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StFYC to Host Hall of Fame Induction

Located in Annapolis, MD, the Sailing Hall of Fame may seem to some West Coast sailors like an East-Coast-centric institution. But the class of 2016 includes four West Coast luminaries, and the induction itself will be held in San Francisco. St. Francis Yacht Club will host the invitation-only ceremony this Sunday, October 30. The induction will be dedicated to the AmericaOne Foundation. You may recall that AmericaOne was StFYC’s America’s Cup challenger in 2000. The Foundation supports Olympic sailing, disabled sailing and sailing for underprivileged youth.

The impressive — and enormous — modern square rigger Maltese Falcon sailed into San Francisco Bay on September 27, 2008.

©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Latitude readers are well acquainted with Tom Perkins of Belvedere, who brought his innovative 289-ft Dyna-Rig yacht Maltese Falcon here in 2008. Perkins was also a great champion of the Leukemia Cup Regattas, the most recent of which was hosted just yesterday by San Francisco YC. The venture capitalist, who got his start at Hewlett Packard in the 1950s, recruited the likes Al Gore, Rupert Murdock, Ted Turner and Sir Ben Ainslie to come to Belvedere and speak at Leukemia Cup VIP dinners in past years. Perkins once contributed a feature story to Latitude 38, Cruising with Patrick O’Brian. He passed away this year on June 7.

California 2016 NSHF inductees are, left to right: Tom Perkins, Malin Burnham, Dave Ullman and Bill Ficker.

© National Sailing Hall of Fame & Ullman Sails

This year’s NSHF inductees from Southern California are Dave Ullman, Bill Ficker and Malin Burnham.

Burnham started his sailing career as a junior at San Diego YC, was the youngest (at age 17) Star World Champion, and went on to America’s Cup syndicates in the 1980s. He was the design director for the IACC yachts (which many fans still miss in these days of foiling catamarans) and managed Dennis Conner’s comeback in 1987. He won the International Masters Regatta four times, the last in 2015.

Another Star World Champion and America’s Cup alumnus, Bill Ficker was the AC-winning helmsman on Intrepid in 1970. In 1980, Long Beach YC established the Ficker Cup, a match racing Grade Two event, to honor him.

Dave Ullman, who opened his first sail loft at age 21, won multiple championships in the 470, Melges 24, Thistle, Snipe, Lido 14, Sabot and Coronado 15. The 1996 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year currently coaches US Sailing’s women’s 470 team.

Also being inducted this year are adventurers Exy and Irving Johnson. The couple’s explorations of the world by boat were ahead of their time. We remember picking up a 1950s-vintage copy of National Geographic and reading of their travels. They were frequent contributors to that and other magazines.

Ever sailed on a J/Boat? Too many to count? Yeah, us too. So it comes as no surprise that the brothers who founded the line are being honored this year. Bob and Rod Johnstone started the company when the makers of the Sunfish, AMF-Alcort (Bob’s employer at the time), passed on a 24-footer that Rod was building in his garage. That boat became the J/24.

Another America’s Cup-winning sailor, Ed Baird, rounds out the class of 2016. He was the helmsman in 2007 when Switzerland won the Cup, after which he was named Rolex World Sailor of the Year.

Speaking of Swiss success with the America’s Cup, that syndicate’s head, Ernesto Bertarelli, was inducted in the Herreshoff Marine Museum / AC Hall of Fame in a ceremony on October 21 at New York YC. Honored along with Bertarelli was Lord Dunraven, aka Windham Thomas Wyndham-Quin, a challenger in the 1890s with Valkyrie II and III.

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