In celebration of the upcoming 125th anniversary of Marblehead Race Week this July, eight new members of the sailing community were named to the Marblehead Yacht Racing Hall of Fame this year.
The inductees include Nicholas A. Burke, Robert E. Doyle, Bruce E. Dyson, the late Francis P. Scully, the late David J. Smith, Judson A. F. Smith, Joan Thayer and Richard B. Wilson.
Established in 1987 on the 100th anniversary of Marblehead Race Week, this prestigious nomination recognizes key individuals from Marblehead who have made a significant impact on yacht racing. The eight inductees met the criteria of not only making a local impact on racing but for their contributions to yacht racing on a national and international level. All of those chosen this year have made major contributions to the sport of sailing at the highest level of the sport.
When the original committee came together 27 years ago to select the original list of Marblehead Yacht Racing Hall of Fame individuals, the criteria was threefold: while hailing from Marblehead, the person had achieved national or international recognition in racing events; or successfully had promoted Marblehead as a world class racing center; or had demonstrated an outstanding commitment of Marblehead’s race management.
'The choices we made then and now are based on a lifetime of contribution to our sport of sailing,' said Norman Cressy, who along with Joan Thayer, Joanne Mayer David Curtis and Pete DeWolfe, make up the Marblehead Yacht Racing Hall of Fame Committee. 'We have such a rich legacy in our sailing community and we wanted to make sure to recognize these key individuals. They deserve our admiration and respect.'
Inductees include global competitor Rich Wilson, who not only finished in ninth place in the Vendee Globe in 2009, but he will be racing again in 2015 and will become the oldest competitor in the race. Robbie Doyle is a lifelong competitor who also heads up one of the most innovative companies in the sport – Doyle Sailmakers – where he is at the cutting edge of sail technology. Jud Smith, as a Rolex Yachtsman and renowned Etchells sailor, is still competing at the international level and building sails as head of Doyle Sailmakers one design loft. Bruce Dyson, sailor, boatbuilder and lifelong competitor, has stayed highly involved in racing and bringing classic regattas to Marblehead. A national champion and collegiate sailor, Nick Burke helmed the Marblehead High School sailing team for 23 years and created a lasting legacy for youth sailors in town. Joan Thayer, a Shields and Sonar sailor, has made an immense contribution to women in sailing. The late Francis P. Scully was an Olympian and national champion and was also credited with bringing the beloved Shields class to Marblehead. And the late David J. Smith was an Olympic Gold Medalist, Mallory Cup winner and a bowman on the 12 -meter Nefertiti with Ted Hood.
'All of the nominees have a unique place in Marblehead sailing but are also known world wide and will be remembered for their lasting contribution to the sport,' Cressy said. 'We are so pleased that we have a chance to honor them.'
A ceremony will be held on the final day of racing at Marblehead Race Week on Sunday, July 27 at the Corinthian Yacht Club. Throughout the regatta; a display of each inductee will be set up at the Corinthian.