Class of 2014: Jim and George

Published on September 25th, 2014

The National Sailing Hall of Fame will induct eight people into the National Sailing Hall of Fame this weekend during their 2014 ceremony in Detroit, MI. Meet two of the members of this year’s induction class:

Jim Kilroy did it right for more than 40 years, starting in the 1960s with a series of 5 maxi boats all named Kialoa — “long, beautiful canoe” in Hawaiian. His rules: pay your own plane fare to the boat; no women allowed to sleep on board; keep the toilet lids down so the towels won’t fall in; make up your bunk; keep your gear and yourself clean; speak your piece, then follow orders. This skipper led by example. Jim was a savvy sailor, a good helmsman who almost always started the boat. He was involved with all facets of the Kialoas, from design and building to using the day’s latest technology (an HP-67 card-programmable calculator) to solve tactical problems and assess performance. Kilroy brought the focused concentration, hyper organization, and various systems that had proved successful in his business to his race boat: “controlled averages” (soliciting maximum input from employees), the value of stress, physical fitness plus, and faith in the subconscious mind. The result was a winning boat (a dozen passage records set, and hundreds of victories from Sydney Hobart to Cowes, the SORC, Sardinia, and Antigua) with a hard-partying, cosmopolitan crew of self-reliant, fast-talking sailors that was loyal as an outlaw gang. MORE

When it comes to sailboats, the name O’Day is iconic. The boat company started by world class racing sailor George O’Day in 1958 produced more than 30,000 of nearly 60 different models before it closed in 1989. These were mainly small, family boats like Javelin, Widgeon, and Osprey – all inexpensive, easy to trailer and sail. Chief among them was the 16’ 9” O’Day Daysailer, designed by Uffa Fox in the UK, of which 12,000 were sold. For many years, O’Day was the largest producer of sailboats in the U.S. The O’Day Corporation was launched on George O’Day’s reknown as a sailor. His record, from Harvard where he skippered a McMillan Cup win in 40-foot yawls, through half a dozen national championships in as many classes – culminating in an Olympic Gold Medal (1960, Rome, 5.5s) – is admirable. Taking a cue from Uffa Fox, the father of the planing dinghy, O’Day made sailing downwind into an art form. The company became successful under O’Day’s aggressive, charismatic leadership. MORE

COMMENT: Updates on all eight inductees can be found here. I will be attending the induction festivities, so if you plan on participating, please look me up and let’s talk sailing. – Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt

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