either on the helm or in the front of the boat – as long as they were together, Geoff was happy. On the water with Mary as crew or helm, they were tough to beat. The person who got to be their third on their Viper was the lucky one. On shore, they organized Viper regattas together (who can forget the Budweiser and chocolate cake after sailing at Eastport Yacht Club?), Geoff would crew for Mary in training for next year’s International Women’s Championship, he contributed to Mary’s magazine, SpinSheet, they raised dogs together, worked out together, and were partners in the truest sense of the word.
Today, as we mourn the loss of Geoff and celebrate all he gave us over his years sailing Vipers, 5o5s and big boats, we also celebrate Mary and what she gave to Geoff and to the rest of us, too. We wish her the strength to get through the next few days, months, and years. Mary, all of us in the Viper family are remembering all the good times we had together with the Ewensons. We recognize your desire for privacy at this time, but please know that we are all there for you and we look forward to you joining us when the time is right. Our deepest condolences to the rest of the Annapolis Viper fleet and Geoff’s many friends in the Class.