Eight Bells: Doug Fryer

Published on May 5th, 2020

Douglas Fryer

Douglas Martin Fryer, 86, a sailing icon of the Pacific Northwest, passed away April 17 in Anacortes, WA. He was an extremely accomplished sailor, attorney, father, grandfather, and husband.

Born in Seattle, WA, Doug received his undergraduate and law degrees from University of Washington, and it was not long before he combined his love of the ocean with his legal career. His practice included areas in Admiralty and Maritime, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Commercial Litigation and Fisheries.

Doug was renowned in the sailing community, racing his beloved African Star and later the mighty Night Runner, a 42-foot custom Perry designed cutter (above). He had extensive offshore racing experience, including: Single Handed Transpac San Francisco-Kauai (1980), Los AngelesTahiti Race navigator (1972), and Victoria-Maui Races (1968-2006).

He skippered in 10 Victoria-Maui races and was the navigator in 9 of them. Doug participated in 45 Swiftsure International Yacht Races, (long course). He won first over-all four times and placed in many others. He and his crew were the Division II Van Isle 360 winner in 2009.

Doug also cruised to Alaska, the Queen Charlottes, completed twelve circumnavigations of Vancouver Island, Hawaii to French Polynesia and return. He bareboat chartered the British Virgin Islands, Grenadines, Bahamas, Tonga, Scotland, New Zealand, Turkey, and Greece.

Doug enjoyed 49 years of membership in the Cruising Club of America Pacific Northwest Station. In 1998 he received the Blue Water Medal Award from the CCA (Cruising Club of America). It was awarded for seamanship during a 21,000-mile voyage around South America from Seattle to Seattle, by way of Cape Horn while captaining his boat the Night Runner.

During his 10-month journey he conquered hurricanes, squalls, and gear failures. Another award given to Doug by the CCA was the Transoceanic Pennant. This is awarded to a member who, while a member, crosses an ocean in command of the vessel.

Doug, along with Fred Haynes and Richard Marshall, co-invented the LifeSling in 1986. It became the standard in man overboard recovery in the boating community. As a founding director and past president of the Sailing Foundation, all proceeds from the sale of the units were donated to the Foundation. This was Doug’s gift to sailing.

Memorial Donations in Doug’s name may be made to The Sailing Foundation. A Celebration of Life Service for Doug will be held at a future date and will be announced at the Evans website.

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