Photo Credit: FRIED ELLIOTT /


Joe Duplin, World Champion 1934-2016

Human Interest - Author: Star Class - August 08, 2016

Joseph Duplin, of Winthrop, Massachusetts, a Star World Champion, died August 7, 2016. He "did the impossible" in 1963 winning both the North American Championship and the World's Championship within a single three week span, against starting line-ups totaling 129 of the world's finest skippers. The closest previous approach to such a feat was Duarte Bello's 1962 bid, when he won the European Championship in a field of 47 and then was runner-up in the 1962 World's among 73. Duplin was named the 1963 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year.

In 1966 Duplin also won the European Star Class Championship, sailing with Fritz Reiss at Varburg, Sweden. Joe was one of the sailing coaches for the U.S. Olympic Sailing Team for both the 1972 Munich and 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. Also in 1963, Joe was named Rolex Yachtsman of the Year.

Duplin and his crew Francis Dolan took the championship at Chicago under difficulties of unsteady breezes and all kinds of weather and sea conditions. While others broke down, touched marks, or simply went the wrong way in the shifting winds, Duplin never won a race but never fell below 9th. His "Star of the Sea" caught and passed the fastest of the fleet whenever the heat was on, and he was able to keep her up front once she got there.

Tufts University hired Joe Duplin, as head coach in 1967. Duplin, whose father owned a boat shop in Winthrop, Massachusetts, was always a major presence in college sailing. The coach at MIT for the previous six years, his leadership gave Tufts immediate credibility. Duplin's first team featured all-Americans Dave Curtis and Charles Loutrel, who earned the honors in the first year they were presented. Joe was inducted into the Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association Hall of Fame in Newport, RI, for a Lifetime Service Award in 2007-2008. 

Duplin was described as "bigger than life, physically huge -- six feet one and barrel-chested, an innovator and a risk taker." He was a star on the football field in high school.