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Roy Disney is awarded the Herreshoff Trophy

Roy Disney was chosen as the 50th recipient of the Nathanael G. Herreshoff Trophy for his outstanding contributions to sailing.

Though he was unable to attend the ceremony in St. Petersburg,Fla., because of the premiere of “Morning Light,” Disney’s new feature film about sailing, a video interview of his reaction to receiving the award was shown.

“I was blown away and very surprised,” he stated. “It’s a thrill.”

Disney is a longtime supporter of sailing, from youth programs to the Olympics, according to a US Sailing press release. An accomplished sailor himself, he has set records in such races as the Chicago Mackinac, Newport-Bermuda, and the Transpac, which he has sailed 16 times and won once.

“Morning Light” is a sailing documentary that Disney produced with his wife, Leslie DeMuese-Disney. The film — in theaters nationwide — follows the adventures of a group of young sailors who were trained to compete in the famous Transpac race.

The Herreshoff Trophy is the highest honor US Sailing gives for contribution to the sport. It was donated in 1957 by the National Marine Manufacturers Association and is awarded annually to anyone who has made a significant impact on the promotion of sailing in the United States.

The recipient is selected by the board of directors through nominations made by members of the board, committee chairs, past presidents and counselors of honor. Past recipients include renowned yacht designer Olin Stephens and Gary Jobson, a current member of US Sailing’s board.

— Elizabeth Ellis