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Sailing - New England February

Oliver on the move

Rhode Island's future Tall Ship, the Oliver Hazard Perry, is towed from Newport, R.I., by the tug boat Hope. The 132-foot hull will undergo major steel and mechanical work at Promet Marine Services in Providence, R.I., this winter.  When completed in 2011, the Class A Tall Ship will measure 207 feet and boast a three-masted, square rig that stands 13 stories tall.  It will be a 21st-century version of the naval vessels used in the Battle of Lake Erie, where Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry commanded a victorious fleet.

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US Sailing pays tribute to Roy E. Disney

Roy Edward Disney, nephew of Walt Disney, died Dec. 16 after a long battle with stomach cancer. He was 79.

In 2008, US Sailing, national governing body of the sport, awarded Disney its Nathanael G. Herreshoff Trophy for his outstanding contributions to the sport of sailing in the U.S. over many years.

"Roy Disney was great for the sport of sailing. He set a high example for all of us, as a top competitor, visionary and philanthropist. Roy has inspired so many young people to follow their dream of life on the water," said Gary Jobson, president of US Sailing, in a statement.

Disney's involvement in the sport goes back decades. As a longtime, reliable supporter of the sport, his impact has been felt across the board, from youth sailing to the Olympic level of the sport and beyond.

Combining his passion for sailing and for filmmaking, Disney was a powerful voice for sailing, as well as a promoter. His documentary, "Morning Light," which he co-produced with his wife Leslie DeMeuse-Disney, put a new spotlight on the sport of sailing.

"Sailing with Roy was like being adopted by a family," said Stan Honey, board member of US Sailing, in a statement. "He got so much out of his crew, because his loyalty was astounding. His crew was never worried about losing their job. Instead, they just focused on winning."

Grael and Tunnicliffe named Sailors of Year

American Anna Tunnicliffe and Torben Grael of Brazil were named winners of the 2009 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards at a ceremony held in South Korea.

Success has seemed to follow Grael throughout the many years of his sailing career. Born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and nicknamed "Turbine" for his nautical achievements, Grael has won five Olympic medals, more than any other sailor in history, and can claim multiple world championship titles as well as a Louis Vuitton Cup. His most recent achievement came in the 2008-2009 Volvo Ocean Race, where he skippered Ericsson 4 to a spectacular victory and is the one for which he was recognized this year.

In the last 12 months, Tunnicliffe set her sights on a variety of challenges across a range of boats and disciplines. Tunnicliffe won the gold medal for the United States in the Laser Radial at the 2008 Olympics and has kept herself busy ever since, sailing not only the one-person Laser Radial, but also a Snipe alongside her match-racing commitments.

She was also U.S. Sailing's 2008 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year.

Iran releases British sailors

Never has staying on course meant more to a racing yacht than to Sail Bahrain's crew.

Sail Bahrain's crew drifted into Iranian waters, and was apprehended by the Iranian navy.

The crew was stopped by an Iranian navy vessel before the start of the Dubai-Muscat Offshore Race after a propeller failed and the boat may have drifted from United Arab Emirates waters to Iranian waters, according to Andrew Pindar OBE, chairman of Sail Bahrain. The crew was being held on suspicion of espionage.

While the incident was ongoing, he said "Our thoughts are very much focused on the safe return of the crew and in supporting the families who await their return. The Team Pindar crew members on board are a close-knit group who are all qualified sailors and have extensive experience on board racing yachts."

The sailors were later released by Iranian authorities. "It has been an extremely worrying time for all of us and particularly for the families and loved ones of those on board," Pindar says.

He says the sailors, with skipper Olly Smith, were in good spirits throughout the ordeal and were treated well by Iranian officials.

Mass. man wins ICSA lifetime award

Joseph P. Kirk of West Falmouth, Mass., was among five individuals recently honored with the Lifetime Service Award from the Intercollegiate Sailing Association and inducted into the ICSA Hall of Fame.

Kirk, an employee of Massachusetts Maritime Academy for 10 years, and a volunteer for its sailing program for many years prior to that, sailed with the cadets, ran races and was a great mentor for all who came into contact with him. He died in September 2008 after a brief battle with cancer.

Kirk was Massachusetts Maritime's go-to-guy for boat maintenance, working tirelessly to prepare its fleet for the water each season.

Kirk ensured the boats were always in top condition and Mass Maritime's fund raising efforts were always successful. That allowed the school to put up to 50 cadets on the water for weekend competition.

He was an active member of Chapoquoit Yacht Club.

Other honorees are Austin Dias of San Diego, who received the Student Leadership Award; Bryan Harrison McDonald of Monte Sereno, Calif., received Outstanding Contribution/Volunteer; and Michael Segerblom of Costa Mesa, Calif., was recognized with the Graham Hall Award for Outstanding Service by a College Sailing Professional.

The ICSA Hall of Fame was established in 1969 to acknowledge the competitive achievements of undergraduates as well as the service contributions of individuals whose efforts helped in the establishment, growth, and development of college sailing.

Scandone wins sportsmanship award

U.S. Sailing announced the winner of its National Sportsmanship award, the W. Van Alan Clark Jr. Trophy, to the late Nick Scandone of Fountain Valley, Calif. U.S. Sailing's executive director Charlie Leighton presented the national sportsmanship award to Scandone's wife, Mary Kate.

The 2008 Paralympic gold medalist died Jan. 2 after a long battle with ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease, a debilitating neurodegenerative disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.

"Nick was a driving force in Paralympic sailing and an amazing example to all of us that nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it regardless of the challenges that may stand in your way," says Betsy Alison, 2008 Paralympic team coach. "It's a fitting tribute that this award be presented at the Clagett Memorial Regatta. He spent so many memorable moments with some of these sailors, and contributed to bringing in sailors to compete at these events." n

New US Sailing appeals book available

"The U.S. Sailing Appeals Book for 2009-2012" is now available in hard copy at This new edition includes the ISAF Case Book for 2009-2012, and comprises interpretations of the rules that assist sailors, race officials and judges in making the best decisions according to the rules, according to US Sailing.

"As a competitive racer, coach and judge, I can say this book is loaded with important and useful interpretations of the rules," says Dave Perry, US Sailing appeals committee chairman.

The appeals are decisions of the US Sailing Appeals Committee, and the cases are decisions of national authorities from around the world published by the International Sailing Federation. Typically, protest committees base their decisions on appeals and cases with similar facts.

Members can read it online for free at

ISAF sets schedule for Olympic events

The International Sailing Federation published the provisional dates and venues for the world championships of the events selected for the 2012 Olympic sailing competition.

In contrast to the ISAF Sailing World Cup series - where the competitor's abilities are measured during the course of seven events across Oceania, North America and Europe - the world championships are a one-off, winner-take-all affair, with each Olympic event visiting a different venue every year.

The 2012 Olympic sailing competition comprises 10 events, featuring racing in eight different classes or equipment.

In 2011, all the world title battles in the Olympic events are combined into one massive championship called the Perth 2011 ISAF sailing world championships. For information, visit

Ellen MacArthur joins youths for final leg

The 48-foot yacht Scarlet Oyster completed the final leg of the Ellen MacArthur Trust Skandia Round Britain voyage Sept. 12, from Torquay to its departure point of Cowes on the Isle of Wight.

During the 17 legs of the 132-day voyage, 74 young people recovering from cancer sailed on the Scarlet Oyster, stopping at such ports as; Brighton, Dover, London, Ipswich, Hull, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Inverness, Glasgow, Belfast, Douglas, Liverpool, Cardiff and Southampton .

The Dame Ellen MacArthur Trust takes young people between 8 and 18 who are in recovery from cancer, leukemia and other serious illnesses sailing to help them regain their confidence.

"To be part of the team to make it happen has been an absolute joy," says MacArthur. She was on board with five young people as Scarlet Oyster made the last leg of the circumnavigation. MacArthur is known for her long-distance sailing and, at one time, held the world record for fastest solo global circumnavigation.

For information, go to

ISF honors rules veteran with volunteer award

The International Sailing Federation announced that the ISAF Beppe Croce Trophy, which honors an outstanding voluntary contribution to the sport of sailing, was awarded to rules expert Bill Bentsen of Chicago and Lake Geneva, Wis.

Bentsen's record of service to the International Sailing Federation includes membership on its racing rules committee for 25 years until 2004, at which time he was vice chairman of the committee. He chaired the racing rules committee's first race management sub-committee, which introduced the new Sailing Instructions Guide, now Appendix L of The Racing Rules of Sailing, and worked with Göran Petersson and Bryan Willis to draft the first ISAF Call Book for Match Racing (1992).

In 2004, he received an ISAF long service gold medal.

As an ISAF international judge, Bentsen has been a member of international juries for the world or continental championships of many international classes, two ISAF youth world championships, the 1979 Pan American Games regatta, and the 1988 Olympic regatta.

In U.S. Sailing, Bill Bentsen is a member and past chairman of the appeals committee, was a member and chairman of the racing rules committee, was a member of the race management committee and the Olympic yachting committee, and helped initiate the U.S. Sailing judges certification program. From 1974-1976, he was responsible for the United States Sailing Center at Association Island, N.Y., site of the 1976 U. S. Olympic yachting trials and many world and national championships. It was there Bentsen and his race management staff developed procedures for repositioning marks while a race is in progress, and produced a Standard Sailing Instructions template that became the basis for the first ISAF Sailing Instructions Guide.

In 1994, Bentsen received the Nathanael G. Herreshoff Trophy for outstanding contributions to the sport of sailing and, in 2008, he received the Harman Hawkins Trophy for excellence in race administration.

As a competitor, Bentsen won Olympic medals as crew for Buddy Melges at the 1972 Olympics (gold medal, Soling class) and the 1964 Olympics (bronze medal, Flying Dutchman class).

This article originally appeared in the New England Home Waters Section of the February 2010 issue.