Harry Anderson: Been there, done that

Published on February 19th, 2020

Harry H. Anderson, Jr. is a national treasure. Well captured in Roger Vaughan’s biography, The Strenuous Life of Harry Anderson, and forever revered as a 2014 inductee into the National Sailing Hall of Fame, Harry has been there, done that.

Now 98 years young, he is still handy with a typewriter as we recently learned at Scuttlebutt HQ when opening the mail.

Harry is a Scuttlebutt reader, and with topics on participation having some regularity, Harry reflected on past events that spurred activity in the United States, while expressing doubt that today’s advances will have similar result.

We have reproduced his mailed letter to us below:

In the vein of how to keep our sport immune to further hypothermia herewith examples of how, over the course of two centuries, it has been gusts at rounding marks on the course that propelled its rate of growth worldwide:

• Schooner yacht America in the Round the Isle of Wight Race, bringing international yacht racing across the Atlantic Ocean and later global under the moniker, the America’s Cup, thereby fostering the growth of our sport across the United States.
• The Canada’s Cup doing likewise north of the United States.
• The Congressional Cup (Long Beach, CA) for the less well endowed, popularizing match racing globally and in the boondocks.
• The Optimist that after World War II sparked youth inter-club competition among yacht clubs in Florida, followed by the Laser in Canada and subsequently worldwide.
• The North American Yacht Racing Union national championships in which the men’s Mallory Cup event lured Buddy Melges out of the midland lakes to imbue in sailors a lust for planning sailing craft, ultimately spreading sailboarding globally.

The above at rounding marks turned a beat into a run of growth whereas too many of today’s events, e.g. foil-borne yachts for the America’s Cup and kite flying in the Olympics, have distorted competing under sail into formula speed trials.

While this might sound a bit like ‘get off my lawn’ speak, Harry has touched more parts of the sport than most of us will ever witness, plus his legend can carry late into the night. We listen intently when he speaks and are forever thankful for his contributions to the sport.

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