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This Article Last Updated: Jul 11th, 2016 - 23:27:32
The National Sailing Hall of Fame (NSHOF) today announced the nine people who will make up its 2016 class of inductees which includes the legendary sailing champion (Star Worlds, Congressional Cup and America’s Cup) Bill Ficker (Newport Beach, Calif.).
Additionally, America’s Cup sailor and Star World Champion Malin Burnham (San Diego, Calif.) will be recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Bill Ficker: One afternoon in 1970, Bill Ficker, the Star World Champion (1958) and Congressional Cup winner (1974) who would steer Intrepid to an America’s Cup win that year, encountered Ted Turner after winning a trial race in Newport, Rhode Island. "He walked up to me," Ficker recalls," and said, 'Ficka is quicka.' The next day he arrived with a box full of buttons bearing that slogan. I cringed a little bit."
Putting aside superior tactics and his allocation of responsibility that produced a happy boat, Ficker credits Cal Tech with Intrepid’s quickness. “They interpreted all our speed data,” he says. "We sailed precisely to the numbers they gave us. The crew was very disciplined. Tactician Steve van Dyck and navigator Peter Wilson did a good job keeping me on the numbers."
Bill Ficker has had a cat bird seat for watching both his beloved Star class and the America’s Cup go through significant changes. The Star class was one of the few games in town 75 years ago, and at one time, the only class with a world championship regatta. He applauds its ability to police itself and to adapt to new materials and technology. Ficker helped direct that adaptation as a member of the class’s technical committee.
Malin Burnham: In 1945, at age 17, Malin Burnham became the youngest ever to win the Star World Championship. Fellow sailors say he's the best natural helmsman they've seen. That's part of it. The rest has to do with the seven virtues he was taught in the San Diego Yacht Club (SDYC) junior program. We all know them: commitment, dedication, hard work, teamwork, follow through, playing by the rules, and planning ahead.
We all give them lip service while Burnham has made them his mantra. He was a major contributor to a new junior sailing center at the yacht club on one condition: that the seven virtues would not only be taught there, but indelibly imprinted on the building. One of those virtues, playing by the rules, cost him a second Star World Championship. He and crew Jim Reynolds had a strong lead in the 1963 series in Chicago. "In race four, the leech of the main touched the windward mark," Reynolds says. No one saw the infringement, but Burnham immediately dropped out.
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