Signing off as President of US Sailing

Published on October 23rd, 2015

by Tom Hubbell
TH_HPThis week I’m going off watch. Bruce Burton takes his post at the weather rail of the quarterdeck and I’m confident we are in good hands with him as the next President of US Sailing.

Bruce has a sailing, engineering, and business career that demonstrates leadership ability. He has talent in analysis, creativity, planning, people skills, and meticulous execution. He also knows the art of course corrections en route.

It is always fun being with sailors, sharing stories of our shared passion for boats, water and wind. I’ve sailed Thistle regattas with my team this fall at Atwood Yacht Club in Ohio, Pymatuning Yacht Club in Pennsylvania, and Cleveland Yachting Club on Lake Erie, followed by a moonlight sail on a Yankee.

We raced at Severn Sailing Association in Annapolis and last weekend we raced boats in snow showers at our place on Chautauqua Lake in Western New York. Earlier this month, I enjoyed talking with sailing legends at the National Sailing Hall of Fame induction weekend at Bay Head Yacht Club in New Jersey.

Though no leadership tenure is without its challenging moments, I have had a lot of fun working with about 150 sailors who represent the core of our dedicated volunteer base and the 35 very committed, hardworking, and talented staff at US Sailing. The sailing and life accomplishments of our US Sailing Board of Directors are extraordinary and I salute their engagement in our cause.

Our cause is growing sailing, educating sailors, teaching seamanship and safety, making racing fair and fun, and raising Olympic and Paralympic winning teams. No one likes three-hour phone sessions or to travel to all-day in-person meetings, but that is what it takes and I think we got a few things accomplished.

The board, staff, and key volunteers share the passion for boats, water and wind, plus one more thing, enriching the sport. The new folks coming on board are at least as strong. We are led tirelessly by the steady hand of Jack Gierhart, Executive Director of US Sailing. Our collaboration has been easy and fully-aligned. Thanks Jack! And thanks to Past President Dave Rosekrans for pulling me on board for this adventure 15 years ago.

If you are itching to do more for the sport, give me a hint and I will find an interesting position to apply your talents.

Sailing is an into-the-elements experience. The most committed, life-long participants seem to come from the ranks of those who were immersed (probably literally) in sailing by the time they were 14.

I hope your club or community sailing facility or camp or Sea Scout ship welcomes those kids with their exuberant voices, wet clothes, and boating misadventures as warmly as visiting royalty, for they are the future of our sport. Help them learn everything about sailing and a good way to live the sailing lifestyle.

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