Eight Bells: Means Davis

Published on July 11th, 2021

On July 9, one day after his 80th birthday, Means Davis, left this life after powering through many challenges throughout his lifetime.

Means Davis was an accomplished Snipe sailor and well known in countless leadership positions in the Snipe Class, Atlanta Yacht Club, US Sailing, Rotary Club of Buckhead, Georgia State University, and the American Ankylosing Spondylitis Association.

At US Sailing he was an influential National and International Judge, Regional Race Officer and Judge, and Race Management Instructor. He served on the Board of Directors, the Review Board, the Judges Education and Training Subcommittee, the Risk Management Committee, and many others. In 2016, he was awarded with US Sailing’s prestigious Harman Hawkins Award for the major role he has played in the advancement of race administration.

Means grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and began sailing in high school after an injury knocked him off the state championship track and field team. He was a serious Snipe sailor for 25 years with his wife Peggy as crew and father of Snipe sailors Means V and Tarasa.

He was a driving force behind Snipe class growth in the southeast in in the 70s and 80s before turning his attention to race management and judging in 1989. In that time, he said, he “learned every one of the rules one at a time, the hard way.”

He loved mentoring juniors involved in Optimist Dinghy racing, and rarely missed an opportunity to judge events from local club races to world championships. He has taught numerous judges how to implement rules and how to work with race committees and, perhaps most important, mentored them in how to interact with junior sailors in the protest room.

In 1991 Means was Commodore of the Snipe Class International Racing Association and in 1996 was one of three officials responsible for race management at the Olympic Games in Savannah, Georgia.

Known not only for his integrity and knowledge, but for the network of friendships he fostered around the globe and his fully equipped “sailing barn” always open to help a boat in need or host a social get together…he will be missed.

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