Bill Ficker, America’s Cup Winner and Architect, Honored Oct. 3

Byline: Taylor Hill

Bill Ficker, America’s Cup Winner and Architect, Honored Oct. 3

NEWPORT BEACH — Bill Ficker, skipper of the 1970 America’s Cup winner Intrepid, was honored at the Newport Sea Base’s Oct. 3 luncheon, receiving the program’s Good Sea Scout Award.

Ficker, a Newport Beach native and architect, was presented the award by Balboa Island Ferry president and longtime Newport Beach resident Seymour Beek, who had raced against Ficker in Star-class sailboat world championship races more than 50 years ago.

“You have listed 10 major accomplishments on your yachting resume that includes your America’s Cup win, but to me, your 1958 Star World Championship is No. 1, because I was racing in that as well, and I finished 20th,” Beek said.

A video was shown during the presentation featuring friends and racing comrades of Ficker’s, including messages of well wishes from US Sailing president Gary Jobson, and San Diego philanthropist and fellow Star-class world champion Malin Burnham.

“You’re my hero, Bill — and the saying ‘Ficker is Quicker’ is still as apt to day as it was in 1970,” Jobson said.

Recipients of the Good Sea Scout Award are chosen for their outstanding community service and the leadership they show to the harbor community — and Ficker’s accomplishments both on and off the water weighed into his selection for the honor.

“Bill has a core belief that young people can do wonderful things,” Burnham said in the video. “He’s an amazing man, not just because of the America’s Cup and his sailing successes, but because of the opportunities he gave the members of his America’s Cup crew and the thousands of others in his life.”

When presented with the award, Ficker noted that while Beek and the Newport Sea Base had listed many of his accomplishments, one didn’t make the cut.

“Seymour forgot something,” Ficker said, holding up a photo of himself from 1937, stand-up paddleboarding in the harbor. “I was on a paddleboard on my knees when I thought, ‘Gee, wouldn’t it be nice to stand up?’ So, I got a kayak paddle and used that — and started stand-up paddleboarding in Newport, way back then.”

Ficker remarked on the Sea Base’s importance in the harbor today, and lauded the group’s family programs that help give youths a head start in water-related activities.

Ficker joins fellow Good Sea Scout Award recipients from previous years Duncan McIntosh, Jim Warmington, Dave Ullman and Marshall ”Duffy” Duffield. The luncheon was attended by around 80 Newport Sea Base supporters, and all of the proceeds from the event went toward enhancing the programs of Newport Sea Base, a facility owned and operated by the Orange County Council, Boy Scouts of America.

“Without the Newport Sea Base, many young people would never experience the wonders of the waterfront and learn the skills to sail a boat or maneuver a kayak or canoe,” said Newport Sea Base director Shana Aguirre. “Many of you still may not know that our programs and facilities are not only open to the Sea Scouts or the Boy Scouts, but to the greater community, to girls and boys, to scouts and non-scouts.”

The Newport Sea Base is celebrating its 75th year of operation. Its mission is to serve all youth of Greater Orange County by providing quality marine programs that instill solid values, teach effective teamwork and provide leadership development.

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