Eight Bells: Hans Fogh
Published on March 16th, 2014
Hans Fogh passed away peacefully from Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease on March 14, 2014 in Toronto. He was 76 years of age (born March 8, 1938)
Born in Copenhagen, Hans has had one of the most exemplary competitive sailing careers ever, winning numerous Worlds, European and National titles in several classes including the Soling, Finn, Flying Dutchman, Star and Etchells.
Hans came to Canada with the encouragement and support of long-time friend, Paul Henderson, who managed to lever Hans’ former career as a gardener to become a sailmaker. Hans went on to build one of the most successful sail lofts in the world under the Elvstrom, Fogh and North banners. His involvement in the development of the original Laser sail and the subsequent Laser Radial sail are only the beginning of his many well-known accomplishments in the sport.
Hans’ competitive sailing career was influenced by his close friend and mentor, Paul Elvstrom. His career spanned seven decades from his first in the late fifties, to his last race earlier this year with his bronze medal crew John Kerr and his godson Johnnie Kerr. Hans enjoyed sharing his sailing with his family. He was able to coach his sons as they entered the sport, then shared the 1984 Olympics with his oldest son Morten and was able to compete in 2 Olympic trials with his youngest son Thomas. Hans was most joyful helping his 5 grandchildren learn to sail.
A six-time Olympian, he won his first Olympic Silver Medal (Flying Dutchman) with Ole Erik Gunnar Peterson in Rome in 1960 for his native Denmark. In 1984, 24 years later, he won a Bronze Medal (Soling) in Los Angeles, representing Canada with crew John Kerr and Steve Calder. Hans was extremely proud that he won a medal for his home and adopted countries. Hans also won a Pan Am Games Silver medal in 1987.
Throughout his career, Hans enjoyed giving back to the sport he loved: coaching, mentoring, training and developing sailors at every opportunity. This was definitively evidenced by the many lives he touched and the countless letters of remembrances from sailors and friends that have given the family so much strength.
Recognizing Hans Fogh’s contribution to the sport of sailing, he has been inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame, Canadian Amateur Sports Hall of Fame, Etobicoke Sports Hall of Fame and the National Marine Manufacturer’s Association Canada Hall of Fame, including a number of other awards he has received over the years.
A fighter to the end, Hans leaves Kirsten, his beloved wife and safe harbour for 49 years, his two sons, Morten (Debbie) and Thomas (Andrea) and his grandchildren, Sarah, Curtis, Marcus, Kaia and Lucas with whom he spent many joyful hours attending their numerous special events. Hans is also survived by his family in Denmark, brother Jens Christian, sisters Gitte (Esben) and Annegrette (Christian). Hans leaves behind a niece in Canada, Pia (Danny) daughter of his late sister Inger (John Eastwood)
Visitation will be held on Thursday March 20th, 2-4pm and 7-9pm at Turner & Porter (Peel Chapel), 2180 Hurontario Street, Mississauga ON, L5B 1M8.
From Paul Henderson:
Hans Fogh always referred to himself, in Danelish, as an “immigrant” after living in Canada for just over 45 years. If Canada ever gives Gold Medals for ‘immigrants” it will be to the Family Fogh. Sail on old Friend! Please find links below to an article from the book “Vikings in Canada”.