Eight Bells: Ted Jones

Published on February 16th, 2021

Ted Jones, sailor and sailing journalist, passed away on the evening of February 8, 2021. He was 90 years old, and after an amazing life, his body finally gave out after battling a lengthy illness. He and his longtime companion were living north of Seattle, WA.

Ted was born and raised in Manhasset NY. He attended the New Hampton School, St Lawrence University. After graduating, he spent several years in the Air Force flying. After the Air Force he joined Tripp & Campbell as a Yacht Broker. Soon thereafter he changed careers to sailing journalist when he joined the staff of “Popular Boating” as their sailing editor.

After a few years at Popular Boating, Ted became the associate editor of “One Design & Offshore Yachtsman” magazine, bringing Offshore to the name. For many years, his column – the Dog Watch – closed out each issue with musings about the state of racing.

After many years at OD&OY, he left to write books on Offshore Sailing and about the America’s Cup. The Offshore Racer was a how-to on racing sailboats well and safely away from land. In 1975, he wrote “Racing for the America’s Cup 1974: A View from the Candy Store”, a look at the 1974 America’s Cup races and the scene around it in Newport. In 1978, he wrote “Challenge ’77: Newport and the America’s Cup” about the 1977 America’s Cup won by Ted Turner in Courageous.

In the 90s, he first wrote for, and then bought Coastal Cruising magazine. Coastal Cruising magazine focused on cruising the bays, sounds, rivers, harbors, and lakes in the United States. The magazine featured stories on unique ports, useful products, maritime book reviews, and entertaining stories from sailors and cruisers along our coasts and waterways.

In the 70s, Ted also participated on the administrative side of sailing when he was the Director of Offshore Activities at USYRU, now US Sailing, primarily administering the then prevalent IOR rule.

Ted was a well-rounded sailor enjoying both racing and cruising. He crewed on many of the top boats in the 50s, 60s, and 70s and campaigned his own modified Shark 24 in the late 60s in MORC events around Long Island Sound compiling an enviable record while sailing mostly with his family.

He even tried his hand at yacht design when he designed and built a 30-foot half tonner. He may have gone a bit too far on one extreme, concentrating on reducing wetted surface so much that it had almost semi-circular sections and was very wet and uncomfortable to sail in any breeze over 8 knots. But at least he tried.

In his later years, he cruised his Freedom 33 up and down the East Coast, from Maine to the Bahamas. After getting too old for the rigors of manning the boat, he settled in Mount Vernon, WA, spending the last of his life there.

Above photo: Ted is with Peter Isler who may not have gotten into sailing if it weren’t for Ted Jones.

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