Honoring the building blocks of the sport

Published on November 20th, 2019

Since its launch in 2011, the National Hall of Fame has enshrined 81 heroes of the sport, with its induction ceremonies offering an opportunity to witness these outstanding individuals. The Class of 2019 was the ninth such occasion, with Buddy Friedrichs, Donald McKay, and Arthur Knapp, Jr. among the latest inductees.

Here are the acceptance speeches:

Shelby Friedrichs, son of Buddy Friedrichs (1940-1991):
My father was a fierce competitor and a true Corinthian. Over the years, there were many people who sailed with my father on Excalibur, Rum Runner, Gauntlet, and Equation. Each has a story to tell and a lesson they learned. The crew were a very important part of my father’s sailing story.

I was 18 years old when my father passed away, however, his legacy has never died. Thank you to every person who stopped to tell me and my family a story about the race to the finish, the victorious regatta, or just the everyday moment they spent with my father. This helps keep his legacy and his sailing alive for all of us.

Ernest Hemingway once wrote, “A man is never lost at sea,” and my father was never lost on the water. He had a great work-hard, play-hard philosophy regarding life. Please accept my father’s deepest gratitude for honoring his sailing career. The Olympic gold medal may have been my father’s proudest accomplishment, but as the son of a sailor, my proudest moment is accepting this on his behalf.

Dave McKay, descendant of Donald McKay (1810-1880):
It is an honor to accept this on his behalf, but of course, none of us knew him. He died nearly 140 years ago, but it remains kind of amazing to understand what he accomplished when we think about it. He created the Clipper Ships, and they were the fastest, so we’re honored that he is finally being recognized for what he brought to sailing. Thank you.

Phil Engle, grandson of Arthur Knapp, Jr., (1907-1992):
I grew up with Arthur during the summer racing out of Larchmont, New York. My life was as grandson and gopher and fly on the wall, because sometimes I think he forgot I was there. As a child, I really never understood his accomplishments.

He was just grandpa, but he seemed to know everyone, and everyone always seemed to have something to say to him. He would always talk to them, and I’d be like, “Aren’t we going?” But I figure that’s the life of the accomplished. Their family truly don’t appreciate what they’ve done.

I did want to talk about an aspect of his personality that I’ve learned and I think also led to his success. He always believed that he did something for a reason but that you could always learn and try and do better and learn more. It never stopped, even at the age of 70 when he dragged me out to the front lawn of the Larchmont Yacht Club saying, “Hey, I’ve learned a different way to pack this spinnaker, so let’s give it a shot.”

That was just the approach he had. Now, it also led to some interesting experiments off shore. Like sorting the newspapers so he could grab all the New York Times because that burnt better and had a hotter flame and better to cook a steak with. He was also known for not holding back when he had something to say, which made some interesting impressions on me as a youth, but I do know that he loved racing. He loved the competition. He kept score quietly, and was always a gracious loser.

He would truly cherish this. I really would like to thank the committee and everyone involved in acknowledging this. This would have meant the world to him, so thank you very much.

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