The National Sailing Hall of Fame (NSHOF) inducted ten of the sport’s significant heroes into the National Sailing Hall of Fame during ceremonies held for the first time in the organization’s hometown, and on the site of its future facility at City Dock in the historic waterfront district of Annapolis. The previous induction ceremonies – reflecting the national scope of the organization – were held in San Diego and New Orleans.
The 2013 NSHOF Induction Ceremony, held Sunday, October 27, was dedicated to the United States Naval Academy, with whom the NSHOF has partnered in its quest to preserve America’s sailing legacy, embed sailing in education, and recognize sailing’s heroes.
“At the Naval Academy we view sailing as the best platform for leadership development,” said Commander Les Spanheimer, Director of Naval Academy Sailing. “Our midshipmen will soon be thrown into some very dynamic situations as naval aviators, surface warfare officers, submariners, Navy Seals and Marine officers. It is onboard a sailboat that they get practical experience working as a crew… and they learn a complex set of skills and subject matter expertise.” In thanking the NSHOF for dedicating the ceremony to the Academy, Spanheimer added: “Whether we’re preserving our nation’s nautical history or developing our nation’s future leaders under sail, I think our purposes intersect quite nicely.”
Six living sailing legends were celebrated for their impact on the sport:
Three-time U.S. Women’s Sailing Champion “Timmy” Larr (Oyster Bay, N.Y.) is only the second woman, to date, to be inducted into the National Sailing Hall of Fame. “To be even considered to be in this group of superstars… it’s unbelievable. Thank you,” said Larr, a two-time Yachtswoman of the Year (1961, 1965). “I stand here to accept this honor not for me, but for all the teams I’ve worked with. I couldn’t have done anything without my crews; we were always a team. I may have been recognized for the honor, but it was they who actually made it all happen.”
A naval architect, Larr’s competitive accomplishments in the 1960s put her in the forefront of the sport at a time when it was rare to see a woman at the top of the podium. More recently, her pioneering contributions in standardizing the sail training program in the U.S. was the catalyst for similar programs for judges and race committee officials.
She established the National Junior Sailing Symposium, and assisted in the formulation of the Small Boat and Keelboat Certification Systems, as well as the new Powerboat Program. She also co-authored or contributed to the textbooks and instructor manuals used in the Certification Systems. Her efforts in maintaining high quality standards for sail training have earned the programs the respect of the US Coast Guard, US Power Squadron and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators. These systems have helped thousands of people of all ages to learn to race, cruise, teach and coach – always with safety a paramount consideration. She was awarded the Nathanael G. Herreshoff Trophy – for outstanding contribution to the sport – by US Sailing in 1992.
Best known in sailing circles as a three-time Star World Champion (1961, ’70, ’85) and 1984 Star Olympic Gold Medalist, Bill Buchan (Medina, Wash.), can also lay claim to Olympic sports trivia: he was 49 years old in 1984, making him the oldest member of the entire US Olympic Team across all sports; and as he won his gold medal in the Star class, his son, Carl Buchan, was winning one in the Flying Dutchman class at the same Games.
“If it wasn’t for Seattle Yacht Club arranging for the 1948 Star North Americans, I wouldn’t be standing here today,” said Buchan whose parents had immigrated to Seattle from Scotland in the early 1920s to work in the fishing industry. When the Star caught Bill’s eye, his father, who built houses and boats in his spare time, built a Star for his son and then crewed for him. By the time they built a third boat, they had figured out how to make it fast. By 1954 Bill had become a builder of record for the Star class; the improvements he has made to the build process over the years are evident in the use of the Buchan hull shape by current-day builders. “After I won the worlds in 1961, my dad said to me – luckily one of the few pieces of advice from my dad that I did not take – he said ‘that’s as good as it’s gonna get, I think you should quit sailing now.’ Thank goodness I didn’t take that [advice].”
To continue reading about the 2013 inductees visit foredeck.nshof.org