Eight Bells: Skip Doyle
Published on December 5th, 2018
E.J. “Skip” Doyle, 87 years, crossed the bar for the final time in the early morning hours of December 2 in Buffalo, NY.
Skip started sailing with his father in the 1930’s on both Lakes Erie and Ontario. Through six more decades, Skip honed his skills and became one of the winningest skippers on Lake Ontario.
Early in Skip’s racing career he was in the then-Olympic Class of 6 Meters, a boat with five crew members. The best sailors in Europe and especially on the Great Lakes raced these boats. Skip was at the top of the fleet and won many of the major trophies. After the 6 Meter, he kept racing internationally at the top level in the Olympic Dragon Class and then on to a C&C 29.
In Chicago, in 1981, Skip won the de facto match racing championship of the Great Lakes called the Richardson Cup. His crew consisted of his three sons and others from the Youngstown Yacht Club and Niagara on the Lake Sailing Club. This was one of his most prominent victories and earned him the John F. Barnes Award from Canisius High School in 1981. That Award recognizes the achievements of a member of the Canisius High School community who has continued to distinguish himself in the field of athletics.
Skip continued to race his C&C 29 Rockin’ Chair with family and friends until 2011. That same year he won the C&C 29 Season Championship for the 20th time. Skip’s 60-plus years of consistent victories contributed to his induction into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame, class of 2014.
Skip is Past Commodore of the Niagara-on-the-Lake Sailing Club, Past President of the Lake Yacht Racing Association, 6 Meter Association, C&C 29 Association and South Shore Yacht Racing Association. He is an Honorary Member of the Youngstown Yacht Club and has a Trophy named in his honor: The Skip Doyle Trophy is awarded to sailors who have demonstrated excellence in sailing.
Skip is best remembered as a relentless competitor who hosted great post-race debriefs. These debriefs would include the highlights and lowlights of the day. Skip would always be accessible to competitors, helping them with his vast knowledge of the sport of sailboat racing.
Spirits were always high at the dock after a long day of racing, no matter what the result. It is agreed that in the Corinthian sport of sailboat racing, Skip Doyle was humorous, helpful, and humble and will be truly missed.