Sailing Hall of Fame Announces 2017 Inductees

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The National Sailing Hall of Fame (NSHOF) aims to recognize American sailors who have made outstanding contributions to the sport, and announced in June the eight people who will make up its 2017 class of inductees:










Bill Bentsen (Winnetka, Ill./Lake Geneva, Wisc.), a two-time Olympic medalist – bronze in 1964 and gold in 1972 – who has created an indelible legacy for the sport through his contributions as a racing rules and race administration expert.









5.5 World Champion Ray Hunt (Duxbury, Mass.), the innately talented yacht designer of both sail and power vessels.









Boatbuilder Clark Mills (Clearwater, Fla.), best known as the designer of the wildly popular Optimist dinghy used by children under age 16 (posthumous).









Windsurfing superstar Robby Naish (Haiku, Hawaii), who won his first world championship title at age 13 and went on to build a multi-million dollar watersports business.







Two-time Tornado Olympic Silver Medalist Randy Smyth (Ft. Walton Beach, Fla.), whose expertise as a catamaran sailor led to, among other things, work on major motion pictures.









Noted America’s Cup sailor Tom Whidden (Essex, Conn.), the industry giant who recently celebrated 30 years with global brand North Sails.


Two additional Inductees are being recognized with the NSHOF Lifetime Achievement Award:









Avid sailor Bill Martin (Ann Arbor, Mich.), whose leadership roles in business and sailing – including the Presidency of the U.S. Olympic Committee – led to a noteworthy 10 years as Athletic Director at the University of Michigan.









Corny Shields (New Rochelle, N.Y.), winner of the inaugural Mallory Cup which earned him national recognition on the cover of Time magazine in 1953, who conceived the Shields one-design in 1964 and founded the I.O.D. class (posthumous).

NSHOF states that nominees must be “American citizens, 45 years of age or older, who have made significant impact on the growth and development of the sport in the U.S. in the categories of Sailing, Technical/Design and Contributor (coach, administrator, sailing media). Nominations of non-citizens [are] also considered if they influenced the sport in the U.S., and posthumous nominations [are] also accepted,” According to the National Sailing Hall of Fame. Sailors across the nation participated in this years nomination process. 

The formal induction ceremony for the Inductees will take place on Sunday, September 24, 2017 New York Yacht Club’s Harbour Court Station in Newport, Rhode Island

For more on the Inductees, please visit:

By Ocean Navigator