Eight Bells: Harry Sindle
Published on May 10th, 2020
Harry Robert Sindle passed April 24 as dawn broke on Wilson Creek off the Ware River, in Gloucester, VA. It was the day before his 67th wedding anniversary to his wife Janet. He was surrounded by his family in his last 12 hours, and passed with his wife and daughter by his side. He was 90 years old.
Harry began to sail at the age of 10, learning alongside his dad on the Jersey Shore. In the 1950s and 60s he was a nationally known sailor, winning major titles in the Lightning, Thistle, Comet, Flying Dutchman, and others. In the Flying Dutchman class he was the United States gold-medal winner in the Pan American Games (1959) and was on the 1960 US Olympic Sailing Team in Rome with Robert Wood, finishing 19th.
In 1963, wanting to move his growing family to a country setting, he left a small sailboat manufacturing company he co-owned (Siddons and Sindle) in Tom’s River, NJ to come to Gloucester, VA to work for local sailing legend and designer of the Mobjack, Roger Moorman. The company moved to the old skating rink on Rt 17 in White Marsh, was purchased by Browning Arms, and named Newport Boats.
Throughout the ups and downs and company name changes in the sailing business, Harry continued to design and manufacture small sailboats, culminating with managing Gloucester Yachts in a plant he built in Ware Neck, (Gloucester) until it was sold in 1986.
Some of the designs he is known for are the Newport models named Holiday, Blue Crab, Flipper, Skipjack, Kite, N17, and Surprise. He also designed the Lockley/Newport (later named Gloucester) 19, 20, 23, 27. Other boats that he produced included the fiberglass version of the Hampton One Design, Albacore, Lightning, and the Chrysler (later named Gloucester), Buccaneer and Mutineer. He was Virginia’s first Laser sailboat dealer.
Harry is an Alumni of Rutgers University (Mechanical Engineering), served in the US Army during the Korean War, and was one of the founding members of the Ware River Yacht Club, serving a couple of terms as Commodore.
Harry is predeceased by his parents and son Richard. He is survived by his sister Gwen Mirrielees (Tampa, FL), his wife Janet, three children, Brad, Robert (Nancy), Susan, ten grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. For the last 9 years, he was bedridden with Parkinson’s. His wishes to remain in their home on Wilson Creek were honored by his family and made possible by his wife as main caregiver.
A memorial will be held sometime after Covid 19 at the Ware River Yacht Club. The family requests any gifts in memoriam be made to the Gloucester Volunteer Rescue Squad, PO Box 1417, Gloucester, VA 23061 or the Gloucester-Mathews Humane Society, PO Box 385, Gloucester, VA 23061.