Improving National Sailing Hall of Fame

Published on March 26th, 2020

by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt Sailing News
The National Sailing Hall of Fame had its first induction class in 2011, with its Selection Committee tasked with enshrining the heroes of the sport. There have been nine such induction ceremonies, with 81 individuals now honored by this recognition.

Unlike other sports, in which their Hall of Fame focus on the player, the USA sailing institution recognizes achievements in competition as well those who have significantly contributed in technical areas as well as sharing the sailing experience. Inductees range from athletes to sailmakers to photographers.

However, as a member of the Selection Committee, I’ve viewed an imperfect process to advance worthy candidates. Guidelines have been loose, and for a sport over a hundred years old, the full history of sailing has not been represented.

While every current inductee belongs in the Hall of Fame, the process has not respected the timeline of the sport. For those who have stood on the shoulders of others, the Hall of Fame needs to include them too.

An overhaul of the by-laws last year took a step toward this goal, reflected by how 8 of 10 members in the 2019 Induction Class were deceased. We have some catching up to do, and this was progress.

But an equally important initiative is improving the nomination process, and that is where the public’s help is needed.

It’s easy for those of us to nominate active individuals, or recognize the greats during our parent’s era, but recalling further back is hard. Simply stated, if you are in your 60+ years, or if you know of someone of that age who was active in the sport, the Hall needs your help.

While the 81 inductees are online, all current nominees are now online too, which offers the chance to see who has made the cut for consideration, but more importantly, who among their peers is missing.

This later point is vital, as each year the Selection Committee is seriously considering immensely worthy individuals that simply had never previously been submitted. We can’t keep forgetting people… we need to bolster the nominee pool.

But time is running out.

Online nominations are accepted throughout the year, but only nominations received by midnight (Pacific Time) on March 31, 2020 will be considered for the Induction Class of 2020. Any nominations received after that will automatically be considered for the Class of 2021.

For additional information, click here.

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