Please select your home edition
Edition
PredictWind.com 2014

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
Naiad/Oracle SupplierNorth Technology - Southern SparsZhik Yachting 660x82

Related Articles

Bureau Vallée 2 back in the water in Brittany
The former Banque Populaire VIII aboard which Armel Le Cléac’h won the last Vendée Globe was put back in the water The former Banque Populaire VIII aboard which Armel Le Cléac’h won the last Vendée Globe was put back in the water on Friday in Lorient (Brittany), with her new decoration in the colours of Bureau Vallée.
Posted today at 6:23 am
Meet Clipper 2017-18 Race skipper Wendy Tuck
For Wendy ‘Wendo’ Tuck, one race around the world was never going to be enough. For Wendy ‘Wendo’ Tuck, one race around the world was never going to be enough. And as a result, she’s set to make history in the Clipper 2017-18 Race as the first Australian skipper to complete the arduous ocean challenge twice.
Posted on 24 Mar
Round the Rocks kick's off St. Thomas International Regatta
Nearly 60 sleek sailing yachts from Caribbean, U.S., Canada and Europe will race in St. Thomas International Regatta. Nearly 60 sleek sailing yachts from the Caribbean, U.S., Canada and Europe will race in the 44th St. Thomas International Regatta. Set for March 24 to 26, this three-day regatta known as the ‘Crown Jewel of Caribbean Yacht Racing’ will be prefaced by the second Round the Rocks Race on March 23, which features a circumnavigation of the 19-square-mile neighbouring U.S. Virgin Island of St. John.
Posted on 23 Mar
Vendée Globe – A hugely popular event and media success
With 29 skippers setting sail and 10 nations represented, the eighth edition offered a wide range of projects The results show huge increases everywhere: many more people attending the event, unprecedented media coverage and feedback, a record level of international coverage without talking about the very positive race outcome in terms of the rankings.
Posted on 23 Mar
RC44 Championship Tour heads to Lanzarote for final regatta
For 2017 the fleet will return to Europe's southern shores with racing hosted from the new facility, Marina Lanzarote The Calero Marinas have been a regular winter destination for the RC44 fleet over the years having hosted four regattas and three World Championships between 2010 and 2013.
Posted on 23 Mar
A Q&A with Charles Pessler, the regatta director of the legendary STIR
I corresponded with Charles Pessler, STIR’s regatta director, to learn about the event’s recent changes and evolutions. I recently corresponded via email with Charles “Chuck” Pessler, who is serving as the regatta director of the legendary STIR, to learn more about the changes and evolutions that have taken place at the event since my 2010 trip to racing paradise.
Posted on 22 Mar
One great challenge for Transatlantic Race 2019
Greatest challenge has confirmed the start date for its next edition; and this time every competitor will depart Newport A virtual gate off Lizard Point will enable teams to challenge the course record for this historic passage, but the official finish will take place off the Royal Yacht Squadron's waterfront castle in Cowes, England.
Posted on 22 Mar
Less than a month to go to 8th edition of Les Voiles de St. Barth
To date, 66 teams have signed up for the event, which bodes well for an exceptional vintage Péan will be casting an expert eye over the event that occurs 10-15 April. A seasoned and talented sailor, he boasts one of the most prestigious track records in French sailing, with victories logged in the Solitaire du Figaro in 1983, then the Whitbread (a crewed around-the-world race with stopovers) in 1986.
Posted on 22 Mar
Transat Jaques Vabre – Oman Sail takes on Class 40 challenge
The new campaign is the latest stage of the relationship between Al Hasni, one of Oman's most promising sailors Oman Sail has revealed a new adventure for 2017 as the pioneering national initiative takes on a double-handed Class 40 challenge pairing up mentor and long-term skipper of various Oman Sail projects, Frenchman Sidney Gavignet, with his protégé and Oman Sail’s most successful offshore sailor, Fahad Al Hasni.
Posted on 22 Mar
RORC Easter Challenge – Free expert coaching
A coach can optimise practice time, provide detailed analysis via both stats and video, can examine specific issues If you want to do better out on the race course, you could buy yourself a newer, more competitive boat. Or sail with a better crew. Or could buy some new sails. Or put in some practice. But keelboat crews frequently forget that one of the best value methods is to employ a coach.
Posted on 22 Mar