Upon the shoulders of giants

Published on November 1st, 2023

by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt Sailing News
I am a fan of the National Sailing Hall of Fame which will celebrate its 13th class of inductees on November 3-4 in Newport Beach, CA. Ten individuals will be recognized for their significant impact, either in competition or in contributions to the sport.

The 2023 Class joins 114 current inductees, but for an institution started in 2011 that’s celebrating a sport over a century old, it is a challenge to recognize the early participants. As candidates get publicly nominated, some are either forgotten or overlooked.

While every current inductee deserves their place in the Hall, a quote by Sir Isaac Newton is often paraphrased in their speeches: “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.”

Among the giants yet to be inducted are yacht designers Carl Alberg, Dick Carter, and Alfred Luders. Missing are sailing pioneers Robert Bavier, Sr. and Donald Street, Jr., and champion female sailors Aileen Shields Bryan, Allegra Mertz Leggie, and Jan O’Malley. Plus, recipients of the Nathanael G. Herreshoff Trophy – US Sailing’s most prestigious award – such as Helen Ingerson and Arthur Wullschleger.

There are other giants on the nomination list, and likely many more that deserve to be. Where is Mathew Maury, the founder of modern oceanography? It is an imperfect system for a sport in which retirement may occur after the minimum nomination age of 55 years old, and a Selection Committee more likely to advance people they know rather than those within documents.

Regardless, I will be at the 2023 Ceremony to honor the latest inductees, as many have played a part in my passion and respect for the sport. For information on how to submit a nomination, click here.

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