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This Article Last Updated: Aug 2nd, 2016 - 19:15:17
John M. MacCausland, known to most of the Star community as Big Mac, passed away on Saturday, July 23, 2016. Big Mac was more than just a Star sailor. It has been said that, "Big Mac was the Star Class." He was passionate about it and his life work revolved around Stars. He was a driving force in the class for over 50 years and was the current Rear Commodore..
John's passion for sailing was ignited during his childhood summers at the Jersey shore where he raced small, one-design boats. He began sailing Star boats in the 1960s, achieving great success in District 2 regattas and International events. He finished third in the 1984 North Americans and won a daily race award at the 1973 World's. He served as North American Class Vice President during the 1980's and 1990's. During this time, he organized many continental championships, and set a new standard for excellence for Silver Star events. He was instrumental in updating many Star class rules to modern standards.
In addition to racing Stars and working behind the scenes at the Class, he ran a family-owned Star boat supply business. In the 1980s and 1990s, Big Mac's van was a staple at Star events providing parts and service. But it was not the parts he provided that made his business special, it was the time he invested with each sailor. Whether you needed just one cleat or a whole new rigged mast, he was there to help and offer advice because he loved the Star. Many Star sailors enjoyed seeking Big Mac's counsel and advice.
In 2006, the Star Class awarded John the Harry Nye Trophy for his years of outstanding service to the Star Class. He was passionate about improving the Star Class for all sailors – from the weekend lake sailor to the World Champion. He truly loved the sport.
In his racing days, John was a competitor and a gentleman on the water. In his administrative capacity with the class, he was attentive to details and always fair. In his business, he was a professional that went the extra mile. To his friends and family, he was loving and fiercely loyal and always ready with a good practical joke. Many will miss Big Mac, but know he is glad to be back with the only thing he loved more than Stars, his wife, Ruth.
Funeral services from 3 to 5 Sunday, July 31. Schetter Funeral Home , 304 Marlton Pike W, Cherry Hill, NJ. 08002. A repast at the Cooper River Yacht Club to follow.
From Rick Burgess:
I have to pass on a story about my first meeting with my friend, John MacCausland.
In 1968 I was sailing in a regatta in Seaside Park, NJ. In those days we always sailed triangle courses. Being a young, full of himself, person I thought I had an overlap at the reach mark and said so to John. At the time, I did not know him but was aware of who he was. Anyway, I asked for the room I thought I was entitled to but John just turned around and growled at me. Needless to say, I did not pursue it any longer. After the race John came up to me in the parking lot and introduced himself to me. We chatted a while and from that time on a friendship developed that only grew stronger as the years went by. He will be very much missed by Jan and myself.
From Xavier Rohart:
I’m so sad to hear that… Will miss him a lot…
I will remember so much upwind crossing and downwind fight always with this typical big smile and fighting spirit…
Repose en paix
From Mark Reynolds:
So sorry to hear this. John was a guy that probably helped me more with my business than anyone else, in fact not probably, he did help me more than anyone. When I first started I received business and Star class wisdom from John which continued over the years, advice that I still benefit from today. It was always a joy to do business with John. I was so glad to be able to see him for the last time a few years back at the Tomahawk. We will miss him.
From Larry Whipple:
One Bacardi cup my wallet was stolen from my trailer box. This was probably 30 years ago. So Big Mac found about this about this and came up to me and said how much much money was in your wallet? I said, not sure, maybe two hundred. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a large roll of cash and started counting off 100 dollar bills. When he got to 20 of them, he said will that last you for the regatta? After the regatta when I got home I sent him a check for two grand. He called me and said I think you paid me too much. He knew I did not, but that was his way of saying thanks for sending me back the money. We should all rejoice in his life and not be so sad in his passing. He is for sure in a better place. A better place for sure! Whip
From Bill Allen:
I first met Big Mac at the 1984 NAs in Westport. We had a very competitive battle then and many times over the next 15 years. Along the way, I figured out that I didn't need to bring parts, or even tools, to major events because Big Mac was always there with whatever I needed and a smile. He and son John helped me many a night get ready for the next day. I'd ask if I could help rig a new mast and the response was yes, stay out of the way! But I appreciate Big Mac most for his mentoring as I got into class administration. Our weekly phone calls were invaluable. No one has ever done more to help and promote the Star Class in North America.
I will always remember Big Mac as a fierce competitor, a helpful parts supplier, an excellent class officer and mentor, and most of all, a friend.
Fair sailing Big Mac.
From Bill Buchan:
I am so sorry to hear of John's passing, he was such a good friend as well as such a help during my years building Stars. Sadly, we hadn't communicated with each other lately but he was on my mind constantly, just a few days ago I was thinking that I should give him a call. It goes without saying that John was a very accomplished sailor as well, I remember many races where we were battling it out for whatever place we had our eye on at the time.
From Peter Dirk Siemsen:
With great regret I heard that my long-time friend John has passed away. Please transmit my sympathy to his family.
John was one of the mainstay of the Star Class for many years and one of the biggest consumers of Coke I have ever met.
We shall miss him.
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