Class of 2021: Lynne Jewell Shore

Published on September 29th, 2021

The U.S. National Sailing Hall of Fame selected eleven sailors in 2021 to join the 90 previously-recognized individuals who have been enshrined since the first class in 2011.

Among the 11th class to be formally inducted on October 16 is Lynne Jewell Shore (1959-), one of the first women to win an Olympic gold medal in sailing, Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year, and former Executive Director of Sail Newport. She is profiled in this tribute by 2011 inductee Gary Jobson:

Lynne Jewell Shore was out on the trapeze wire with skipper Allison Jolly in the final race of the 1988 Olympic Games. The wind was blowing 30 knots and the jib halyard was suddenly loose. The sailors had three options, capsize the boat and swim out to the mast to fix the halyard, leave it alone and probably finish last, or lower the jib and try to re-tie it.

The two American sailors were in contention for a Gold Medal if they could find a way to make the fix. Jewell Shore made the decision to stop the boat, have Jolly hold the mast steady with her foot while she used a spare piece of string to tie the sail on to the halyard. The fix worked and they rejoined the race, nearly in last place, but with the sail secured they battled back.

The most dramatic decision was when they decided to set the spinnaker on the run. They risked capsizing, but with the other boats having elected to sail downwind without spinnakers, the American crew came back to finish ninth in the heat and win the Gold Medal.

It was an historic moment as for the first time in the Olympics dating back to 1896, there was a class specifically for women. After the race an exhausted, but, jubilant Jewell-Shore said, “I’m really happy, but it was a nightmare out there. It was impossible to tell if we were 10th or 20th.” Allison added, “Emotionally, it was pretty hectic.” With a lifetime of experience, the resilient sailors found a way to prevail.

Jewell Shore was one of the top single-handed sailors in the world, having won the Women’s Laser World Championship in 1980 and 1984 along with the US Singlehanded Championship in 1980 and 1983. For her outstanding accomplishments, she was named the Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year in 1980 and again in 1988. It was a major transition for her to shift from racing by herself to serving as crew on a 470.

She was a standout intercollegiate sailor at Boston University and graduated with two degrees and two minors. She was awarded the Scarlet Key Award for Academics and Sports.

Jewell Shore has served as the Executive Director of Sail Newport in Rhode Island, and was a member of the US Olympic Sailing Committee that was instrumental in introducing the Europe Dinghy and following training program for the 1992 and 1996 Olympics. Subsequently, Julia Trotman won a Bronze Medal in 1992 and Courtenay Becker-Dey won a Bronze Medal in 1996 in the Europe Dinghy.

She also worked on the Olympic Jobs Opportunity Program and had an important role in the development of the Claggett Championships for junior women’s single-handed and double-handed sailing.

Growing up, Lynne Jewell Shore was inspired by her mother who was a crew aboard Irving and Electa Johnson’s “Yankee” for a circumnavigation of the world in 1953-54. The Johnsons were inducted into the National Sailing Hall of Fame in 2016. She is quite proud of her daughter who paved the way for gender equity in Olympic sailing. At the 2020 Games in Tokyo, there were 175 male sailors and 175 female sailors.

The Class of 2021 will be formally inducted in a ceremony on October 16, 2021 in Newport, RI.

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