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Remembering Gordon Nash Sr.

Gordon Chamberlain Nash, a great San Francisco Bay sailor, died a day after celebrating his 95th birthday, on May 15. Gordon Sr. was noted for innovations to sailboat racing way ahead of his time, including titanium fittings, the Nash-o-matic headsail tightener, and ultra-lightweight bendy masts that made him and his wife, Jocelyn, very competitive in the 1960s. The couple won the International 110 National Championship in 1963. He built El Toros for himself and Jocelyn to race in the 1955 Sausalito to San Francisco Cityfront Bullship Race.

International 110 in Sausalito
Gordon and Jocelyn Nash were International 110 champions in 1963. (Sausalito old salts will recognize the Village Fair on Bridgeway in the background.)
© 2022 Nash Family

Gordo was part of many legendary ocean racing crews, such as Serena (an 83-ft schooner), Blackfin, Orient, and many others. In 1955, he was Transpac navigator on Pari Too, a 40-ft sloop from Richmond Yacht Club; crewed in 1957; and sailed the San Francisco-based 64-ft cutter Orient in 1963 and Serena in the 1967 Transpac. He competed in many Mexico races and San Francisco Bay/ocean races. He was president of the El Toro Association, the I-110 Association, the OK Dinghy Association, and SBRA (the now-defunct Small Boat Racing Association). He raced against Bob Klein, Don Trask, Tom Blackaller and Bruce Easom, and told stories of a young Commodore Tompkins.

Gordon Nash navigating with a sextant
Navigating Pari Too in 1955.
© 2022 Nash Family
Jocelyn and Gordon Nash draped with leis
Jocelyn and Gordon Nash at the finish of the 1957 Transpac.
© 2022 Nash Family
Serena at the finish of the Transpac
Serena, an 83-ft schooner, finishes the 1967 Transpac off Diamond Head. (If you want to take an entertaining and enlightening deep dive into sailing history, browse through the old Transpac programs at
© 2022 Nash Family

Gordon’s passion for sailing extended well into his 80s, as he cruised with his partner Christine aboard their 37-ft cutter-rigged sailboat Fuzzy Logic on Mexico’s Pacific coast and in British Columbia, Canada.

The patriarch of three generations of Nash family sailors, Gordon is survived by four children: Gordie Nash Jr., Chris Nash, Leslie Nash Barrows and Tim Nash; six grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and his loving partner for more than 30 years, Christine Hunter. All of them sail, and his kids honored his teaching when they won Transpacs and Bullship races.

Chris, Gordo, Gordie Jr. and Jocelyn Nash in about 1953.
© 2022 Nash Family

A celebration of Gordon’s life will be held at Richmond YC on Saturday, September 24, 2022, from noon to 3 p.m. (He and Jocelyn joined RYC in 1953; in their divorce, Jocelyn kept the membership). “Please attend and tell stories of the past with the family,” says his son, Chris Nash. RSVP to Chris at [email protected]. “In lieu of flowers, please consider honoring the Nash family by contributing to the RYC STEMsail Program or the RYC Junior Program.”

Little kids on homemade raft
“Gordon Nash built boats as a kid like we all did,” said his son Chris. This is his sister Barbara with him.
© 2022 Nash Family


  1. Memo Gidley 2 years ago

    A great sailing family with so much history on the bay!

  2. martin herbert 2 years ago

    Gordon was a much loved member of the International One Metre fleet on Saltspring Island and we miss him very much. Nobody could surf a One Metre like Gordon could and I would watch and learn. His joy of sailing was infectious, and his passing has left a big hole in our hearts. We were lucky to have him in our lives.

  3. Sharon Krieger Schenone 1 year ago

    I had the joy to meet Gordie in 1966 and carried that friendship into 1968 when I moved to Bear Valley CA.
    At the Richmond Yacht Club, Gordie taught me to hike-out on a trapeze and not be afraid. Watching him (and Jocelyn) one very calm morning in the Bull Ship Race, which I believe Jocelyn won. I fondly remember Gordie Jr., Chris, Leslie and Tim, his brother Beaver (Lewis) and visiting with his parents at their Berkeley home. We shared many great outings and adventures. When my husband and I joined the Stockton Sailing Club, I even named my El Toro “Gordo”.

  4. Christine Weaver 1 year ago

    Just to be clear, Gordon Nash Sr. went by the nickname Gordo. Gordon Nash Jr. (who is still very much alive and racing his El Toro and his keelboat Arcadia), goes by Gordie. (According to Gordie, they needed separate nicknames to avoid confusion.)

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