July 17, 2016
The National Sailing Hall of Fame announced that Bob Johnstone and his brother Rod would be amoung nine Hall of Fame inductees in 2016. The event takes place at the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco on Sunday, October 30th. This followed a Press Release in April from the Mystic Seaport announcing that at the Museum’s Annual Gala on October 22nd, a week before in Connecticut, Bob and Rod of J Boats will receive the Seaport’s prestigious America and the Sea Award.
Mystic Seaport will present its 2016 America and the Sea Award to Bob and Rod Johnstone – J/Boats. Given annually by the Museum, the prestigious award recognizes individuals or organizations whose contribution to the history, arts, business, or sciences of the sea best exemplify the American character.
The Johnstones will receive the award Saturday, October 22, at a gala dinner held in their honour at Mystic Seaport. The gala will be the first and only dinner held in the Collins Family Gallery of the new Thompson Exhibition Building prior to its ongoing use to display exhibits. The America and the Sea Award Gala is the single largest fundraising event for the Museum. Proceeds from the event benefit the mission of the Museum to inspire an enduring connection to America’s maritime heritage.
“Over the past 39 years, the Johnstone family and their company have influenced American yachting and sport of sailing in incomparable ways. They have established a record of accomplishment that few will ever challenge, and they have instilled in countless Americans a passion for enjoying time on the water with family and good friends aboard good boats,” said Steve White, president of Mystic Seaport. “For these reasons and many more, Mystic Seaport is proud to bestow its America and the Sea Award to Bob and Rod Johnstone – J/Boats.”
The J/Boats story began in 1974 when Rod, then an ad salesman for Soundings Magazine, designed and started building the 24-foot sailboat Ragtime in his Stonington, CT garage. Launched in the Spring of 1976, it beat everything in sight. Bob, then vice president of marketing at AMF Alcort, saw the potential in Rod’s design and a 50/50 partnership was formed in February 1977 to build and market the J/24. Today, some 14,000 “J’s” in 40 different designs are sailing in more than 35 countries. “J” owners have won silver in major sailing events worldwide including Fastnet, SORC, Transpac, Pacific Cup, Swiftsure, Ensenada, Middle Sea, Sydney-Hobart, OSTAR, Chicago-Mac, and the Bermuda Race. The J/24 was named “Best Keelboat in 30 years” by SAIL Magazine in 1981. A decade later, the J/105 revolutionized keelboat design with its retractable bowsprit and asymmetrical spinnaker. Nineteen other “J” designs have earned Boat-of-the-Year or Hall of Fame recognition. Five designs have achieved World Sailing’s International Class status. J/Boats Inc. was named by Fortune in 1991 as one of America’s Best 100 Products. J/Boats in the USA are built in Rhode Island and by licensed builders in France, Italy, South Africa, Argentina, and China. J/Boats remains a family business.
National Sailing Hall of Fame Announces 2016 Inductees
The US National Sailing Hall of Fame (NSHOF) has announced the nine people who will make up its 2016 class of inductees: America’s Cup winning helmsman Ed Baird (St. Petersburg, Fla.); legendary sailing champion (Star Worlds, Congressional Cup and America’s Cup) Bill Ficker (Newport Beach, Calif.); husband and wife sail training pioneers, adventurers and authors Irving and Electa “Exy” Johnson (Hadley, Mass.); brothers and J/Boats founders, Robert Johnstone (Newport, R.I.) and Rodney Johnstone (Stonington, Conn.), respectively, marketing guru and boat designer; yachtsman and sailmaker Dave Ullman (Newport Beach, Calif.); as well as America’s Cup sailor and Star World Champion Malin Burnham (San Diego, Calif.) and the innovator behind the modern square rigged superyacht The Maltese Falcon, Tom Perkins (Belvedere, Calif.), each of whom is being recognizing with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
These nine members of the class of 2016 will join 48 previously-recognized individuals as the National Sailing Hall of Fame continues to fulfill its mission by drawing recognition to Americans who have made outstanding contributions to the sport of sailing.
“The achievements of this year’s group of inductees – whether on-the-water, at a drafting table, or in teaching and coaching others to succeed in the sport – have at their root a joy of sailing that has inspired and affected countless competitive sailors and recreational boaters,” said Gary Jobson, President of the NSHOF. “The NSHOF is proudly preserving the history of the sport and its impact on American culture while inspiring the next generation of sailors by recognizing these contributors and sharing their stories.”
Following a two-month period this spring during which sailors from all corners of the country nominated their choice for induction, a selection committee – made up of representatives from US Sailing, the sailing media, the sailing industry, community sailing, a maritime museum, a previous inductee, and the NSHOF Board – reviewed the broad spectrum of nominations.
Inductees are American citizens, 45 years of age or older, who have made significant impact on the growth and development of the sport in the U.S. in the categories of Sailing, Technical/Design and Contributor (coach, administrator, sailing media). Nominations of non-citizens were also considered if they influenced the sport in the U.S., and posthumous nominations were also accepted. The undertaking to recognize Americans who have made outstanding contributions to the sport of sailing is central to the mission of the NSHOF which was formed in 2005 and has completed phase one of its plan to establish a permanent facility on the historic waterfront of Annapolis, Maryland.
The Lifetime Achievement Award inducts an American citizen, 55 years of age or older, who has had consistent involvement in sailing for a majority of his or her life and had success in the sport while also becoming successful and achieving noteworthy stature in a non-sailing career.
The 2016 class of inductees will be formally celebrated on Sunday, October 30, 2016. The invitation-only Induction Ceremony will be held at the St. Francis Yacht Club (San Francisco, Calif.) and is sponsored by Condé Nast and Rolex Watch U.S.A. Additional support is provided by Anchor Steam, Dream Yachts, Hawkstone Vineyards, Mount Gay Rum, and Volvo Penta. The NSHOF will dedicate the 2016 Induction to the AmericaOne Foundation. AmericaOne was a finalist in the challenger selection series of the 2000 America’s Cup, representing St. Francis Yacht Club. Since then, the AmericaOne foundation has been supportive of sailing on many levels, including Olympic Sailing, disabled sailing and exposing underprivileged youth to sailing.
For more on the Inductees, please visit: http://halloffamers.nshof.org