Eight Bells: David Sweeney

Published on September 21st, 2021

Dr. David Ross Sweeney, 61, passed away at his home in Atlanta, Georgia on September 16, 2021 following his recent diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.

Born in Boston, MA, the family moved to Toronto, Canada in 1966. David obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree from Queen’s University in Ontario in 1984 and went on to further his education by completing his Doctor of Optometry Degree from the New England College of Optometry in Boston in 1997.

David was introduced to sailing at nine years when the family purchased a summer cottage on Stoney Lake in Ontario and a lifelong passion began. This would lead to him representing Canada at three Olympic Games in the Multihull (Tornado) event. He took 9th place with his brother Brian at Los Angeles 1984, 10th place with Kevin Smith at Seoul 1988, and 5th with Smith at Barcelona 1992. He also won a bronze medal in the Hobie 16 class at the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg.

“David was a consummate professional in his sailing efforts; no stone was left unturned in his approach,” said Sail Canada’s National Performance Coach Ken Dool. “He was willing to share and absorb from anyone and everyone who could help him become a more complete competitor and, ultimately, become a better sailor.”

“I would characterize David as one of the great out-of-the-box thinkers in Canadian sailing. He was involved in data analytics before it was the thing that everyone did. He measured, tweaked and refined everything on his boat and in his personal skills, while his approach was scientific and left nothing to chance. He calculated and re-calculated his settings, his strategies, the odds against and for success.”

Over the past year, his time sailing on Lake Allatoona with the Atlanta Yacht Club brought him great happiness as he reconnected with the sport. He is survived by his wife Rachael, son Alexander, and daughters Catherine, Victoria, and Elizabeth. – Full report

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