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Hall of Fame, 2012


Barrett, Peter - 2012 Hall of Fame PDF Print

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Peter Jones Barrett

Peter J. Barrett  

February 20, 1935 – December 17, 2000
Birthplace: Madison, Wisconsin

 

“In any competitive endeavor, success goes to those who most want to succeed.”

In the 1964 Olympics in Japan, Peter Barrett started the final Finn race with a gold medal virtually assured. After the start, he took the stern of a starboard tack boat. Hiking flat out, he thought he felt a little “tick” as the boats passed, indicating his shoulder might have touched the other boat’s rudder. The other skipper didn’t react. But the knowledge that he might have committed a foul was enough to make Barrett drop out (no penalty turns in those days). “That was Barrett,” says Peter Harken, of Harken, Inc., a close friend who took mechanical engineering courses from Barrett at the University of Wisconsin. “He was the greatest sailing sportsman ever.”

Despite his thick glasses, and lack of an athletic build, Barrett played quarterback in high school. He was known for his strength and determination. He was a brilliant student who earned a law degree on the side. As a Finn sailor, he was known for his willingness to share his go-fast secrets with his nearest competitors, even during the Olympic trials.

In the 1968 Olympics, Barrett crewed for Lowell North on a Star. On the way to the start of the last race, the main halyard broke. Barrett unstepped the mast, laid it in the water, swam out, pulled up the sail and tied it in place, got back in the boat, and somehow lifted the mast with the sail attached out of the water and stepped it. North and Barrett went on to win the gold medal.

When North started making sails, he recruited Barrett as his first sailor-salesman, or “Tiger.” Barrett went on to be president of North Sails.

Throughout his competitive career, Peter Barrett won national championships in 470s and Finns, as well as C- and A-Scows. He was a contributing editor to Yacht Racing Cruising (now Sailing World). He also designed a number of sailboats.

Barrett died of cancer in 2000. The University of Wisconsin’s sailing program annually awards a trophy in Barrett’s name “for excellence in sportsmanship during competition.”

 

- Roger Vaughan


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Links of Interest:

Wikipedia entry for Peter J. Barrett (sailor)

Article about Barrett written by Donald P. Sanford for the Mendota Yacht Club

US Sailing Peter J. Barrett Sportsmanship Trophy

Patent for a Mounting Device for a Boat Sail - filed by Barrett

Peter J. Barrett Sailing Alliance at Delavan Lake Sailing School

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Bavier, Bob, Jr. - 2012 Hall of Fame PDF Print

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Robert Newton Bavier Jr.

Robert Newton Bavier Jr.  

March 10, 1918 - February 21, 2001
Birthplace: New Rochelle, New York

 

“We still bring up our youngsters in tame, relatively heavy boats.” (1970)

When Gary Jobson was 19, he remembers crewing for a series of notable skippers who were racing a variety of small boats with the object of selecting a junior boat for Long Island Sound. He raced with Bus Mosbacher, Arthur Knapp, Andy Kostanecki, Cornelius Shields, Jr., and Bob Bavier. Jobson noted in his log book that Bob Bavier impressed him as the best helmsman.

Born into a sailing family – his father was first to sail a Marconi-rigged boat in an ocean race (Bermuda 1923), and was in America’s Cup contender Wheetamo’s afterguard – Bob Bavier won the Sears Cup before leading his Williams College team to Intercollegiate titles in 1939 and 1940. Along the way he skippered Williams to a MacMillan Cup win.

Bavier smartly combined sailing and business when he joined Yachting magazine’s advertising sales staff after WWII. Devreaux Barker, a novice journalist at the time, says Bavier was of immeasurable help to him. “He was a warm, personable man,” Barker recalls, “and a good writer and editor. I never wrote anything without showing it to Bob.” Bavier authored seven books on yacht racing.

Bavier rose to be Publisher of Yachting, with a monthly column of his own, “From the Cockpit.” The column was aptly titled. Bavier kept an ambitious racing schedule, including skippering the 12-meter Constellation to an America’s Cup win in 1964. He served as Vice-President of ISAF. As President of US Sailing, Bavier took the organization to a new level of international participation. He set a high standard of service to the sport.

In his influential column, his opinions were well-founded and tastefully presented. In contemplating the need for a new Cup boat in 1970, Bavier wrote: “I can’t help but wonder if a smaller, lighter boat than the current 12s might have a chance….a new approach might make for a more sprightly boat, better to accelerate after tacking, better at least in light air.” His criticism of sailing in 1970 warranted attention: “We are not in tune with the rest of the world that is zeroing in on light, sporting, two-man centerboarders often equipped with trapezes.”

 

- Roger Vaughan


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Links of Interest:

August 30, 1954 Sports Illustrated article

 

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Bemis, F. Gregg - 2012 Hall of Fame PDF Print

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F. Gregg Bemis

F. Gregg Bemis  

October 6, 1900 - February 12, 1995 
Birthplace: Boston, Massachussetts

 

“There’s a difference between rounding a mark and passing a mark.”

Gregg Bemis, Harvard Class of ’30, is one of the fathers of the modern day racing rules. In 1950, Bemis sat down with Harold Vanderbilt and Gerald Sambrooke-Sturgess and fine-tuned the rules Vanderbilt had been working on since the 1930s. Those rules went into effect in 1961, and for the first time ever the rules became identical wherever sailboats are raced.

Bemis was Chairman of the NAYRU appeals committee for many years, after which he became Chairman of the NAYRU racing rules committee. He was also a senior international judge who served at the Olympics and the America’s Cup. He was a judge long before US Sailing created a judging program. When faced with a difficult protest, Bemis would often take the devil’s advocate position to help sharpen the focus of the other judges. “He was a keen thinker”, says Cdr. Harry Anderson, who served on the Appeals Committee with Bemis for many years, “He was also a good sailor.”

A three-time 210 national champion, Bemis brought many years of racing experience to the table when rules were being discussed and applied.

“Gregg Bemis was a judge at a regatta at MIT when I was at Yale,” says Dave Perry, current Chair of US Sailing’s Appeals Committee. “I screwed up my courage, introduced myself, and asked him a rules question. Forty-five minutes later he was still chatting with me and 10 other sailors who had gathered. His kindness and approachability made a deep impression.”

Every four years after the Olympics, Bemis played a major role in updating the  changes in the rules necessitated by innovative tactics. He authored Learning the Racing Rules, an oft-reprinted book that was required reading for sailors in the 1950s and 60s. Another of his books, Yacht Race Scoring, was the authority in its field.

At Bemis’ funeral service several of his grandchildren gave eulogies. One granddaughter recalled a visit with the Bemises. Appearing for breakfast one morning, she found her grandfather pacing back and forth reading a copy of the racing rules. She said he turned to her and said, “You must remember, there’s a difference between rounding a mark and passing a mark.”

 

- Roger Vaughan


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Links of Interest:

F. Gregg Bemis Trophy Winners - US Junior Doublehanded Championship

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Honey, Stanley - 2012 Hall of Fame PDF Print

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Stanley Kohnen Honey

Stanley K. Honey  

April 8, 1955 - 
Birthplace: Pasadena, California

 

“In the stands at an NFL game I’ve heard a kid ask his father, Where’s the yellow line?’”

Stan Honey is indelibly associated with the yellow first down line one sees on televised NFL games. But there’s so much more. Honey’s greatest achievement has been his ability to merge his electrical engineering genius that includes innovative breakthroughs in moving-map vehicle navigation, remote sensoring, and tracking and highlighting systems for sports, with his love of sailing.

Honey’s sailing record is almost as impressive as his electronics breakthroughs that include the red and blue tails he attached to streaking hockey pucks, the tracking of NASCAR and IRL cars, and the strike zone showing pitch location in televised baseball games. He was a top sailor at Yale in the Class of ’78. As navigator, he’s won 11 of 22 Transpac races. He’s held single- and double-handed as well as fully crewed Transpac records; won the Volvo Ocean Race (ABN AMRO ONE, 2005-06); and broken the Jules Verne Circumnavigation record (Groupama 3, 2010) -- highlighting a score of other notable victories. In 2010, he was voted Rolex Yachtsman of the Year.

Most recently, Honey has come up with the impressive set of on-screen television graphics that has illuminated the complexities of the fleet and match racing by 45-foot catamarans competing in the 34th America’s Cup World Series. For years, race promoters have tried and failed to make sailboat racing a spectator-friendly sport. With his creative use of a heady array of electronic tools, Stan Honey is on the verge of success. The key element in his display is a visual presentation of the boundaries that keep the fleet centered which adds an important tactical element.

Honey says his work in technology has a lot in common with a successful ocean racing team. “You have to trust one another to take on different bits, and trust everyone to ask for help when they need it. You’re not cold and wet all the time, but in terms of team dynamics, it’s all the same.”

Honey’s advice to Transpac sailors: “Pick your strategy and stick to it. Then whatever happens, make up your story for the Kaneohe Bar and stick to it.”

 

- Roger Vaughan


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Links of Interest:

Interview with Stan Honey for YachtPals.com

Stan Honey - What is the America's Cup? - YouTube video

The Race to Modernize Sailing - Article in June 29, 2012 Wall Street Journal

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Kirby, Bruce - 2012 Hall of Fame PDF Print

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Bruce Robert William Kirby

Bruce Robert Williams Kirby, Jr.  

January 2, 1929 - 
Birthplace: Ottawa, Ontario
U.S Citizen: May 31, 1999

 

“Once I’m in my Sonar, the aches and pains go away.”

Bruce Kirby was a newspaper man in Ottawa and Montreal before he became a yacht designer. A competitive sailor in International 14 dinghies from age 15, his focus was on making the boats faster. After being beaten in a regatta at Cowes in heavy wind, he drew the Kirby Mark I on a piece of shelf paper. It was fast upwind in a breeze.  He sold 30 of the Mark I.

Untrained, Kirby began designing by observing. “I had a copy of Skene’s Elements of Yacht Design. If you can understand 50% of what’s in that book, you can design a boat. Design isn’t brain surgery. We should always pretend that it is, but it’s really not.” Having made that modest disclaimer, Kirby grants that designing a vessel that is compatible with two disparate elements – air and water – is, in fact, a challenge. There were seven versions of the Kirby International 14 built: 739 boats total. “It was done seat of the pants,” Kirby says. “No testing. It was all empirical. Each new boat was a take-off on the old one.”

In 1964, Kirby moved to Finns and made the Canadian Olympic team.

He didn’t quit his day job. By the mid-1960s, Kirby had become editor of One Design Yachtsman (now Sailing World). He jumped into a Star boat in 1968, and again represented Canada in the Olympics. In 1971, a car-top dinghy he had designed at a friend’s request was launched, and Kirby’s fame was assured. The boat was called the Laser. More than 250,000 of this demanding Olympic class dinghy have been built.

In the summer of 2011, at age 82, Kirby sailed in the Sonar European Championships held in Scotland. He won two races. He continues to sail the 24-foot Sonar, personal favorite of his 63 designs, out of the Noroton Yacht Club in Darien, Connecticut. He gives away 20 years to the next oldest skipper, but still manages to record frequent top three finishes. “I do my best work in 15 knots and above,” he says. “Once I’m in my Sonar, the aches and pains go away.”

 

- Roger Vaughan


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Links of Interest:

Wikipedia entry for Bruce Kirby

Master list of Bruce Kirby boat designs - from Bruce Kirby Marine

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Kostecki, John - 2012 Hall of Fame PDF Print

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John Paul Kostecki

John Paul Kostecki  

June 7, 1964 - 
Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

 

“I was more scared on BMWOracle’s big trimaran than I was at any time during the Volvo Ocean Race. It wasn’t just a little scary. It was scary.”

Several tennis players have won four major tournaments over a two-year period to register a “grand slam.” In baseball, grand slam home runs are belted at the rate of several a month. But only one person has ever achieved sailing’s grand slam by winning an Olympic medal, the Volvo Ocean Race, and the America’s Cup. That person is John Kostecki.

Kostecki started sailing at age eight at the Richmond (CA) Yacht Club. At age 17, he won the Sears Cup, a national championship for sailors 13 to 18. At 18, he won the Sunfish World Championship. He entered because the regatta was being held in California. He and some friends found a very windy practice area and worked until they were proficient in boats they hadn’t previously sailed (three of them finished in the top five). A student of his sport, Kostecki began accumulating world championships in ever larger boats -- 11 in all. Kostecki won his Olympic silver medal in Korea, 1988, in Solings.

In 2001-2002, in his second Volvo Race, Kostecki skippered illbruch to a convincing win after surviving a bad night 50 miles off Cape Town, South Africa, with a leak that threatened to sink his boat. For the 2010 America’s Cup, his fifth as tactician, Kostecki joined the BMW Oracle team on their 110-foot trimaran. Having raced a 40-foot catamaran in the 1990s in preparation for the short-lived Pro-Sail series, the multihull learning curve wasn’t too steep. “It was very similar to Volvo sailing,” he says, “very fast, requiring faster decisions, and you are constantly wet.” A smart tactical call by Kostecki in Race Two of the 2010 match helped BMW Oracle nail the victory.

As he prepares for the defense of the 2013 America’s Cup in multihulls, Kostecki has again been constantly wet. He and skipper James Spithill won the 2011-2012 America’s Cup World Series raced in 45-foot catamarans. 

 

- Roger Vaughan


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Links of Interest:

Wikipedia entry for John Paul Kostecki

 

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Reynolds, Mark - 2012 Hall of Fame PDF Print

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Mark Jeffery Reynolds

Mark Jeffery Reynolds  

November 2, 1955 - 
Birthplace: San Diego, California

 

“Fifty three years later, it’s still special — I just really enjoy sailing the Star Boat.”

As a young Star sailor, Mark Reynolds says he would always have a song in his mind on the race course. One of his favorite lyrics was from Bob Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues: “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.” That could have been Reynolds mantra.

He was fated to sail Stars. His father, Jim Reynolds, won the Star World Championship crewing for Dennis Conner in 1971. But Mark Reynolds went further, becoming a skipper and winning 10 Continental Star Championships, seven Bacardi Cups, two Star North American and two Star World Championships, three Kiel Weeks, and three Olympic medals – two gold, one silver – in seven campaigns.

Reynolds has ventured away from Stars a few times. He won Kiel Week in a Flying Dutchman in 1979. In 2002, he was Farr 40 World Champion. That same year he raced the 875-mile Miami/Baltimore leg of the Volvo Race. “I got more sailing in on that leg than I normally do in a year,” he said afterwards. But his Star was always on the trailer, prepped and ready.

“Mark has always started well, been one of the quickest upwind, and he’s mentally tough as rocks,” said Steve Ericson, who crewed for Reynolds in the 2004 Olympic Class Regatta that they won. That year, Reynolds changed an old habit. He and Ericson ate lunch going upwind so he and Ericson wouldn’t miss precious downwind training. It paid off.

A sailmaker and life long resident of San Diego, Reynolds’ sails have won 13 of the last 15 Olympic medals in the Star class. “In this business, I have to be real open with everybody,” Reynolds says, “but that seems to work out. I learn from them as well, so it helps my sailing.”

At 57, Reynolds still has the touch. His latest win was in the Master category of the Zagarino Star Masters in 2012.

 

- Roger Vaughan


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Links of Interest:

Wikipedia entry for Mark Reynolds

June 28, 2004 Interview in Sailing World Magazine

Sailing Anarchy Interview with Mark Reynolds

Scuttlebutt Interview with Mark Reynolds talking about the 2016 Olympics

America3 website sailing resume for Mark Reynolds

Sports-Reference.com entry for Mark Reynolds

 

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Stephens, Roderick "Rod", Jr. - 2012 Hall of Fame PDF Print

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Roderick "Rod" Stephens, Jr.

rodstephensjr  

August 7, 1909– January 10, 1995
Birthplace: Bronx, New York

 

“Don’t forget your storm sails are for storms. When it’s blowing 60, small is beautiful.”

Twenty-five years ago, a photographer who was spending the day with Rod Stephens stopped for gas. When he returned from paying the bill, Stephens had cleaned out the car of film boxes and assorted trash. Three times a day Stephens jogged up and down the 15 flights of stairs leading to the Sparkman & Stephens design office on Madison Avenue in Manhattan, and knew how many seconds it took to walk to Grand Central Station. A master of details, he had a commissioning document he shared with owners that listed every item in every drawer and cubby of Mustang, his New York 32. When customers asked for advice about naming their boats, Stephens told them to imagine they were yelling the name across a quiet, crowded harbor at midnight in hopes of raising someone to come get them.

Rod Stephens was a consummate seaman. His brother Olin designed the boats. Rod, rigger and engineer, oversaw their construction and fitting out, made sure they performed, and schooled their new owners before turning them over. It was a natural, agreeable division of labor for the Stephens brothers that began in childhood, and launched their careers with the Dorade collaboration in 1931. Dorade won the transatlantic race that year by two days. Rod became Harold Vanderbilt’s right hand man on his 12-meter, Vim, and on his America’s Cup winning Ranger in 1937. Stevens also crewed on Cup winning 12-meters Columbia and Constellation. On a boat, Rod was everywhere solving problems. In a crisis, he was always the first man up the rig.

During World War II, Stephens helped develop the DUKW, an amphibious truck, for the US Army. For this he was awarded the Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award presented by the White House.

At regattas, Harold Vanderbilt permitted shore leave only for tennis, not for dances or night life. Stephens, an enthusiastic dancer, would pile his evening clothes on his head and swim ashore for the festivities.

Before he died in 1995, Rod had completed 100 pages of a book. Roderick Stephens – His Book, Rod on Sailing, Lessons from the Sea, covers everything from anchors to swing tables to rigging. For an aspiring seaman, it’s as close to a Bible as sailing has to offer.

 

- Roger Vaughan


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Links of Interest:

Rod's book: Roderick Stephens – His Book, Rod on Sailing, Lessons from the Sea

Wikipedia entry for Rod Stephens, Jr.

New York Times Obituary for Rod Stephens, Jr.

Cruising World article tribute

Archives & Collections Society entry for Roderick Stephens, Jr.

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Stevens, John Cox - 2012 Hall of Fame PDF Print

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John Cox Stevens

John Cox Stevens  

September 24, 1785 – June 13, 1857
Birthplace: New York, New York

 

Although it would be most agreeable to me that this race should be for a cup of limited value...I am willing to stake upon the issue any sum not to exceed 10,000 guineas.

Anyone who thinks those estimable yachtsmen who wrote the Deed of Gift for the America’s Cup are rolling over in their graves because of the advent of multihull competition should reconsider. John Cox Stevens, a prime mover behind the America Syndicate in 1851, founder and first commodore of the New York Yacht Club, commissioned a catamaran in 1820. He named his boat, Double Trouble. If John Cox Stevens were with us, he might be taking issue with San Francisco Bay failing to provide “an ocean course, free from headlands” as required by the Deed, but he would surely be fascinated by the vessels of choice for 2013, smiling at how technology has enabled a concept he embraced 193 years ago.

John Cox Stevens was known as a gambler. His most outrageous gamble might have been conjuring the scheme to send the radical schooner America to England to show off American shipbuilding and design prowess, and to challenge Great Britain at its own game. Remember, that was just 37 years after the British had burned The White House during the War of 1812. Fellow America Syndicate member, George Schuyler, was said to comment that Stevens had posted a wager about the race in the Royal Yacht Squadron “with his usual promptness, and regardless of the pockets of his associates.”

One can deduce that Stevens’ gambles were well-considered. His well established colonial family was stable, comfortable; talented and accomplished. His grandfather had been a Member of Parliament. His father was shipbuilder, businessman, and inventor of steam engines. His brother founded the Stevens Institute of Technology. John Cox Stevens ran the first steam ferry company in the world on the Hudson River, and founded a railroad company in 1811. He conceived the idea of a syndicate to raise money for the America project.

The (original) America’s Cup Deed of Gift that Stevens surely had a hand in writing, is remarkable for its brevity, and its latitude. It calls simply for a competition in yachts, or vessels, between 44 and 90 feet LWL propelled by sails. John Cox Stevens was not only instrumental in giving us The America’s Cup, he helped assure its vitality.

 

- Roger Vaughan


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