“In the stands at an NFL game I’ve heard a kid ask his father, 'Where’s the yellow line?’”
April 8, 1955 —
Birthplace: Pasadena, California
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