Our Own ‘Hall of Fame’

For years, dedicated baseball fans have eagerly traveled across the country on annual pilgrimages to Cooperstown, N.Y., to visit the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Each year, fans wonder who will be named to the Hall of Fame this time around. When will their favorite player of all time finally be chosen for that sacred roster — and will Pete Rose ever make the final cut?

Now, we boaters can celebrate the greats of our own favorite “national pastime,” thanks to the creation of a new “hall of fame” to celebrate achievements in U.S. sailing.

The National Sailing Center and Hall of Fame in Annapolis, Md. celebrates Americans 45 or older (living or dead) who have made significant contributions to the development of sailing in the U.S. That includes contributions in sailing design and technology, as well as achievements on the racecourse or significant cruising accomplishments.

Five Californians are included in the first group of 15 named to the National Sailing Hall of Fame — and they will be officially inducted in an Oct. 23 ceremony at San Diego Yacht Club. They are: four-time America’s Cup winning skipper Dennis Conner; 1968 Star Olympic Gold Medalist and founder of North Sails Lowell North; 1998 Whitbread Round the World Race winning skipper Paul Cayard; and surfboard industry pioneer and Hobie Cat creator Hobie Alter. Singlehanded circumnavigator and writer Joshua Slocum will be honored posthumously.

Other inductees this year include Ted Turner, Gary Jobson, Betsy Alison, Ted Hood and Buddy Melges — and posthumous inductees Nathanael Herreshoff, Olin Stephens, Harold S. Vanderbilt, Charles Barr and Emil “Bus” Mosbacher Jr.

The next group of National Sailing Hall of Fame inductees will be announced in July 2012 — and through 2013, the number of inductees will not exceed 15. Beginning in 2014, the selection committee will induct a maximum of five sailors each year.

The Log congratulates all the new Sailing Hall of Fame inductees on receiving this national recognition — and, we add, it’s about time.

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