Two decades of excellence in education

Published on September 12th, 2023

The offshore sailing program has been an integral feature at the US Naval Academy (Annapolis, MD) to develop Naval officers and leaders. For the past 19 seasons, the program has been guided by head coach Jahn Tihansky who has announced his retirement, effective at the end of the fall season.

“After 18-plus years and countless hours and miles on the water training midshipmen, the time has come for me to step down,” said Tihansky. “Plenty of challenges lie ahead for the program, and having a resourceful and energetic new leader in place will ensure the program continues its legacy of developing and producing the best leaders possible.

“It has been both an honor and a privilege to have worked with so many fine young men and women over the years and to see them go on to become accomplished leaders in the Navy and Marine Corps. The experiences I enjoyed working together with my midshipmen team members, as well as the Navy sailing staff, over these years have been rewarding beyond what I ever could have imagined.”

Over his tenure with the Midshipmen, Tihansky has led Navy to four Kennedy Cups and 11 McMillan Cups. As the 2012 USNA Foundation Fall Coach of the Year, Tihansky also saw his sailors claim victories in 13 major ocean races under his watch.

“A few words cannot adequately express our gratitude for a leader who has established a legacy forever enshrined in the annals of our distinguished sailing history,” said Director of Athletics Chet Gladchuk. “Coach Tihansky has influenced the character development of hundreds of midshipmen by educating them in a manner that always prioritized personal confidence, determination to learn, safety first, and team unity.

“Midshipmen often referred to ‘JT’ as the finest offshore sailing coach in the nation, as well as a gentleman, an accomplished educator, and a true professional in his sport. Jahn may now contently sail toward the horizon with well-deserved personal satisfaction knowing he has delivered two decades of excellence in education and a long list of competitive accomplishments to our sailing community.”

The Naval Academy Athletic Association will initiate a national search immediately for a new head coach with an expectation that the successful candidate will assume leadership of the program prior to the spring season.

Taking over the program in 2005, Tihansky quickly found success by claiming the Kennedy Cup, intercollegiate sailing’s Big Boat National Championship, in just his second and third seasons at Navy (2006, 2007) before picking up two more Kennedy Cups in 2011 and 2012.

He also helped the Mids win the Intercollegiate Big Boat East Coast Championship in each of his first three seasons (2005, 2006, 2007) and claim four-straight McMillan Cup titles from 2014-17.

Holding a 50-ton Master Coast Guard license and U.S. Sailing instructor trainer certification, Tihansky arrived at the Naval Academy after 12 years as the manager and owner of the J World Sailing School franchise in Annapolis.

While running J World, Tihansky developed numerous specialized training programs including regatta competition with student crews in events such as Key West Race Week, St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, the SORC, Chesapeake Bay’s Screwpile Regatta, and the Ft. Lauderdale to Key West Race.

In his own sailing career, Tihansky began by sailing J24s in 1982, skippering at two World Championships and crewing in a third. He would go on to be part of the winning teams at the 1987 J35 North American Championship and the 1993 J/24 North American Championship as well as the 2007 Lightning World Championships.

Tihansky and his wife, Patricia, married in 1987 and reside in the West River area just south of Annapolis.

Source: USNA

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