On Saturday afternoon, Oct. 10, surrounded by close family, Charles Merrill departed this world. He was 86 years old.
In the business world he was “CF” Merrill — for Charles Frank. But when he took off his coat and tie, he was the sailor most folks knew as Chas. Older friends called him Chasbox, a nickname he gained during his youth Sabot sailing days.
As a youth, Chas showed his dedication and ability winning the second, third and fourth Naples Sabot nationals. In the early years, the kids carried up to 80 pounds of lead ballast to take away their light weight advantage and no one wore life jackets.
Family members say his competitive drive was rivaled only by his deep regard for sportsmanship; he believed in hard work and fair play and was always respectful of his racing peers and the management organizing the event.
Chas graduated from Stanford University, class of 1956, with a degree in Chemical Engineering and several years later received an MBA from USC.
He spent his four-decade professional career working for UNOCAL and headed the company's agricultural fertilizer division. Chas was an active traveling businessman but seemed to be able to plan his weekends for sailboat racing at the yacht club. He enjoyed racing Naples Sabots (he also won the senior national championships), Snipes, Cal 20s, Etchells and others.
Chas Merrill served as Alamitos Bay Yacht Club Commodore in 1974. He was the second of five ABYC staff commodores from this family (brother-in-law Chuck Kober ’63, brother Paul Merrill ’76, sister Adra Kober ’82 and son Jeff Merrill ’11).
Chas was especially proud of ABYC and the club's important involvement hosting a sailing venue as part of the 1984 L.A. Olympic Games. With the proceeds of the Olympic regatta, Chas and many others helped establish the United States Sailing Center in Long Beach (he was on the board and a former president).
Chas is survived by his brother Paul (wife Lorie and family), son Jeff (wife Pam, daughter Elle and son Jonn), son Scott (sons Alex and Max), and son Brad (wife Mary, daughters Hailey and Samantha) and the extended Kober, Peterson family.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the ABYC junior program.