Detroit, Mich. (September 28, 2014) – Michigan, the Great Lakes State, was a fitting location as The National Sailing Hall of Fame (NSHOF) gathered for the fourth time in the organization’s history to fulfill its mission to recognize Americans who have made outstanding contributions to the sport of sailing.
Left to right, top row: Skip Gmeiner (accepting for L. Frances Herreshoff); Miriam O'Day, Olaf Harken, Peter Harken
Sitting: Harry Anderson, Trice Kilroy, Nat Bowditch, Jean Eichenlaub
Photo: NSHOF/Marcin Chumiecki
Eight of the sport of sailing’s significant contributors, as members of the 2014 Class of Inductees, were inducted into the National Sailing Hall of Fame at ceremonies that were the culmination of a weekend of activities co-hosted by Bayview and Detroit Yacht Clubs: Yachtsman, historian and senior statesman of the sport Henry H. “Harry” Anderson, Jr. (Newport, R.I./Mystic, Conn.); mathematician and navigator Nathaniel Bowditch (Salem, Mass.); boat builder and U.S. Olympic Sailing Team boatwright Carl Eichenlaub (San Diego, Calif.); brothers Olaf Harken and Peter Harken (both Pewaukee, Wisc.), respectively, boat builder and sailing hardware designer; naval architect and prolific writer L. Francis Herreshoff (Bristol, R.I./Marblehead, Mass.); 1960 5.5 Metre Olympic Gold Medalist and boat builder George O’Day (Brookline, Mass./Dover, Mass.); and Grand Prix yachtsman John B. “Jim” Kilroy (Marina del Rey, Calif.), the recipient of the NSHOF’s first Lifetime Achievement Award.
Bayview YC kicked off the weekend by hosting a Q&A session for junior sailors with National Sailing Hall of Fame Inductees. A standing room only crowd of close to 100 junior sailors – from local clubs and community programs – peppered the Inductees with questions before having one-on-one time with them prior to getting out on the water to race.
As a result of holding the 2014 Induction in Detroit, the NSHOF will leave a local legacy with Detroit’s University Prep Academy. As the first of 10 schools around the nation slated to implement the NSHOF’s Learning Math & Science Through Sailing initiative, students at University Prep will receive academic credit and benefit from the experience of 1,500 students who participated in the pilot program in Annapolis, Md. The NSHOF initiative began four years ago and aims to feed into the national STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) curriculum which will improve the future competitiveness of students as skilled workers and qualified candidates for high-tech jobs.
Detroit YC, with a history dating to 1868, located in Belle Isle State Park, was the setting for the formal Induction of the class of 2014, which was full of laughs, as well as tears.
As Gary Jobson, NSHOF President, pointed out, the common thread uniting the eight Inductees – including a mathematician, a historian, an engineer, a naval architect and an Olympic Gold Medalist – was their service to the sport. “They made sailing better for so many people,” said Jobson.
Prior Inductees Betsy Alison, Dave Curtis, Stan Honey, Timmy Larr, Mark Reynolds, and Dr. Stuart Walker, each introduced a member of the class of 2014. Honey, a noted navigator, made the introduction for Nathaniel Bowditch (1773-1838) who developed a simple way of determining longitude, a complicated process at the time. “Bowditch was a mathematical genius,” said Honey. “Beyond being a mathematical genius, he was committed to simplifying the principles of navigation and making those principles understandable by all sailors.”
In accepting on behalf of her husband George O’Day (1923-1987), Miriam O’Day said that the couple had had many rewarding times during his sailing career. “As a boy sailing in Marblehead, he had two visions,” she said. “One was the hope to be a world class sailor; the second, he recognized he was privileged to sail and have access to the water. People didn’t have the access then that they do now. He wanted to bring the joy and pleasure of sailing to anyone who desired it. And with diligence and vision he accomplished both of these dreams.”
Mason Chrisman, in introducing Harry Anderson, Jr., referenced the biography of him that was published last year, The Strenuous Life of Harry Anderson. “It attempts to chronicle the life of this man, but neither a book nor my speech can do justice to that task. Quite simply, Harry has been yachting’s most predominant senior statesman for the past 60 years.”
And, true to form, when Anderson came to speak at the podium, his focus was on what the sport can teach others. “I believe it’s true that Nathaniel Bowditch made the statement that celestial navigation was the art of looking at where you are not to find out where you are,” said Anderson. “And the message got across yesterday in the panel with the juniors. If they aspire to something greater than themselves; they have to look at where they are not. Just being where you are is not sufficient.”
The 2014 NSHOF Induction Ceremony was dedicated to Detroit Regional Yacht Racing Association (DRYA) which was established in 1912, and whose mission is to encourage and promote boating and sailing in the USA and Canada. Coordinating the sailing calendar among 27 local clubs, DRYA organized the strong turnout of junior sailors from the clubs and community programs, many of whom were in attendance for both events.
Background: Following a two-month period this spring during which sailors from all corners of the country nominated their choice for induction, a selection committee – made up of representatives from US Sailing, the sailing media, the sailing industry, community sailing, a maritime museum, a previous inductee, and the NSHOF Board – reviewed the broad spectrum of nominations.
Inductees are American citizens, 45 years of age or older, who have made significant impact on the growth and development of the sport in the U.S. in the categories of Sailing, Technical/Design and Contributor (coach, administrator, sailing media). Nominations of non-citizens were also considered if they influenced the sport in the U.S., and posthumous nominations were also accepted. The undertaking to recognize Americans who have made outstanding contributions to the sport of sailing is central to the mission of the NSHOF which was formed in 2005 and has completed phase one of its plan to establish a permanent facility on the historic waterfront of Annapolis, Maryland.
The Lifetime Achievement Award, first presented in 2014, Inducts an American citizen, 55 years of age or older, who has had consistent involvement in sailing for a majority of his or her life and had success in the sport while also becoming successful and achieving noteworthy stature in a non-sailing career.
The invitation-only 2014 Induction Ceremony was held at the Detroit Yacht Club (Detroit, Mich.) and sponsored by Rolex Watch U.S.A. and Condé Nast.
For more on the Inductees, please visit: http://halloffamers.nshof.org
About the NSHOF: The National Sailing Hall of Fame is a not-for-profit educational institution dedicated to: preserving the history of the sport and its impact on American culture; honoring those who have made outstanding contributions to the sport of sailing; the teaching of math, science and American history; inspiring and encouraging sailing development; and providing an international landmark for sailing enthusiasts. The NSHOF has partnered with US Sailing and the U.S. Naval Academy, and is associated with yacht clubs throughout the country, in its efforts to recognize role models of outstanding achievement. For more information on the NSHOF, please visit: www.nshof.org
2014 National Sailing Hall of Fame Inductees (alphabetical):
Henry H. “Harry” Anderson, Jr. (Mystic, Conn.)
Nathaniel Bowditch (Salem, Mass.)*
Olaf Harken (Pewaukee, Wisc.)
Peter Harken (Pewaukee, Wisc.)
Carl Eichenlaub (San Diego, Calif.)*
L. Frances Herreshoff (Bristol, R.I.)*
George O’Day (Brookline, Mass./Dover, Mass.)*
2014 Lifetime Achievement Award
John B. “Jim” Kilroy(Marina del Rey, Calif.)