By Mary Boyle
Residents of, and visitors to, Port Washington's harbor may have noticed a new ship over the course of the summer. Her name is JAKAB, and she's a smaller-scale replica of a 1929 to 1937 America's Cup J-Class racing sloop. Her Captain, Andrew Sadock, is also Captain of the well-known tall ship, Red Witch, but he wasn't always at the helm of a sailing ship; in fact, he took a very unusual path to his current role.
"I attended medical school with the intention to become a pediatric psychiatrist," Sadock said. "I became disillusioned with the primary strategy of prescribing medications -- so I quit med school [and] lived in California, learning holistic medicine at Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, with indigenous healers from China, India, Ecuador, Tibet and Brazil. While at Esalen, I met America's first T'ai Chi champion, who invited me to San Francisco to learn Dragon and Tiger Qi Gong (a proactive healing method). While there, I lived aboard a sailboat in Sausalito, as it was affordable, and that's when I learned to sail."
About 17 years ago, Sadock returned to Chicago to care for his parents while he worked on writing books about holistic psychology and bioenergetics. Needing other employment, he was offered a job at Oakton Community College working in financial development, but only lasted an hour in his new "office" — a closet-sized room with no windows. As he drove to North Avenue Beach in Chicago he called his father, who suggested Sadock visit Navy Pier and apply for a job on the big boats. He was offered an $8 per hour job essentially carrying garbage, which he did for two years before becoming captain of the largest architectural tour boat on Lake Michigan, where he piloted 200,000 passengers on 3,500 architectural tours.
In 2011, Sadock bought the Red Witch, a tall ship that was voted Chicago's "Best Tour and Charter Boat" in 2009, 2010, and 2012 (3rd overall) by the prestigious Illinois Meetings + Events Magazine. In 2017, Sadock decided to move Red Witch to Kenosha, where the Tall Ships Challenge will be held in 2019. Meanwhile, Sadock had purchased JAKAB in 2014, and proceeded to spend the next 3 years converting her from a recreational hull to a U.S. Coast Guard-approved commercial tour boat. JAKAB served St. Clair, Michigan in 2017, and then sailed from Port Huron, MI to Port Washington this past June.
The name of the sailboat is in honor of Sadock's father, who passed away while Sadock was rebuilding the vessel, and the rest of his immediate family, with each letter being the first initial of a family member's name. The name is "Jacob" in Hungarian, which is how most people pronounce it, though some go with "Yah-Kub" — either way is fine, as far as Sadock is concerned.
Passengers are often surprised to find that sailing on the JAKAB is a very different experience than on tall ships like Red Witch or the Denis Sullivan. For one thing, JAKAB is much faster — especially in winds under 20 knots (Sadock compared it to a ride in a race car as opposed to a wagon ride), as tall ships are heavy and racing ships are designed to sail fast in light winds. Despite its slim look and speediness, the JAKAB is actually more stable than a tall ship, as it is designed for ocean racing in heavy seas and, despite the openness of the deck, passengers need not worry about getting wet (unless it rains on them — in which case, they can make use of the large, commodious cabin below-deck).
While Sadock continues to write books, it's unlikely he will retire from sailing anytime soon. "I love the serenity of sailing, and bringing people to nature," Sadock explained. Though the sailing season is coming to an end for this year, between the JAKAB in Port and the Red Witch in Kenosha, Sadock should get in plenty of sailing, as well as driving back and forth along Lake Michigan, beginning next June.
The JAKAB can comfortably accommodate 34 passengers, and is available for private and public sails out of Port Washington's harbor. For more information, see www.sailportwashington.com.