Eight Bells: Hugh Chandler

Published on October 14th, 2014

Dr. Hugh Chandler, 83, passed away quietly October 9, 2014 in Boston MA. Known among friends as the Hughser, Hughsie, or the Boss, he and his wife Betsy McCombs owned and sailed a string of boats named Scherherazade with skill and success. Hugh was a distinguished orthopedic surgeon at Mass. General Hospital and received a number of awards for his work with hip and knee replacements. He was a revered teacher and mentor. He was also a good boat driver.

Hugh survived a stroke in 1998 but suffered from right side neglect and aphasia. Betsy, wife and navigator, kept the boat and crew together and he was driving again 8 months later. He continued to drive for the next 13 years. And he won a lot of races. SAIL magazine profiled Hugh in a report titled, The Key to Keeping your Crew Together

He approached life with determination that commanded respect from everyone that knew him. He was caring with a wry sense of humor. He retained the expletive goddammit after his stroke, which he used liberally and to great effect. He loved all animals, which might explain why he chose to race 40 footers with 10 person crews. He was bedridden this season and unable to sail. The crew rigged up a seat with will knots and he was able to drive the boat one last time.

He will be greatly missed.

Donations to Courageous Sailing Center may be made in his name.

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