G. Shelby “Buddy” Friedrichs
“I’m not giving up the helm until we pass that boat up there.” And soon enough he did.
February 15, 1940 - March 20, 1991
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisana
Work Hard - Play Hard
As you turn the pages of the History of the Southern Yacht Club, by Flora K. Scheib, A Firebird Press Book, 2000, the name Buddy Friedrichs appears over and over starting as a junior sensation who won every sailboat race he entered and later winning a Gold Medal in the Olympic Games in 1968. It was no accident that Friedrichs was so good. His father got him started at the age of 10. At the age of 16, he crewed for his father in the Luders 16 Class International Championship and later skippered to victory in 1960 and 1961. At that time young Friedrichs met another young sailor named Ted Turner and raced with and against him for the rest of his life. Both superstar sailors had a “work hard - play hard” philosophy.
Buddy Friedrichs won in both one-design and offshore competition. At Tulane University he was a stand out on the intercollegiate circuit. In 1964 he won the Mallory Cup, known as the North American Men’s Sailing Championship, with his crew; Tommy Dreyfus and Roy Troendle, Jr. He continued to race his Luders 16s and won the 1964 Star North Americans. He gravitated into the Olympic Dragon Class after the 1964 Olympic Games. He was a natural in the Dragon and won an impressive string of important regattas including; the 1966 European Championship, the 1967 World Championship, 1965, 1966 and 1967 North American Championship, and the 1965 Canadian Championship. This was during a period when the Dragon was one of most hotly contested classes in the World. Friedrichs' larger goal was to reach the Olympics and earn a medal for the USA.
Buddy Friedrichs and his loyal crew of Gerald “Click” Schreck and Barton Jahncke trained with tuning partners for three years leading up to the Olympics in Acapulco, Mexico. Winning the American Selection Trials was a tall order, but the New Orleans trio advanced. The Trials had been a helpful warm-up for the biggest regatta of their lives - the Olympic Games. The format in 1968 called for a seven-race series. The USA crew finished 2-6-1-1-2-1-1. It was an extraordinary achievement.
Friedrichs raced with Ted Turner on several of Turner’s ocean racing yachts and the pair were always at the front of the fleet. Friedrichs was a Corinthian sailor and became a partner at a stock brokerage firm in New Orleans. He served on the Executive Committee of the North American Yacht Racing Union and was active on a variety of committees in his home region. He is an inductee of the Intercollegiate Sailing Hall of Fame (1991), the Tulane Athletic Hall of Fame (1985) and the New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame (1984). Tragically, he died of a heart attack in 1991 at the age of 51. Buddy Friedrichs was one of the Gulf Coast’s greatest sailors who left the world way too early, but his enduring legacy lives on.
— Gary Jobson