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Annapolis sailor Saunders dies at 83

Retired Navy Captain David McKeon Saunders, 83, of Annapolis, who competed in 19 ocean races and won six Chesapeake Bay Yacht Racing Association High-Point championships, died June 16 at his home in St. Margaret’s. He was known for racing a series of boats named Spindrift and Air Mail.

A 1944 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy who followed in the footsteps of his father, Capt. Harold Saunders, he served in the Pacific on the light cruiser USS Miami during the last year of World War II. He then became a naval aviator and a member of the Navy’s VC-5 unit, the first squadron with nuclear attack capability.

Saunders attended the Naval War College before becoming director of program evaluation for the Anti-Submarine Warfare Systems Project. He retired in 1968 after a tour in Vietnam commanding the ammunition ship, USS Chara.

An active pilot, he became a consultant and expert witness in offshore powerboat racing and corporate aviation. After moving to Annapolis in 1966, he formed and was president of S&R Associates, specializing in real estate development and construction.

Saunders was a member of the Annapolis Yacht Club and the Naval Academy’s Alumni Association and Golf Association.

Survivors include his wife, Carol Saunders, and three sons: Scott and Craig Saunders of Annapolis, Mark Saunders of Yorktown, Va., and four grandchildren. He was the widower of Elizabeth Rosasco Saunders.