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Nine legends inducted into the National Sailing Hall of Fame during 10th anniversary celebrations

by Ashley Staples 16 Sep 2020 05:40 PDT
Hall of Fame Class of 2020: From top left moving clockwise: James E. Buttersworth, Briggs Cunningham, Jr., Gordon Douglass, Robbie Haines, Jr., Bill Mattison, Dave Perry, John Rousmaniere and Diane & Hoyle Schweitzer © Ashley Staples

The National Sailing Hall of Fame (NSHOF) announced today that on Saturday, September 12th, it celebrated its 10th annual induction in a virtual format. While COVID-19 prevented everyone from gathering in person, the virtual platform allowed friends, family and a host of Hall of Famers and VIPs to join from across the country - and the world.

Nine individuals were honored during the event: James E. Buttersworth (1817 - 1894, London, United Kingdom), Gordon "Sandy" Douglass (October 22, 1904 - February 12, 1992, Newark, New Jersey.), William K. Mattison (August 10, 1928, Elkins, West Virginia), Robert B. Haines, Jr. (March 27, 1954, San Diego, California), David B. Perry (April 18, 1954, Southport, Connecticut), John P. Rousmaniere (March 10, 1944, Louisville, Kentucky), Henry "Hoyle" and Diane Schweitzer (April 8, 1933 & December 28, 1935, Los Angeles & San Jose, California) and Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient Briggs S. Cunningham, Jr. (January 19, 1907 - July 2, 2003, West Palm Beach, Florida).

"These sailors reflect the breadth of sailing in our country, embody the commitment to excellence that few possess and provide inspiration for generations of sailors to come. Their achievements span three categories - sailing, technical and contributor - and encompass a broad spectrum of accomplishments, from historic accounts to iconic paintings, from ice bating to windsurfing, and from coaching to safety and rules," said Gus Carlson, president, NSHOF.

Mr. Carlson added, "In these challenging times we were delighted by the response to our virtual induction ceremony. Hall of Famers, sponsors and guests rose to the occasion to make this year's induction very memorable one for our sailing heroes."

Hall of Famers Vince Brun (2018), Peter Harken (2014), Stan Honey (2012), Bob Johnstone (2016), Tom Whidden (2017) introduced their peers and welcomed them to the Hall as part of the celebration. Joining from home were fellow inductees Betsy Alison (2011), Bill Bentsen (2017), Malin Burnham (2016), Steve Colgate (2015) and JJ Fetter (2015). Heartfelt messages of stories were shared and the accomplishments of the new inductees lauded.

Also providing introductory and congratulatory remarks were Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, U.S. Sailing President Cory Sertl, Mystic Seaport Museum President and CEO Steve White, Herreshoff Marine Museum Founder Halsey Herreshoff and Thistle Class President Thomas Hubbell.

In their acceptances, the inductees and their representatives shared thoughtful comments and a glimpse into just how connected the sailing community is - many noting how their own achievements were built on the shoulders of those who came before them.

2011 Hall of Fame inductee and NSHOF board member, Gary Jobson moderated a live interview with three of the new inductees - Robbie Haines, Dave Perry and John Rousmaniere. Prompted by Jobson, the group recounted their career highlights, the fellow inductee who inspired them and discussed the future of the sport in North America.

Jobson, and earlier Carlson, paid homage to Class of 2014 inductee Harry Anderson as well as long-time board member Dayton Carr who both passed away earlier this year. A moment of silence was shared to honor the memory of the men who were both friends and supporters of sailors and sailing everywhere.

The Class of 2020 will be celebrated again in Newport the weekend of September 10th, 2021 alongside the Class of 2021 for the traditional in person induction event weekend.

Nominations to the National Sailing Hall of Fame are made by the sailing community. All are encouraged to nominate those who have made a significant impact on sailing in the United States at a national and/or international level. Nominations are accepted year-round. Details and the online nomination form can be found at

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