Please select your home edition
Edition
Barz Optics - Kids range

Remembering sailing caretaker Bob Billingham

by Josh Adams on 8 Apr 2014
Bob Billingham Abner Kingman http://www.kingmanphotography.com
Sailing lost a true caretaker of the sport this past week when Bob Billingham passed following a long and valiant fight against cancer. Bob touched many in sailing through his decades of dedication across different areas of the sport, most notably the America’s Cup and the Olympics. Speaking for several generations of US Sailing Team athletes and the Olympic Sailing Committee past and present, we will dearly miss one of our steady leaders. In his lifetime, Bob had a very positive impact on Olympic sailing in this country.

Bob was an Olympic silver medalist in the Soling (1988), sailing with John Kostecki and Will Baylis. That performance was just the beginning of Bob’s contributions to Olympic sailing, as he would go on to devote his time and passion as a multi-quad member of the Olympic Sailing Committee (OSC). Bob was a tactician who brought to the OSC a competitive fire forged by his experiences with America’s Cup winner America 3 and challenger AmericaOne. Bob always seemed to thrive in the midst of a challenge, especially when a creative solution was the only solution.

As the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider evolved the last few quads—developing a commercial program and upping the financial support of U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes—Bob provided an influential voice during a time of great organizational change. But his best moments centered on developing advantages at the Olympic Games venues. Even while fully dedicated to the most recent America’s Cup, Bob’s influence on Games projects carried well into the current quad; as recently as January he was advising on Rio-based initiatives with his usual competitive focus. The Olympic and Paralympic teams that will be selected to represent USA in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 will have the benefit of Bob’s strategic guidance.

One of Bob’s most notable contributions to the US Sailing Team came in the London 2012 quad. Dean Brenner, OSC Chairman from 2005-2012, captures Bob in his element:

'Bob Billingham was many things in the eyes of many people: an Olympic Medalist and a champion sailor; a world-class operations manager; a major player on multiple levels in the America’s Cup; and a tireless volunteer. But those are just the résumé items. It was the human interactions, the little things that gave Bob texture and made him who and what he was.

In the spring of 2007, Bob and a group of his colleagues wanted to make a big contribution to Olympic Sailing. So Bob and I made our first trip to Weymouth, England, 5+ years before the 2012 Games to begin scouting out locations for a team base. We spent days skulking around Weymouth, keeping a low profile. Bob was in full 'America’s Cup disinformation' mode. He didn’t want anyone to figure out who we were and what we were doing (as if it mattered… but it was fun watching him operate!). Fast-forward to the 2012 Games, and Bob’s vision was reality. 'Camp Billingham,' as we named it, was the home for our teams for multiple years of training and racing. That project was Bob at his creative best.' (Dean's full reflections can be found here: http://bit.ly/1mUJmin )

Bob sailed gracefully on his final beat in life. As the America’s Cup community can attest, he gave it his all these last few years despite significant medical challenges. By now you may have heard that the St. Francis Yacht Club and St. Francis Sailing Foundation have dedicated the B Buoy off the club the 'Billingham Buoy'. We applaud this move, a fitting tribute to Bob’s dedication to sailing and something his beloved family can be proud of. I look forward to rounding the Billingham Buoy and celebrating all that its namesake has done for the sport of US Sailing website
Ancasta Ker 40+ 660x82PredictWind.com 2014Bakewell-White Yacht Design

Related Articles

Bella Mente Racing starts 2017 season with major victory at RORC C600
Bella Mente Racing starts 2017 season off with major victory at RORC Caribbean 600 Bella Mente Racing, led by owner/driver Hap Fauth, launched its 2017 campaign season with a major victory this week, winning IRC Overall, CSA Overall and CSA 1 at the RORC Caribbean 600 in Antigua; The team took home coveted RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy for the IRC win as well as the Bella Mente Trophy, the team’s namesake award, for being first IRC yacht to finish that is wholly manually powered.
Posted today at 4:54 am
Cool drone footage of Dongfeng Race Team on the water
Dongfeng is back in the water and training is well underway for the returning Chinese campaign. Dongfeng is back in the water and training is well underway for the returning Chinese campaign. Stunning drone footage of the re-fitted Volvo Ocean 65 has been released as the team hit the water off the coast of Lisbon.
Posted today at 3:52 am
49th Transpac early entry deadline approaches on March 1st
Planning for the 49th edition of the Los Angeles-Honolulu Transpacific Yacht Race is well underway Planning for the 49th edition of the Los Angeles-Honolulu Transpacific Yacht Race presented by the Los Angeles Times and organized by the Transpacific Yacht Club is well underway, with 52 monohull and multihull entries from nine nations already signed up for this biennial 2225-mile ocean race, one of the world's oldest having first been sailed in 1905.
Posted today at 3:36 am
18ft Skiffs - JJ Giltinan Trophy - LIVE Coverage - NOW SAILING
Live coverage of Race 1 of the JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiffs from Sydney harbour - sailing in the wind and rain Live coverage of Race 1 of the JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiffs from Sydney harbour - sailing in the wind and rain
Posted today at 3:25 am
Hat-trick all around for Phaedo^3 in this year Caribbean 600
Lloyd Thornburg and crew of Phaedo^3 have gained not only line honours each time but also three wins in their class. Lloyd Thornburg and the crew of his MOD70 Phaedo^3 for the last three editions of the RORC Caribbean 600 have gained not only line honours each time but also three wins in their class.
Posted today at 3:16 am
Vendee Globe - Conrad Colman's thoughts on his incredible performance
Colman was the first boat in the history of the race to finish using only natural energy, no fossil fuels After finishing 16th in the Vendee Globe, crossing the finish line under the jury rig which had carried him the final 720 miles of his race since he was dismasted, Conrad Colman was greeted by a hero's welcome into Les Sables d'Olone. The first New Zealander to complete the race he was also the first boat in the history of the race to finish using only natural energy, no fossil fuels.
Posted on 24 Feb
More winners announced in RORC Caribbean 600
As dawn broke on day five, crews who had finished the race were beginning to arrive back in Antigua. At Dawn on the fifth day, the leading Class40s were approaching the finish. Throughout the race, the battle in the class had been intense, with three yachts taking the lead at various points along the course.
Posted on 24 Feb
Vendee Globe - Conrad Colman finishes under jury rig
Colman constructed and stepped a remarkable jury rig which has allowed him to sail the final 740 miles of 27,440nm race New Zealander Conrad Colman wrote a new chapter in the storied history of the Vendée Globe when he crossed the finish line of the eighth edition of the non stop solo round the world race under a makeshift jury rig.
Posted on 24 Feb
Vendée Globe – Romain Attanasio takes fifteenth place
French skipper Romain Attanasio, sailing Famille Mary-Etamine du Lys, took 15th place in the solo race around the world French skipper Romain Attanasio, sailing Famille Mary-Etamine du Lys, took 15th place in the non stop solo race around the world this morning (Friday 24th February) when he crossed the finish line at 1006hrs UTC.
Posted on 24 Feb
Vendee Globe - Conrad Colman finishes under jury rig - First images
New Zealand solo sailor Conrad Colman has finished the Vendee Globe race under Jury rig. New Zealand solo sailor Conrad Colman has finished the Vendee Globe race under Jury rig. Here are the first images from the finish in Les Sables d'Olonne
Posted on 24 Feb