President Frank H. Gordon (Starlights, September, 1969)
Of all the offices of the I.S.C.Y.R.A., at once the most important and the most difficult to fill is that of Executive President. Not only must the President devote many hours, sometimes many hours per day, to the job; he must also be able to make frequent decisions based on balanced judgment and a dependable knowledge of Star Class procedures and precedent. Frank H. Gordon joined the Class in 1939 as a charter member of the Lake Sunapee Fleet in New Hampshire. He has been a Life member for twenty years. He was Treasurer of the Class from 1955 until 1965, when he became its President. At that time Starlights remarked, "It is safe to say that there is no one ... with a better background of experience or a more thorough understanding of Class affairs and cognizance of current problems."
As chairman of the Governing Committee, the President is heavily involved with a constant stream of questions, problems and policy decisions. During the five years of his administration to date, the Class has approved the use of fiberglass as a building material, has adopted a minimum weight limit for hulls, has changed the system of qualification for and representation in the World's Championship, has twice (1968 and 1972) retained its Olympic status when it has been seriously threatened, and has promulgated the policy of making all Stars unsinkable. These are only some of the more major items. Many dozens of other questions, less general perhaps but no less important to some member or group of members, arrive on the President's desk and must be dealt with rapidly and judiciously.
During the Gordon administration the size of the Governing Committee has been increased and its geographical base broadened to include members from the Midwest and from California. Greater responsibility in technical matters concerning the boat and its specifications has been delegated to the Technical Committee, both by the G.C. and by class-wide vote. Always mindful of the current welfare and future development of the Class, the administration has recently opened the way toward the possible adoption of aluminum as an optional material for spars.
President Gordon has donated his time and expertise to help ensure a well managed World's Championship by traveling to Germany and Denmark for our last two record-breaking Gold Star events. He is chairing the International Race Committee at the 1969 World's in San Diego at the end of this month.
A graduate of Princeton University and Yale Law School, Mr. Gordon maintains a very active law practice in New York City. His devotion to Lake Sunapee and Star sailing is evidenced by the fact that he makes the 500 mile round trip from his Scarsdale home to the New Hampshire lake almost every weekend of the summer. Although a past Blue Star champion of the Twelfth District, he is modest about his racing prowess. "I understand the problems of the ordinary Star sailor because I'm one of them," he says. "There are hundreds of us, not world's champions but just keen sailors who love to get out there and race. If I can develop a faster way of setting the whisker pole or vanging the main, that's fun, because I or my crew figured it out nobody told us. Maybe the champions have been doing it for years, but that doesn't matter: we invented it ourselves." His wife Dorothy has sailed with him on many occasions, and now each of his three daughters is frequently found crewing on Gordon's Djinn. One daughter, currently stationed in Thailand, says she can hardly wait to get back into a Star.