Honorees Recognized at US Sailing Awards

Published on February 2nd, 2018

The US Sailing Award winners for 2017 were recognized for their contributions to the sport of sailing in the United States. To celebrate the accomplishments of these individuals and organizations, US Sailing recognized them at the 2018 Sailing Leadership Forum on February 2 in St. Pete Beach, Florida.

The following US Sailing Award winners are:

Malin Burnham – Nathanael G. Herreshoff Trophy

Malin Burnham (San Diego, Calif.) was honored with the prestigious Nathanael G. Herreshoff Trophy for his extraordinary contributions to the sport of sailing.

At the age of 17, Burnham became the youngest ever to win the Star World Championship in 1945. However, that’s only part of his identity as a sailor. His true place in the sport is spelled out in the seven virtues he expounds upon to sailors in the junior sailing program at San Diego Yacht Club: Commitment, Dedication, Hard Work, Teamwork, Follow Through, Playing by the Rules, and Planning Ahead. Burnham was a major contributor to a new junior sailing center at the yacht club and these the seven virtues are not only taught here, but permanently imprinted on the building.

Burnham has been praised for his nearly three decades of enthusiastic hands-on involvement in America’s Cup Competition. In 1977, he was helmsman and skipper of Enterprise in defender trials. In 1980, he sailed frequently as helmsman of the trial-horse boat for Dennis Conner’s winning Freedom campaign. In 1983 he did the same for the Liberty campaign. In 1987 he founded and served as President/CEO of the Sail America Foundation, which funded and provided logistical support for Dennis Conner’s winning Stars & Stripes campaign. And In 1988 he chaired San Diego Yacht Club’s successful defense.

A proud civic leader with a passion for community involvement, Burnham’s philanthropic zeal is reflected in his support of numerous charities and benevolent organizations ranging from the Boy Scouts to the Burnham Institute for Cancer Research. He is a long-time member and supporter of numerous professional and civic organizations. His participation and leadership in America’s Cup competition reached its zenith in 1992 when he served as General Chairman for the overall America’s Cup Regatta in San Diego.

Burnham’s passion for sailing and love of America’s Cup competition has helped him make a unique personal contribution to the sport.

Rich Jepsen – Timothea Larr Award

Rich Jepsen (Alameda, Calif.) received the Timothea Larr Award for his outstanding contributions to the advancement of sailor education in the United States.

Perhaps no one has had a bigger impact on boating education nationally than Rich Jepsen. After serving as the chair of the commercial committee for two years he went on to serve as the chair of the training committee for 17 years and then as a member of the US Sailing Board of Directors in the late 1990’s, and again today. He also serves as a representative on the National Boating Safety Advisory Council, a group that provides direct advice to the US Coast Guard on a broad variety of safety matters.

Rich has been involved with every aspect of US Sailing’s training and educational programming, and has helped craft the standards that are in place today. He has assisted with the development of US Sailing publications and worked tirelessly to ensure that technical components are easily digestible to the first-time sailor.

Jepsen has always played a major role in the National Sailing Programs Symposium (NSPS). He is constantly pushing staff and volunteers to do more while still being the consummate cheerleader and partner. From the way that awards are presented, to the way the actual events are constructed, he knows how to challenge and support simultaneously.

Additionally, he has been involved in a significant number of search committees for US Sailing, including for multiple Training and Education Directors, and the current Youth and Adult Directors. He has mentored the staff, served as a mediator and sounding board, and helped ensure that the organization never loses sight of the most important asset that US Sailing has – the people.

Over his time with US Sailing, he has helped establish a culture of excellence within the organization and position it as a leader throughout the industry. He is a subject matter expert, and his work, both with US Sailing and on the National On-Water-Standards, has benefited both sailors and schools across the country. He has impacted thousands of sailors and through the legacy he’s built he certainly will impact many more for years to come.

Stephanie Webb – Martin A. Luray Award

Stephanie Webb (Fort Myers, Fla.) was honored with the Martin A. Luray Award, presented annually to a deserving recipient who has made an outstanding contribution to further public access sailing.

Webb has held many roles over the years, however most know her as the co-founder of the Edison Sailing Center in Fort Myers, Fla. and a tireless volunteer for US Sailing. She and her husband, Ross, started Edison in 1984 and support it today as full-time volunteers. Their endless passion for community sailing is a driving force to open the doors for everyone to experience this great sport.

She is regarded by her colleagues and students as one of the most selfless people they have ever met. Webb is constantly looking to learn and embrace new ways to increase access to sailing. In 2017, she worked hard to align with youth sailors in Fort Myers to campaign against proposed powerboat legislation that would have mandated licenses for all youth in the state of Florida. Last year she created the Doris Colgate Clinic & Cup for female Laser sailors in need of mentors in life and in sailing.

A youth sailor shared her memories about Webb and recalled, “Ms. Webb changed my life by encouraging me to sail. I couldn’t find my place, my activity, and what would bring me happiness during my high school years. Ms. Webb talked me into coming out to give sailing a try. Little did I know, sailing would quickly become my passion.”

Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club – Captain Joe Prosser Award

The Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club (Oyster Bay, N.Y.) was honored with the Captain Joe Prosser Award for their exemplary contribution toward improving the quality and safety in the training or instruction of sailors. Seawanhaka has a strong reputation for providing high quality training programs to junior sailors.

Founded in 1871, SCYC has consistently placed a premium on seamanship education, viewing it as a one of the main objectives for any member. While much of their success has come through competitive endeavors, the emphasis that they’ve placed on developing life-long sailors of all interests is what set them apart. They run a multi-level youth program that is facilitated by talented coaches and supported by dedicated group of volunteers.

In looking at the history of the Junior Sailing program, located on the Club’s website, you will find the following passage: “While some of our Juniors have triumphed in reaching the top level of competitive sailing, there are countless more who have never won a regatta, or even aspired to. These are the members who develop a love of sailing, crew on parents’ and members’ boats and later become members and officers of the Senior Club. This unsung, quiet group of junior sailors are some of our most valuable graduates. Without them, Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club would not be able to maintain its preeminent reputation in the world of sailing.”

Tom Duggan – Harman Hawkins Trophy

Tom Duggan (East Sandwich, Mass.) was awarded the Harman Hawkins Trophy for his contributions to race administration. Few race officials have a resume that rivals that of this year’s award winner. Duggan has run events at the very top of our sport, including the Olympics, Paralympics and the Volvo Ocean Race. These events have taken him to locations, including Freemantle, Rio, Qingdao, Abu Dhabi, Weymouth and Cyprus. He has conducted World, Continental and National Championship for Etchells, Sunfish, J/70s, Snipes, TP52s, M-30s, Lasers and others. He has run and umpired Junior, High School and College Championships as well.

A tireless proponent of sailor-friendly race management, he is a familiar presence at the Rolex Big Boat Series, New York Yacht Club’s Invitational Cup, The Opera House Cup, and Figawi. And in the ultimate test of a race officer’s skill – they keep asking him back.

He has also taught more than 60 race management, rules and race committee training courses. He faced the challenge of teaching inexperienced race committee members in China how to adjust a course on the fly for the 2008 Olympics. Duggan channeled his creativity by sitting the officials in chairs to represent turning marks, began moving the wind angle and challenged them to square the course. His frequent partner in crime, Peter Reggio, who was admittedly skeptical, said, “It was amazing – you could see their ‘Aha!’ moment as they suddenly understood the concept.”

What truly sets Duggan apart is his attitude toward leadership. He is famous for developing teams that perform at the absolute top level without being commanding or arrogant. He truly checks his ego at the door and leads with good grace, humor and humility. By example and instruction, he has encouraged race officials around the country to do likewise.

Carolina Yacht Club – St. Petersburg Yacht Club Trophy

Carolina Yacht Club (Wrightsville Beach, N.C.) received the St. Petersburg Yacht Club Trophy for excellence in race management for the 2017 Lightning North American Championship. Regatta Chair John Sawyer and Principal Race Officer Peter van Muyden led the regatta management team.

The Club, which also won the trophy in 2009, originally planned for 70 entries. When 90 boats signed up, CYC reconfigured the storage plan and arranged other accommodations, including a floating Tiki Bar for the entertainment of the sailors while they waited for the hoist at the end of the day’s racing.

Heavy weather from passing Hurricane Maria contributed to variable conditions ranging from very light air to heavy winds and seas. Competitors noted the skill of the race committee in managing the conditions and getting the fleet out racing. Others mentioned the efforts of the safety boat crews, who kept a close eye on the fleet and always ready to lend a hand.

One skipper said, “RC communications were outstanding and made the organization seem seamless. The last day brought challenging conditions with substantial wind and waves. Again, the RC handled everything safely and efficiently. Overall, the RC made racing in this regatta an enjoyable experience. Outstanding job all around.”

Judy Clagett McLennan – Gay S. Lynn Memorial Trophy

Judy Clagett McLennan (Portsmouth, R.I.) received the Gay S. Lynn Memorial Trophy for her outstanding contributions to sailors with disabilities and to adaptive sailing.

In 2002, a small group of people, including Clagett McLennan, and the late adaptive sailing pioneer, Robie Pierce, met to discuss how to improve the skill levels of sailors with disabilities in order to increase the talent pool of U.S. sailors vying for Paralympic competition. The next year, she co-founded with her daughter, Stephanie, the C. Thomas Clagett, Jr. Memorial Regatta in Newport, R.I., named after her father.

The mission of the regatta is to help participants reach their personal levels of achievement by providing a venue and process that includes motivational information and educational instruction, with an emphasis on coaching. Scholarships were made available to assist in travel and housing. For the last 15 years, the Clagett Regatta has offered participating sailors with disabilities the opportunity to improve their skill set. Many have become National, World, and Paralympic Champions.

In 2016, the Clagett Committee branched out from fleet racing and partnered with Oakcliff, a respected sailing center on Long Island, to introduce match racing to sailors with disabilities.

Clagett McLennan has also been instrumental in promoting general access to adaptive sailing. Last year, the Clagett Boat Grant Program was established and the first award winner was an adaptive sailing program in upstate New York. They were awarded the use of a Sonar for up to four years. Clagett McLennan has also served as secretary on the US Sailing Para Sailing Committee and Pioneer Grant Committee.

Park City Sailing Association – Robie Pierce Award

Park City Sailing Association (Heber City, Utah) received the Robie Pierce Award for outstanding adaptive programming. The Robie Pierce Award is awarded to a sailing program, selected by the Para Sailing Committee, as having made notable contributions to promote public access sailing for sailors with disabilities.

Park City Sailing, founded in 2008, started adaptive and therapeutic programs five years ago, collectively called “Out Reach”. The program, with a fleet of J22s and Rhodes 19s adapted for people with disabilities, uses sailing to empower children, adolescents and adults with physical, sensory, intellectual and mental health disabilities. The program is managed by two US Sailing Adaptive Level 1 Keelboat and Level 1 Smallboat certified instructors. Under the leadership of Ken Block, 2,000 people have participated in the last five years.

The late Robie Pierce, stricken with multiple sclerosis in 1985, was a leading advocate of disabled sailing who won several national and world disabled sailing regattas. Above all, he was dedicated to improving access to community-based sailing venues. Because Robie Pierce played a major role in helping to develop and promote disabled sailing in this country, this award was named in his memory for the first time this year.

Lynn Handy – Virginia Long Sail Training Service and Support Award

Lynn Handy (Baltimore, Md.) received the Virginia Long Sail Training Service and Support Award. This Award honors individuals who, through their efforts, unselfishly assist and enable a sailing program or sailing instruction in a supportive role but do not necessarily teach themselves.

Handy started her sailing career in 1993 as a camper, in the same program for which she is now the Executive Director. At every step of the way she’s exhibited a passion for sailing. With a master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Classroom Teaching, she has successfully combined her passion with her profession, and those around her are better for it.

At the local level, she is a role model to the youth of Baltimore, a mentor to the students in her Sailing Instructor Training program, and leader to her staff. Over her seven-year tenure she has worked tirelessly to provide high-quality sailing education to youth and adults of all socio-economic backgrounds, ethnicities and ability levels. Thorough her efforts, the Center has become one of the premier community sailing programs in the U.S.

As a member of US Sailing’s National Faculty, she has provided her expertise to the Powerboat, Reach and Instructional Design working groups. She has led expansion efforts of US Sailing’s Reach initiative, anchoring Downtown Sailing Center as the “Center of Excellence” for the Mid-Atlantic region. As part of this initiative, the Sailing Center has provided mentoring, professional learning, and curriculum resources to a “Hub” of well-renowned regional sailing programs, using STEM and sailing as an engaging out-of-school program. More recently she volunteered to serve as the US Sailing Education Department’s representative to the budget committee, serving as a vital ambassador for the department as the 2018 budget was crafted.

One of her several nominations reads, “She understands the importance of making sure sailing education is fun, consistent in approach and methodology, and open and inviting to a large constituent group. She is on the ground floor of making sailing, through education, accessible to all.”

Matt Thompson – Outstanding Program Director

Matt Thompson (Wayzata, Minn.) has received the Outstanding Program Director Award for the positive impact he has had on the Wayzata Community Sailing Center by optimizing the quality of education, providing training and development opportunities for other instructors and educators, and providing strong leadership and mentorship.

Wayzata Community Sailing Center is known for creative programming that provides access to sailing on Lake Minnetonka to those who would not otherwise have it and for establishing mutually beneficial partnerships within their community. Their success in sailing and community engagement is largely in part due to their incredible and energetic leader.

With the support of his staff and board members, he has fostered a STEM class to provide a deeper connection between students and the natural surroundings at the sailing center. This year he is working tirelessly to create a program with the local school district and City Wide STEM program.

He has had a significant impact on the organization by optimizing the quality of education in their programs, providing training and development opportunities for other instructors and educators, and empowering individuals to reach their greatest potential.

Duxbury Bay Maritime School – Outstanding Community Sailing Program

Duxbury Bay Maritime School (Duxbury, Mass.) received the Outstanding Community Sailing Program Award given annually to a program that has made notable contributions to promote public access sailing.

In 2017, Duxbury Bay Maritime School completed their 19th year of operation in 2017. They had a breakthrough season with 711 youth participants in their Junior Sailing program, hosted a USA Junior Olympic Sailing Festival with 156 participants, and supported over 400 students with aids to get out on the water through Accessail, a program for disabled sailors. Additionally, they shifted their programmatic focus from racing to adventure sailing and STEM, connecting students to their ocean environment.

This organization has gone above and beyond to make sailing more accessible to those in their community. Due to their hard work in fundraising, they were able to reduce the cost of programming for consumers by 50% this past year.

Their overall mission for the program is to connect people of all ages, abilities and means to Duxbury Bay through educational and recreational programs that stimulate individual growth and an enduring love and appreciation of the sea.

Chuck Hawley – President’s Award

Chuck Hawley (Santa Cruz, Calif.) was honored with the President’s Award for special contributions to the sport and partnership with US Sailing.

Hawley has a true passion for the sport and his involvement with US Sailing and other sailing organizations has focused on enhancing and ensuring that sailors are enjoying their experience on the water.

His involvement has been focused in three primary areas: local PHRF racing, Safety at Sea training and equipment regulation, and US Powerboating training.

Hawley has been a pillar of safety education for sailors over the past three decades. He has served admirably as the Chairman of US Sailing’s Safety at Sea Committee for the past six years and played a major role in several US Sailing safety reports regarding sailing accidents at sea. These important reports were conducted and organized to better assess these incidents to ensure they do not happen again and make the sport safer for years to come.

He has done extensive research into crew overboard recovery, life raft design, anchor testing, and storm tactics, and has moderated Safety at Sea Courses prior to the Newport-Bermuda, Transpac, and Pacific Cup Races.

He has also served on the National Boating Safety Advisory Council, which works with the U.S. Coast Guard to improve boating safety. He serves as a Member of National Advisory Council at Boat Owners Association of the United States. He served as a Board Member of the American Boat and Yacht Council Technical Board.

Hawley also served as Commodore of the Singlehanded Sailing Society in San Francisco since 1980, the Santa Cruz Yacht Club since 1992, and on the board of the Pacific Cup Yacht Club since 2000, and the Transpacific Yacht Club since 2010.

The majority of Hawley’s professional career was at West Marine Products where he worked for over 35 years. The former Vice President of Product Information worked in retail store management, marketing, merchandising, wholesale and e-Commerce.

Kevin Keogh – President’s Award

Kevin Keogh (Hilton Head, S.C.) was honored with the President’s Award for his special contributions to the sport and partnership with US Sailing. Keogh has been a long-standing supporter of the sport of sailing and a valued partner and volunteer for US Sailing.

A now retired lawyer who practiced law in New York City for 42 years, Keogh was the chairman of the US Sailing Legal Committee from 2011 to 2017. In this important role, he led a number of key sponsorship negotiations. He also played a significant role in negotiations for a rating rule development agreement.

Keogh made revisions to the Code of Conduct and Championship Regulations for US Sailing National Championships. He also made revisions to trophy deeds of gift when the U.S. Men’s and Women’s Championships combined to create the U.S. Adult Championships.

Over the years, Keogh’s extensive legal consultation and advice regarding governance and risk have been an invaluable resource for US Sailing.

His contributions to race committees at major events, including Charleston Race Week, have been well documented through the years.

In quite possibly his most significant and impactful contribution to the sport, as Commodore of the American Yacht Club, Keogh spearheaded a bylaw change that allowed women to have equal member rights with men, and continue both as members in the case of a divorce.

Coconut Grove Sailing Club and Ron Rostorfer – President’s Award

Coconut Grove Sailing Club and Ron Rostorfer (Plantation, Fla.) were honored with the President’s Award for special contributions to the sport and partnership with US Sailing.

Many individuals and clubs contribute to our sport by hosting and staffing events, but a few go above and beyond anyone’s expectations in supporting sailors and sailing. One of those is the Coconut Grove Sailing Club and their race committee and Regatta Committee Chair, Ron Rostorfer.

CGSC has over 1,000 members, but only 51 parking spaces on the small parcel it leases from the City of Miami. Even so, the Club regularly blocks off a substantial part of the parking lot for the one-design dinghy fleets it hosts at regattas throughout the winter. Over the years, the Club’s leadership and members have steadfastly backed this pro-regatta policy, primarily in recognition of the desirability of their highly sought-after venue on Biscayne Bay.

Rostorfer, who has led the race committee and regatta committee for the past 15 years, was instrumental in finding a home for the U.S. International 420 Class Association in the early 2000s when it was seeking to rebuild and needed a venue to run a major winter event.

Undaunted by a variety of obstacles, Rostorfer and the Club’s race committee put together a race management team, obtained the necessary permissions, and ran a successful event. Since then, the Club has partnered with the class to host a Thanksgiving Training Camp, the Class Nationals and North American Championship and assists with the Midwinters. They have similarly supported the 29er and 470 classes, Melges 20s and 24s, and Snipes, in addition to hosting an impressive variety of events out of the Club’s facility.

CGSC’s support has contributed significantly to the redevelopment of the US I-420 class. Larry Law, president of the class, wrote, “If there is a Guardian Angel for the sailing world, then I believe Ron and CGSC are as close to that description as can be found in our world.”

Olympic sailor David Hughes echoed that sentiment, “I can think of no one and no club more deserving to be honored for their service to one-design sailing and sailors than Ron and CGSC. From my perspective, the I-420 and 470 classes owe a debt of gratitude that cannot be repaid.”

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Additional US Sailing Award winners in community sailing and one-design were announced in January. Learn more about these outstanding contributors to our sport.

US Sailing provides recognition to individuals and organizations for excellence in a variety of areas. Learn more about US Sailing Awards and how you can get involved.

About US Sailing
The United States Sailing Association (US Sailing), the National Governing Body for sailing, provides leadership, integrity, and advancement for the sport in the United States. Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Bristol, Rhode Island, US Sailing is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. US Sailing offers training and education programs for instructors and race officials, supports a wide range of sailing organizations and communities, issues offshore rating certificates, and provides administration and oversight of competitive sailing across the country, including National Championships and the US Sailing Team. For more information, please visit www.ussailing.org.

Source: US Sailing

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