After listing, DeVos family donates $550K racing yacht to New York academy

The Detroit News

A racing sailboat owned by Doug DeVos and listed for sale on Tuesday was instead donated last month to a prestigious sailing academy in New York, according to the recipient. 

The 86-foot 2002 McConaghy Maxi 86 named Windquest was listed for sale Tuesday morning for $550,000, and indicated it was marked down earlier this month from an asking price of $700,000. By the afternoon, the listing had been removed

2011 Bell's Beer Bayview Mackinac Race: "Wind Quest," a 2002, 86-foot, Max Z86 sailboat, owned by Doug and Dick DeVos, from Macatawa, MI, passes the Mapleglen, a 715-foot, three-inch traditional styled straight deck bulk carrier with a 26,100-ton carrying capacity. With a registered crew of 18, the "Wind Quest" is in Division 1-Cove Island IRC A.

A broker for Thoroughbred Yacht Sales of West Palm Beach, Fla., which had the listing, confirmed Tuesday morning that the yacht was for sale. Later that afternoon, he said the boat had been donated and was no longer for sale. 

In the now-removed listing, the agent said the boat is located in Holland and "owned by one of the premier sailing families in the world, she has always been maintained by a full time Captain and rarely used more than three weekends a year."

Businessman and sailing champion Doug DeVos owned the vessel and donated it to Oakcliff Sailing Center, a non-profit sailing academy that hosts the US Sailing Team Training Center, according to Nick Wasmiller, communications director for RDV Corp., which manages the multibillion-dollar fortune of the multi-generational DeVos family. 

Doug DeVos is co-chairman of Ada-based health, beauty and home care product company Amway. His boat was previously posted for sale prior to the donation being made, said Wasmiller. 

DeVos is also the brother-in-law of U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

The sun comes out as Windquest crosses the Bell's Beer finish Line in fourth place in their class during the 2010 Pure Michigan Bayview Mackinac Race.

"Doug is a lifelong sailor and interested in encouraging the next generation to get involved with the sport," Wasmiller said in an email ."Doug’s interest also has prompted his support (along with Hap Fauth and Roger Penske) of the New York Yacht Club’s entry in the 36th America’s Cup, the world’s premier sailing competition, in 2021."

Dawn Riley, executive director of Oakcliff and a pioneer in the sport of sailboat racing, said DeVos pledged the boat in the fall of last year after visiting the center and learning about its training programs.

Starting next year, the Windquest, which will now be called the OC 86, will be used as a development training boat for those who are interested in marine-related careers.

“We’ll be using it quite a few years. There’s not too many opportunities for young people to sail on a boat that amazing,” Riley said.

The Windquest already has a prestigious history. In 2015, the Windquest took first place in the annual sailboat race from Chicago’s Navy Pier to northern Michigan’s Mackinac Island. Two years later, the boat was among 97 that had to withdraw from the race due to thunderstorms, damaging winds and high waves.

One year, the race even gave fans a video tour of the vessel.