Babe Ruth, Cal Ripken Jr., and Terry Hutchinson
Published on August 29th, 2018
by Bill Wagner, The Capital Gazette
As a kid growing up in Maryland, Terry Hutchinson couldn’t wait until weekends. Most Saturdays and Sundays were spent on the West River where his father Phil berthed a Concordia Yawl at Hartge Yacht Harbor in Galesville.
“We would go down there on the weekends and I would always beg my dad to rig up the dinghy so I could go sailing,” Hutchinson recalled. “I’d spend all day out on the water. It felt like my own little place of freedom.”
That love and passion for sailing that was instilled at a young age would become a guiding force in Hutchinson’s life. He attended Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia primarily because it boasted a strong sailing team.
Hutchinson was named College Sailor of the Year in 1989 and 1990, establishing a reputation that would lead to a career he never envisioned. He graduated from Old Dominion with an education degree, but wound up working for Ed Reynolds out of a Shore Sails loft in Traverse City, Michigan.
“My job was as much about promoting the product as selling,” Hutchinson said. “The J/24 class was wildly popular at the time and was a target market for our loft.”
So Hutchinson hit the J/24 circuit and quickly ascended to the top, reaching the pinnacle by capturing the 1998 world championship off San Francisco.
Twenty years later, Hutchinson is still competing at the highest level of the sport. Last month, the veteran professional led Quantum Racing to the TP52 World Championship out of Cascais, Portugal.
That was just the latest in a long line of significant accomplishments for Hutchinson, who ranks among the greatest sailors in the long history of the sport. The 1986 St. Mary’s High graduate has been part of five America’s Cup campaigns and has been named Rolex Yachtsman of the Year twice (2008, 2014). He has claimed a total of 15 world championships in five different classes as either a skipper or tactician.
Hutchinson’s legendary career as a professional sailor was recognized when it was recently announced he was a member of the 2018 induction class into the Maryland State Athletic Hall of Fame. The Harwood native becomes just the second sailor ever selected for the state shrine, joining Annapolis resident Gary Jobson (2016 inductee).
“When you look at all the notable people who are members of the Maryland State Athletic Hall of Fame it is really humbling. I don’t look at myself in the same manner as someone like Cal Ripken,” Hutchinson said. “To be considered on par with so many great athletes is a tremendous honor.”
Hutchinson was particularly proud to represent the sport of sailing and happy the Maryland State Athletic Hall of Fame selection committee gave it equal consideration to more mainstream pursuits such as football, basketball, baseball, golf and tennis.
Hutchinson’s professional career is far from complete and he is still chasing the one dream he’s held since boyhood. The 50-year-old is serving as skipper and CEO of American Magic, the New York Yacht Club’s challenger for the 36th America’s Cup.
Hutchinson came close to hoisting the Auld Mug in 2007 as tactician for Team New Zealand, which reached the finals of the 32nd America’s Cup. It was one of the greatest matches in America’s Cup history with Switzerland-based Alinghi Racing beating Team New Zealand 5-2.
“I don’t really want to sit back and reflect on my career right now because I haven’t achieved the greatest goal I set for myself,” Hutchinson said. “I want to become an America’s Cup champion so there is still work to be done.”
The induction ceremony will be on Nov. 8, 2018. Details.