Mystic Seaport honors historian and author

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Mystic Seaport announced the William P. Stephens Award was presented to the yachtsman and author, John Rousmaniere.

“We are deeply honored to present this award to John Rousmaniere to recognize his life’s work. There are very few people with even a passing interest in boating or yachting who have not picked up a book he has written, “ Mystic Seaport president Steve White said in a statement. “His intuitive sense and passion for the subject matter makes sailing come alive on the page because he has lived that life.”

Established in 1988, and named after William P. Stephens, long known as the “Dean of American Yachtsmen” and “the grand old man of American yachting,” the award is given in recognition of a significant and enduring contribution to the history, preservation, progress, understanding, or appreciation of American yachting and boating.

Rousmaniere is an authority on maritime history, especially the history of yachting, and has written 15 books on this subject. His books include “The Golden Pastime: A New History of Yachting”; histories of the Bermuda Race, the America’s Cup, the New York Yacht Club, and other yacht clubs; biographies of the yacht America and the classic yawl Bolero; and two studies of marine photography focusing on the Rosenfeld Collection.

He has written two books about storms, “After the Storm” and “Fastnet, Force 10”, the latter about the deadly 1979 race off England in which he sailed. Rousmaniere has served as yachting editor of “The Oxford Encyclopedia of Maritime History.”

He edited a book on yacht design titled “Desirable and Undesirable Characteristics of Offshore Yachts” and the Olin Stephens autobiography, “All This and Sailing, Too,” published by Mystic Seaport.

Rousmaniere’s books on sailing safety and seamanship include “The Annapolis Book of Seamanship,” which just went into its fourth edition. He also contributes articles to Sea History, WoodenBoat, and other magazines.

The award was presented Jan. 29 in a ceremony at the New York Yacht Club.

Previous recipients include Olin J. Stephens II, Elizabeth Meyer, Briggs Cunningham, John Gardner, Carleton Mitchell, and Harry Anderson Jr.