One of Ocean Navigator’s longtime contributing editors, the extraordinarily experienced and thoroughly charming ocean sailor Eric Forsyth, died on August 22, at his home on Long Island, NY. He was 91 years old. A regular contributor to ON for many years, Forsyth wrote stories of his exploits sailing his Westsail 42, Fiona. Following his retirement from Brookhaven National Labs in 1995, Forsyth became a nearly full-time ocean voyager.
Born in Bolton, England, in 1932, Forsyth became an RAF pilot and flew early jet fighters. He later emigrated to Canada with his fiancé Edith, an M.D. He earned a BS in electrical engineering from the University of Toronto and later a masters in EE from Columbia University after Forsyth and his wife moved to New York to work for Brookhaven Labs. While working at Brookhaven, Forsyth managed the Superconducting Power Transmission Project, serving as chairman of the Magnet Development Committee for The ISABELLE Project, and finally as the Chairman of the The Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC). Forsyth led the team that designed the superconducting magnets used in RHIC, and his designs were also the basis for the magnets later used in the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. Forsyth was an acknowledged world authority on the application of superconductivity.
He was also, of course, an avid sailor and he built Fiona from a bare hull. After retirement he began his many voyages aboard Fiona with a rotating cast of friends and ocean sailing newbies who came aboard for the experience of sailing and learning from him.
Forsyth made two circumnavigations, cruised the Antarctic and Arctic regions, and traversed the Northwest Passage. He was a member of the Seven Seas Cruising Association, which awarded him the Seven Seas Award; the Cruising Club of America, which awarded him their prestigious Blue Water Medal, given annually to one amateur sailor worldwide, in recognition of his Antarctic cruise; and was also a member of the South Bay Cruising Club of Long Island.
He shared his adventures with the worldwide sailing fraternity over the years via films, videos, and numerous magazine articles in ON, most of which appear on his official website, www.yachtfiona.com.
Those who wish to honor Captain Eric Forsyth’s memory are invited to donate to the Post-Morrow Foundation (www.postmorrow.org) of Brookhaven, NY.