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Inventor of the Windex

Sep 21, 2009

To the editor: I read with interest in the Chartroom Chatter section of the May/June issue about the Windex wind indicator device sold by Davis Instruments. It sounds like a new product but, in fact, has been around for some time. I thought we should give credit to its inventor, Lars Bergstrom. He was quite an innovator who died in March 1997 when his experimental glider crashed.

I met Bergstrom back in the mid ’70s when he and Warren Luhrs would come to my shop where I was building the Hunter Marine plugs and molds at Marine Concepts. Bergstrom invented a lot of rigging innovations and the Windex was the simplest and best little wind direction indicator.

In 1989, Bergstrom and Luhrs broke the 150-year-old speed record for sailing from New York Harbor to San Francisco on the 60-foot Bergstrom-rigged sloop Thursday’s Child. Two months later, the record was broken again by French sailor Isabelle Autissier. Good for Davis Instruments Co. to keep the Windex on the market for so many years.

—Kiko Villalon escaped from Cuba in 1960 with five dollars in his pocket. He became involved in fiberglass and aluminum hull design and production and worked at several boatbuilders before founding Marine Concepts, a boat design and development firm, in Cape Coral, Fla. He currently lives in Pine Island, Fla., and does contract work for the Coast Guard.

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