Five of the most successful racing sailors ever make up the 2002 class of inductees to Sailing Worlds Hall of Fame. Charlie Barr, Paul Cayard, Russell Coutts, Peter Barrett, and Mark Reynolds have won six Olympic medals, five Americas Cups, one Whitbread, and dozens of world and national championships. As a group, their success spans more than a century, competing in boats ranging from singlehanded one-design dinghies, to 60-foot ocean racers, to 130-foot Americas Cup sloops. They were officially recognized on April 27, 2002, at a ceremony in Annapolis, Md., led by Editor John Burnham and Editor at Large Gary Jobson during the Volvo Ocean Race Stopover.
Russell Coutts (b. 1962, New Zealand) is probably the most recognizable name in the quintet. After distinguishing himself by winning a Finn world championship and an Olympic gold medal in the early 80s, he turned his attention to match racing. He dominated the professional match racing circuit for the better part of a decade and in 1995 won its top prize, the Americas Cup, skippering for Team New Zealand. A successful defense followed in 2000. In the wake of that triumph Coutts switched to Ernesto Bertarellis Swiss Alinghi syndicate, of which he is Executive Director and skipper for its 2003 Cup challenge.
Its been nearly a century since Charlie Barr died of a heart attack, (1864-1911, Scotland, naturalized as a U.S. citizen in 1899) but people are still chasing the wily Scot. His unblemished three match wins and 9-0 race record in Americas Cup competition is still the standard by which Cup skippers are measured (Coutts now stands at 9-0 with two match wins). Barr also set a transatlantic passage record of 12 days, 4 hours, aboard the schooner Atlantic in 1905 that wasnt bettered until 1980.
Like Barr, Paul Cayard (b. 1959, United States) has excelled in both the match racing and ocean racing arenas. He has participated in five Americas Cups, taking the helm in the finals in two of those. In 1998, he became the first American skipper to win the Whitbread Round the World Race. Cayard is also a superb fleet racer, having won world championships in the Star, One-Ton, ILC 40, maxiboat, and 50-foot classes.
In direct contrast to Cayards diverse resume is Mark Reynolds (b. 1955, United States) record of excellence in one class. The San Diego sailmaker has been one of the best Star sailors in the world for nearly two decades. Along the way he has accumulated three Olympic medals, two world championships, seven Bacardi Cups, and nine North American championships. Reynolds has also been a Snipe class champion, winning a Pan Am Games gold medal and recently has broadened his scope, sailing on Farr 40s, Melges 24s, and even a leg of the Volvo Ocean Race. But, as his convincing win at the 2002 Bacardi Cup shows, his touch in his longtime boat of choice hasnt suffered as a result.
Peter Barrett (1935-2000, United States) was, like Reynolds, a participant in multiple Olympic Games, sailing in three. He won a silver in the Finn in 1964 and a gold in the Star in 1968. Barrett was also instrumental in the growth of North Sails, the worlds leading manufacturer of racing sails. However, bespectacled Midwesterner is probably best remembered for his unyielding commitment to fair play and his willingness to share his experience and knowledge with any and all of his competitors. He was a firm believer in the unlimited potential of the human spirit. In any competitive endeavor, he wrote in Sailing Worlds predecessor One-Design Yachtsman in 1965, success goes to those who most want to succeed. Our heritage is full of stories of men who rose to the top simply because they wanted to so badly. Barrett, along with his four fellow inductees in the Class of 2002, exemplified this ethic.