Capt. Ben Celebrates 25 Years at the Helm of Fairwind Sail Charters!

Capt. Ben Sells is celebrating his 25th year as owner/operator of Fairwind Sail Charters, Chicago’s oldest sailing yacht lease share program and American Sailing Association-certified sailing school. Capt. Ben took over Fairwind Sail Charters in 1998 when its founder, Capt. Denise McNamara retired. When she founded Fairwind Sail Charters in 1978, it was the first company to apply the concept of shared usage to sailing yachts. “Denise was a force of nature,” says Capt. Ben. “She taught me to sail in the mid-1980s and I think from the beginning she saw me as a kind of protege. I especially liked her efforts to get more women involved in sailing, a practice that I have tried to continue.” Since 1998, Fairwind has occupied a unique place in Chicago’s sailing community. “I was determined to have a sailing business that operated according to principles of seamanship instead of maximizing profit,” says Capt. Ben. “For example, we are the only company that I know of that provides the opportunity to make up sails missed because of bad weather. I never want a sailor to feel a financial incentive to sail in poor conditions. Safety is Fairwind’s number one priority.” After 25 years, neither Capt. Ben nor Fairwind Sail Charters show any signs of slowing down. “I love sharing sailing with other people,” says Capt. Ben, “and I look forward to continuing the Fairwind tradition for years to come.”