Class of 2019: Herbert Lawrence Stone

Published on November 5th, 2019

The U.S. National Sailing Hall of Fame selected ten people in 2019 to join the 71 previously-recognized individuals who have been enshrined since the first class in 2011.

Among this group to be inducted on November 9 is magazine editor and publisher Herbert Lawrence Stone (Charleston, S.C./New York, N.Y.). This tribute is provided by 2011 inductee Gary Jobson:

Herb Stone had a robust career at the forefront of sailing as the long-time editor of Yachting Magazine (1908-1952). In 1922 he was one of 33 charter members of the newly formed Cruising Club of America. One year later he was named commodore of the CCA.

He was an author on topics ranging from the America’s Cup to iceboating. He co-authored Millions for Defense with Alfred Loomis in 1934 and The America’s Cup Races in 1914, which was updated by Pulitzer Prize-winning author William H. Taylor in 1958.

Yachting Magazine was a must-read for all sailing and boating enthusiasts. The oversized periodical was filled with stories of interesting, boats, design innovations, new equipment, racing techniques, personalities, a vast brokerage section, and extensive coverage of important races. The most important regatta was the America’s Cup and Stone was a fixture around the waterfront when the Cup races were run out in the ocean off New York City and when the Cup was moved to Newport, R.I. in the 1930s.

The cover inscription of The America’s Cup Races sold readers on the book’s importance, “The authentic and fascinating story of the century-old struggle to win this greatest international trophy.” The book is an easy read filled with intriguing details. The final chapter on the J Class era is a sad narrative. Stone wrote, “Two factors rang the death knell of the Js – confiscatory taxes on the kind of incomes that once supported such yachts, and the skyrocketing costs in yacht building and every other requisite that goes into sailing.”

Herb Stone was recruited to be the editor of Yachting by his school mate and life long friend, Oswald Garrison Villard, just one year after it was first published. The magazine changed hands several times during Stone’s 44 year tenure. Eventually, he became the publisher, editor, and president of the company.

He wrote many articles, with some of his work published under a pen name. He left the magazine when he joined the Navy for two years during The Great War, which we now know as World War I. He served as a navigator on vessels transporting troops and cargo across the Atlantic. After the war, he acquired a few cargo schooners, but that endeavor ended when steam power replaced sailing vessels.

Stone and several members of the Cruising Club of America revived the Bermuda Race. They moved the starting line from Brooklyn, N.Y. to New London, Ct. Thanks to relentless promotion in Yachting, 22 boats raced to Bermuda in 1923. The number of entries continued to grow and by 1954 the fleet had grown to 84 yachts. The Bermuda Race continues to thrive and Herb Stone is one of the reasons why.

The 2019 class will be formally celebrated on Saturday, November 9, 2019, with an Induction Ceremony hosted at Seattle Yacht Club, Seattle, WA.

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