National Sailing Hall of Fame Names Next Inductees

Ten Olympic champions, yacht designers and builders, and influential sailors of the past earn their place in sailing's Hall of Fame
From top left (moving left to right descending): Skip Etchells, Tim Hogan (Lifetime Achievement), Peter Holmberg, Sally Honey, John Kolius, Bill Lapworth, John Knox Marshall, Charley Morgan, Bob Perry and Dick Stearns Courtesy National Sailing Hall of Fame

The National Sailing Hall of Fame (NSHOF) announced ten sailors comprising its 13th class of inductees. “We’re immensely proud of our inductees this year, as they represent everything we love most about the sport,” said Gary Jobson, co-president of the National Sailing Hall of Fame. “Their contributions to the world of sailing have deeply impacted and touched all of our lives, and each of them have created a hefty legacy for the rest of us to live up to. We are delighted to honor their accomplishments and welcome them into the Hall of Fame.”

The Class of 2023 includes: Elwood Widmer “Skip” Etchells – Known as a superb athlete, Etchells’ long career has left an enduring legacy. After building destroyers and icebreakers for the U.S. Navy in World War II, he founded his own boatbuilding company, the Old Greenwich Boat Company, and became a noted builder of hundreds of extremely competitive boats. His philosophy was to deliver high-quality workmanship, with his company’s tagline “Built Like a Yacht.”

Peter Holmberg – One of the most famous sailors in the Caribbean, Holmberg is known for his skills at all levels of racing, from the Finn Class to Maxis to J Class yachts. He won a Silver Medal in the International Finn Class in the 1988 Olympic Games, the first medal for the U.S. Virgin Islands by an athlete in any sport. Since then, he has been crew on three America’s Cup teams, four Heineken Regattas, eight International Rolex Regattas, eight BVI Spring Regattas and overall winner in three Antigua Race Weeks, to name just a few of his long list of accomplishments.

Sally Honey – A many-times champion sailor, Honey has spent her career contributing to the sport in every capacity from sailmaking to educating on safety at sea. She was twice named Rolex’s Yachtswoman of the Year in 1973 and 1974. One of her groundbreaking achievements was leading an all-women’s crew in the Transpacific Race in 2005. Her most recent inspiring victory was winning the 2022 Newport to Bermuda Race with her husband Stan Honey (Class of 2012) aboard their 56-year old Cal 40.

John Kolius – A natural, gifted sailor from a young age, he has been a professional sailmaker, sailor and coach. He and his team won a silver medal for the USA in the 1976 Summer Olympics. He continued racing at a high level, winning the J/24 World Championships in 1979 and 1981. In 1983, he was named skipper of the two-time America’s Cup defender Courageous and in 1987 America II. Kolius worked with Paul Cayard on the Il Moro di Venezia challenge in 1992 and was a coach for the all-women’s team on Mighty Mary in 1995. He tried to win the Cup one more time as head of Aloha Racing in 2000. In 2002, he even returned to racing a Sunfish and finished second in the World Championship at the age of 51.

William “Bill” Lapworth – Lapworth was one of the first naval architects to successfully embrace the boat building industry’s change from wood to fiberglass. His long career in marine engineering and naval architecture resulted in a line of keelboat one designs built for downwind speed. Teaming up with Jack Jensen, Jensen Marine started building the veritable Cal 20s in 1961. Cal Yachts are still a popular design to this day. A Cal 40 won the Southern Ocean Racing Circuit in February 1964; a fleet of Cal 40s raced the Congressional Cup for many years off Long Beach, California; a Cal 40 won the 2006 Newport to Bermuda Race and in 2022 the Honeys won the Newport to Bermuda Race in their Cal 40.

John Knox Marshall – A lifelong racer, Marshall earned a bronze medal in the 1972 Olympic Games. He was the mainsail trimmer aboard Intrepid for the America’s Cup Defender Trials in 1974, Enterprise in 1977, Freedom in 1980 and was part of the crew aboard Liberty in 1983 that lost to Australia II. The loss inspired Dennis Conner, Malin Burnham and Marshall to mount a challenge to bring the Cup to San Diego, California in 1988 and Marshall was the design coordinator for Stars & Stripes. He served as president of North Sails for many years, and upon his retirement there, became president of Hinckley Yachts.

Charles “Charley” Morgan – Enthusiastic, inquisitive and industrious, Morgan spent his long career making sails, flying airplanes, designing and building boats with his Morgan Yacht Corporation. Many of the over 1,000 Morgan Out Island series cruising yachts are still on the water today. He designed, built, made the sails for, managed and skippered Heritage for the 1970 America’s Cup Defense Trials, losing to Intrepid. In addition, Morgan built several of the water-based exhibits for Disney World.

Robert “Bob” Perry – As someone who notes that his hobby became his occupation, Perry has focused for decades on designing comfortable, attractive and easy-to-sail yachts. Perry has designed yachts for Tayana, Cheoy Lee, Valiant, Baba, Ta Shing, Hans Christian Yachts, Islander, Passport, Pacific Seacraft and Saga, to name a few. His expertise is apparent by his courses in yacht design at Evergreen State College in Washington and his boat reviews that have been published in every issue of Sailing magazine for over 40-years.

Richard “Dick” Stearns, III – A highly skilled racing sailor and innovator, Stearns was part of the team that won the International Star Class World Championship in 1962 and in 1964 earned a Silver Medal at the Tokyo Olympic Games. In 1963, Stearns and crew won a Gold Medal in the Pan American Games. Adding to his accomplishments, Stearns won two Tartan 10 North American Championships and competed in 53 Chicago to Mackinac Island Races, winning in 2000 aboard his 35-year-old Cal 40. He served on the U.S. Olympic Yachting Committee in 1968, 1972 and 1976 and coached for American teams those years. As an innovator, he pioneered the use of “crosscut” sails using Dacron and Orlon fabrics after purchasing Murphy & Nye Sailmakers and with two of his past crew, Gary Comer and Buck Halperin, founded the Lands’ End company, originally to sell equipment for sailboats.

The 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient is Tim Hogan, who has been the president of the Interscholastic Sailing Association (ISSA) since 2005 and has championed their causes for almost two decades. He and his team virtually doubled the roster of high school teams over the past twenty years, allowing more young sailors to take their skills into their adult lives. A three-time All-American Sailor and successful offshore yacht-racer, he says that his greatest accomplishment is instilling a love for sailing in his four children.

The members of the Class of 2023 join 114 current National Sailing Hall of Famers, all of whom are featured in the Legends of Sailing exhibition at The Sailing Museum, which opened last year in Newport, R.I. The interactive experience shares their photos, career highlights and quotes from the legends themselves.