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Industry mourns famed New York sailor

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Rochester Yacht Club member and J/24 Class enthusiast Lambert Lai died Dec. 30 at the age of 66.

Lambert began his love for sailing and the sea in his native Hawaii as a young man, according to the J/Class Association.

He arrived in upstate New York after serving as an Army medic in Vietnam. After finishing school, he became a physician’s assistant and joined the Sodus Bay Yacht Club, where he became an active participant in racing J/24s.

He later joined the Rochester Yacht Club and purchased his current J/24, Dr. Feel Good, which he campaigned in District 7 and along the East Coast. He sailed in all major regattas, including two J/24 World Championships, three North Americans, several Midwinters and Charleston Race Week. He campaigned his boat in all District 7 events.

Lambert also was a friend to big-boat sailing, never missing a chance to help out others, association members Jack DePeters and David Stoller said in a statement. Lambert served on the race committees for many events, including women’s match racing, frostbiting and several other regattas.

He was president of the U.S. J/24 Class and represented the Rochester Yacht Club as organizer of the 2012 J/24 Worlds and many other regattas.

“Lambert won many sailing awards over the years, but his commitment to District 7, the J/24 Class, to sailing and to his many friends was the gift he gave to us,” DePeters and Stoller said. “A stranger to Lambert was just a friend he had never met.”

Lambert leaves behind his wife of 31 years, Lynne Lai.

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