Timothea "Timmy" Larr
“I don’t look backwards or keep records – I look ahead.”
June 1, 1940
Birthplace: Oyster Bay, New York
Making Sailing Better
Timothea Larr won three Adams Cups, and was the first woman to win the Etchells North Americans (she won it twice), but when pressed she says her favorite victory was the first time she won the Raven nationals. “The Etchells wins were probably the most important,” Larr says, “but the Raven was the most exciting.” The Raven first appeared in the 1950s, and Larr’s yacht club, Seawanhaka Corinthian in Oyster Bay, New York, had one of the first fleets of the hot, 24-foot planing centerboarders. They were a handful in a breeze. “Yes they were!” she laughs.
Accomplished women sailors are plentiful these days, but when a girl named Timmy Schneider began winning everything in sight in the 1960s, it was noteworthy; a rarity. The fact Schneider selected young, new sailors as her crew, and coached them into excellence, was a portent of things to come. She earned a degree in naval architecture from University of Michigan, then worked for the yacht design firms of MacLear and Harris, followed by McCurdy and Rhodes. But her deeper interest was tapped when she was asked to join the Junior Sailing Association of Long Island Sound. “I got involved,” she says.
That’s an understatement. Larr won the coveted Herreshoff Trophy in 1992 for her “outstanding contributions to the sport.” In 2002, US Sailing initiated a trophy in Larr’s name for “outstanding contribution to the advancement of sailor education…and selfless dedication.”
As Chairman of the Youth Coordinating Committee at (then) NAYRU in the 1970s, Larr worked to establish standards for sailing in the United States. “We liked what the Canadians had done,” Larr says, “but found we had to develop our own system for U.S. sailors who were more independent, not used to top-down directives.” She went to successful U.S. Maritime sailing coach, All-American Gary Jobson, and asked him to write an instruction manual for Long Island’s junior sailors. Jobson followed up with on-the-water courses, and suddenly standardization was being integrated. The pioneering work Timothea Larr did with instruction would inspire similar programs to be put in place for race officials and judges.
“Timothea Larr was relentless,” Jobson says. “She established a national faculty of instructors and set much needed standards for our sport. She is the champion of having made sailing better for a long time.”
- Roger Vaughan