Eight Bells: Bjorn Johnson

Published on May 17th, 2018

Bjorn Johnson, a consummate Corinthian Yachtsman who gave generously and tirelessly of his time and knowledge to the sport of sailing, crossed the bar on May 16 in Newport, RI. He was 62 years of age.

Bjorn was a proud member of the Cruising Club of America, New York Yacht Club, Storm Trysail Club, Atlantic Highlands YC (past commodore) and the North American Station. He was past chair of the Bermuda Race Organizing Committee and also served as the leader of the BROC’s sub-committees for inspections committee, sponsorship, and race-entry management.

Bjorn Johnson was a champion racing sailor and a passionate cruiser. As a lifelong sailor his racing accomplishments are too numerous to list. Among the highlights are the almost 20 Newport Bermuda Races, winning the overall trophy on Shere Kahn in the 2001 Bermuda One-Two, and winning with Larry Huntington on Snow Lion in the 2015 Transatlantic Race. As a cruiser, Bjorn sailed with many CCA members, and in 2018, he had planned to race in the Newport Bermuda Race and follow on with a cruise to Europe.

Professionally, Bjorn served as the executive director of the Offshore Racing Association, a not-for-profit organization that, among other things, owns, promotes and maintains the Offshore Rating Rule.

Bjorn could do anything on or around a boat, and he would generously help anyone who asked. Marine electronics pros and boat builders would tell him: “You could do this for a living!”

He was not just a Norwegian from Jersey—Bjorn was a renaissance man. He was an engineer, an athlete, a husband to Kristine, a father to Kirsten and Tatiana. He was a great cook, an artist, painter, plumber, and decorator, too. He loved his family, boats, real estate, cars—more or less in that order.

We have not only lost a champion but a champion of our sport. We have lost a fine friend and an extraordinary shipmate. – W. Bradford Willauer, Commodore, Cruising Club of America

Editor’s note: A celebration of Bjorn’s life will be later in the year at a place and date to be determined.

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