2017-09-28 / Front Page

Sailing Hall of Fame Honors New Members

The National Sailing Hall of Fame inducted eight new members during ceremonies hosted by New York Yacht Club at the Harbour Court clubhouse on Sept. 24. The inductees, including three posthumous honorees, were celebrated for their impact on the sport.

Among the inductees was Tom Widden, who sailed in eight America’s Cup campaigns, winning as tactician in 1980, 1987 and 1988. Earlier this year, he celebrated 30 years with the global brand, North Sails.

“What a thrill to recognize me for doing something that I just love doing,” Widden said. “I spend a lot of my time these days trying to engage young people, and people that wouldn’t have the chance to go sailing otherwise, and I think those interests align really well with the National Sailing Hall of Fame. Their mission is inclusiveness, and what sport offers more critical life lessons in teamwork, leadership, self-reliance and responsibility? We [sailors] all believe that what we see on the water will help us with what we see on land. I think that’s really come true in my life."

Inductee Bill Bentsen, who was unable to attend, is a two-time Olympic medalist who has created an indelible legacy in the sport through his contributions as a racing rules and race administration expert. He watched the ceremonies via live stream from Lake Geneva Yacht Club in Wisconsin.

“We of the class of 2017 are a varied group of builders, competitors, designers and volunteers involved at every level of our sport," Bentsen wrote in a statement that was delivered by 2013 inductee Timmy Larr. "What we all share, I believe, is a feeling of optimism that our contributions to sailing, and this very special induction process, will inspire young sailors across the country.”

Other inductees included:

.5.5 world champion Ray Hunt, designer of sail and power yachts

.Bill Martin, past president of the U.S. Olympic Committee

.Boatbuilder Clark Mills, best-known as the designer of the Optimist dinghy used by children under age 16

.Windsurfing superstar Robby Naish, who won his first world championship at age 13

.Corny Shields, who conceived the Shields one-design and founded the I.O.D. class

.Two-time Tornado Olympic silver medalist Randy Smyth

Hunt, Mills and Shields were inducted posthumously. –Jan Harley

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