About Custom Concepts, Inc.
Racing DN Iceboats & Components
“The Faster I Can Help Make Other Iceboaters Go, The Faster I’m Going To Be”Ron Sherry
After fifteen years of sail making experience and 3 years of employment building composite masts for America’s Cup boats, Ron Sherry started Composite Concepts, Inc. in 1995 with the goal to develop the most durable and fastest components for ice boats and sail boats.
With assistance during the early years from Michigan ice boater, Jack Jacobs, Composite Concepts has now grown to become a top supplier of composite masts, ice boat runners, custom hulls and planks, components, and hardware to a world wide market, including North America, all of Europe, Asia, Russia, and China.
As a eight-time ice boat world champion title holder, Ron Sherry’s philosophy is to freely and willingly share his knowledge gained through innovation and investigation of new technologies with all sailors because, “the faster I can help to make other ice boaters, the faster I’m going to be”.
Composite Concepts masts and runners are designed using finite analysis to perfect the concept of components that will last and are fast.
As the years have progressed and mast technology has improved, Composite Concepts has adapted to innovation with masts that have won the last seventeen North American DN ice boating championships and eight DN World ice boating championships. In 1996, skippers with Composite Concepts built masts showed up for the first time at the DN North American Championship and won all ten of the top ten spots. Since 1996 Composite Concepts masts have won 20 of the 21 North American Championships, sailed with 7 different skippers winning the title. Located in Clinton Township, Michigan, Composite Concepts offers reasonably priced components for world’s best ice boat sailors, whether they race or cruse all over the world.
Ron started his sailing career racing Thistles and ice boats at the age of nine. He won his first major DN race at the age of 12 in 1975 at the Northwestern Ice Yachting Association Regatta on Lake Geneva passing Jane Pegel at the last weather mark. He competed as junior with the Detroit Regional Yacht-Racing Association (DRYA) out of Crescent Sail Yacht Club (CSYC) in the 1970s where he was 2 time DRYA Junior Sailor of the year. As a kid Ron built ice boats in the same garage with his father as he does today. Before Ron started Composite Concepts, he built iceboat components in the Slam Tech Shop with Paul Goodwin and Chip Cartwright.
A short list of his sailing accomplishments include 34 Port Huron to Mackinac races; 31 Chicago to Mackinac races with several class and overall victories including 3rd in the 2018 Port Huron to Mackinac Race, and 1st over all in the grueling 2018 Chicago to Mackinac Race.; helmsman on board Bill Alcott’s Equation for the last 21 years; Southern Ocean Racing Conference (SORC) overall winner in 1987 as helmsman and main sail trimmer on Sprint; competed in the 1984 Olympic trials in the Tornado class with his father, Lorne Sherry; National and Midwinter’s champion in the Thistle class, S2-7.9 class, Beneteau 36.7 class, Cal-25 class, 3rd in the Etchells North Americans.
Ron was a sail maker for 15 years and built America’s Cup masts, booms, and spinnaker poles at Offshore Spars where he worked as production manager of the composites department for 3 years.
In 1995 Ron started Composite Concepts where he continues to successfully build ice boats and other custom composite fabrications. Ron is the 2018 European and North American Champion in the DN ice boat class, has won 5 World Championships, 3 European Championships, and 13 North American Championships. Ron won the World Championship at the ISA in 1997 in the Renegade ice boat class. Composite Concepts has manufactured over 1,000 masts and planks, and over 3,500 runners of all different types. Ron’s philosophy is to share his knowledge and technology with all sailors, “because the faster other sailors are, the faster I will be. Fast is FUN.”
Ron’s three children, Caroline, Trevor, and Griffin, have all had very successful junior sailing careers on hard and soft water. Ron’s son Griffin has been ranked as high as 5th in the world in the DN class. Ron believes in making sure their equipment is perfectly tuned, rigged, safe, and ready to race. Then he lets his kids and their coaches do their jobs.
DN Ice Boat
The DN is the largest iceboat class in the world. DN is the name of the boat because in 1937 the Detroit News sponsored a design contest to come up with a design for an affordable, home buildable iceboat to provide winter entertainment during the depression. Carrying 60 square feet of sail, it offers spirited performance and a lot of very competitive sailing on local, regional, national and world level. Ice yachters of all ages find the DNs demands in competition a satisfying challenge. With the new flexible composite components older sailors are able to compete with the young guys even into their 70s and 80s. In addition, the DN is the only current design which offers truly international racing, with active fleets throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and Russia.
Learn more at the DN Ice Yachting Association website.