Sailing into History: Dick DeVos

Started in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, February 13th, 2016, outside the strong wind field, which required exceptional navigation skills, nothing else could have prepared the 32 sailors of Melges for the 2016 Gold Cup, which the Lauderdale Yacht Club hosted. On the second day, the waters were rife with racing action as three additional races were added to the scoreboard.

On those three races, we saw how Dick DeVos, leader of the Volpe, led the race with just a single point. Alessandro Rombelli, the world champion for STIG took second place because of an altercation during the fifth race where Ben Schwartz and Richard Goransson pushed him out of the lead. This led Dick DeVos to complete within the top five. What made the biggest headlines that day, however, was not who won. Instead, it was how many youth sailors took part in the activity. On every ship, there was a junior sailor, and he shared the experience and learned the thrill related to grand prix sailing. Meanwhile, they helped to compete against some of the world’s greatest sailors.

When the day’s first race took place, it started with a volatile breeze, calm sea and sunshine. Jason Carroll on the Argo, Benjamin Schwartz, the Pisces head, and Chris Wientjes for Stormvogel pulled the trigger a little too quick, and earned an OCS each. Contrasting that with Rombelli and DeVos, they had a more clean head start that went left for the best pressure. With that breeze, they came to a speedy 12 to 13 knots during the first round, where DeVos took charge. Nevertheless, a shifting breeze gave Rombelli the opportunity to race past, and on the final run, Rombelli overtook and outpaced DeVos for the win. DeVos finished in healthy second and Schwartz finished in third place.

Devos has always been an avid competitive sailor, and he has even won two national titles with multiple regatta victories that could be added to his credit. One of Dick DeVos’s regular competitions outside the competition in Fort Lauderdale is the Chicago Mackinac race. This is the world’s longest freshwater sailing race, and he has even taken home the gold trophy for this race. Along with a love of sailing, DeVos loves to fly airplanes, and he has been type rated in the EC 130 rated helicopter and Cessna Citation CJ4 pilot.

Born in Michigan on October 21, 1955, Dick DeVos is the son of the Amway co-founder Richard DeVos. From 1993 to 2002, Dick served as the CEO of the consumer goods and distribution. In 2006, Dick ran for governor of Michigan, but he lost to Jennifer Granholm. He has been listed in Forbes as the 67th richest person in the United States, boasting a net worth of around $5.1 billion. Even as a child, DeVos was deeply involved with the family business, and he says that he remembers being in the basement where all the offices and people were work. He and his brother Doug DeVos were called the mini-hosts, and they were supposed to greet the attendees at the convention for Amway.

When Dick left the firm, he wanted to start a new business called Windquest Group. This company works with marketing closet and storage organizers. Dick married Elizabeth Prince, and she is the daughter of Edgar Prince, the CEO of Prince Corporation. They have four children together who are named Elissa, Andrea, Ryan and Rick.