Eight Bells: Joe Duplin

Published on August 8th, 2016

Joseph R. Duplin, Sr. passed away on August 7, 2016 at the age of 82. Joe was born on May 30, 1934 and was a U.S. Navy Veteran serving from 1956-1958. Joe owned Duplin Marine in Winthrop, MA, where he designed and built sailboats. He was champion sailboat racer in the Star Class of sailboats. In 1963, Joe “did the impossible”.

He won both the Star North American Championship and the Star World’s Championship within a single three week span, against starting line-ups totaling 129 of the world’s finest skippers. The closest previous approach to such a feat was Duarte Bello’s 1962 bid, when he won the European Championship in a field of 47 and then was runner-up in the World’s among 73. Lowell North had won a Silver Star and a Gold Star in one year, 1957, but against fleets half this size.

His victory in 1963 brought the 1964 World Star Class Racing Championship to the Cottage Park Yacht Club in Winthrop, MA where Joe went on to finish 2nd. In 1966 he won the European Star Class Racing Championship. Joe was one of the sailing coaches for the U.S. Olympic Sailing Team for both the 1972 Munich and 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. Also in 1963, Joe was named Rolex Yachtsman of the Year.

Joe was a sailing coach at both MIT University and at Tufts University, where a carpentry shop was built and dedicated in Coach Duplin’s name. Joe was hired by Tufts as head coach in 1967 and was always a major presence in college sailing. The coach at MIT for the previous six years, his leadership gave Tufts immediate credibility. Duplin’s first team featured all-Americans Dave Curtis and Charles Loutrel, who earned the honors in the first year they were presented. Joe was inducted into the Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association Hall of Fame in Newport, RI, for a Lifetime Service Award in 2007-2008.

He enjoyed many of his years sailing and cruising up and down the East Coast of the U.S. Joe was always willing to offer a “lesson” to anyone who may have asked him advice on sailing.

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