By Barry Scher
Lance Hinrichs, former president of the Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating (CRAB) organization, died unexpectedly Nov. 14 after a brief illness. Hinrichs, 61, was an economist with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and active as a board member of CRAB for over 25 years. Hinrichs is survived by his wife Downey, son Michael, and daughters Lindsay and Julia.
CRAB provides equity to people with disabilities in a fully accessible, community-based sailing program at no cost by making available to recovering veterans, youth from underserved communities, and adults with disabilities opportunities to participate in sailing activities on the Chesapeake Bay. Hinrichs had a long-term disability himself as he was paralyzed from an accident in college while attending the University of Vermont. Hinrichs strived to do all he could over his lifetime to help others, especially those with disabilities, to achieve a higher quality of life by becoming involved in sailing, which was Hinrichs’s lifelong passion.
Paul “Bo” Bollinger, executive director of CRAB, fondly remembered Hinrichs’ many contributions to the organization. “Everyone at CRAB was deeply saddened to learn that one of our best and most competitive skippers had passed away. Hinrichs served on the CRAB board for many years and as president. He was instrumental in bringing many changes to CRAB that served to lay a solid foundation for its successful future.”
At CRAB, Hinrichs was “best known for his wonderful sense of humor, very competitive nature on the race course, numerous victories in the Don Backe Memorial CRAB Regatta, and a deep love for CRAB and what it mean for him and other people with disabilities.”
Ernestine “Ernie” Shineman, served as CRAB treasurer when Hinrichs was board president. “Once Hinrichs, his wife Downey and their children moved to Annapolis full time, he and I would grab coffee together on Bestgate Road. It always marveled me that he could make me, or anyone for that matter, laugh—just because,” she said. “It was a true gift. I am grateful to have known him and sorry to not have had more time with him.”
A Celebration of Life will be held on Sunday, Nov. 20, at the Atreeum@Soaring Timbers, 610 N. Bestgate Road in Annapolis from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations are made to CRAB (crabsailing.org), or the Shake A Leg Sailing program in Miami, Florida (shakealegmiami.org).