Photo Credit: FRIED ELLIOTT / friedbits.com
From the St. Francis Yacht Club website:
Ed Bennett joined the St. Francis Yacht Club in 1965, a sailing veteran from the age of ten. He was the Club’s first Olympian, competing in the Finn class at the 1972 Olympics after winning the US title that same year. Known affectionately to his sailing friends as “Fast Eddie,” he crewed in the American-Australian Six Meter Challenge in the 1970s and sailed with Tom Blackaller in the ‘80s in their quest for an Olympic berth in the Star. He windsurfed through the ‘90s and 2000s and was the driving force behind introducing board sports to StFYC. Late in life, he moved closer to the Club to make it easier for him to regularly volunteer on Race Committee. And, until his body failed him, he was always on the water, in a RIB.
In 2013, he was named an Honorary Member. Ed passed away January 7, 2018.
Ed's family welcome his friends to attend a Celebration of Life on March 18 from 1:00–5:00 in the Northwest Room of the St. Francis Yacht Club. Donations in his memory can be made to the St. Francis Sailing Foundation at stfsf.org/contribute/donate-in-memory-of-ed-bennett/.
Here, his fellow members remember the man:
Ed Bennett went to the 1972 Olympics representing the USA in the Finn Class. His very good friend Louie Nady was selected as the team alternate to accompany Ed. Leading up to the Olympics and afterwards, the two of them had the old club boatyard filled with Finns. Ed and Louie created the interest and then inspired many young sailors to better themselves sailing a Finn. —Pax Davis
I am so saddened by the news of Ed’s passing. I remember well sailing with him in some team racing events and was always impressed by his calm demeanor and always-gentlemanly conduct. I would describe him as a true gentleman and worthy icon of the best of our sport. —Jim Cascino
When I moved to California, Ed was my Finn idol and mentor. Once, after he ground me down on the City Front, I was humbled when he offered, “It’s time to join the StFYC!” I returned the favor by teaching him to windsurf. Years later he organized the Race Committee RIB manual and taught me the ropes. Even after Ed’s vision faltered, we spent many a day on a RIB, with him driving and me standing watch. I loved that man. —Vice Commodore Paul Heineken
I first met Ed doing mark-set on Race Committee. I was fortunate to work with him dozens of times and we became good friends on and off the water. Ed had a good way of passing along knowledge which he presented as, “How should we work this one?”, listen and then offer quiet, modest input such as “There’s a trick that I’ve used that might work here…”. The reality was, of course, he had a great plan and vast experience that he was passing along to the next generation. When things were quiet, he told us great stories about his sailing career and his pioneering windsurfing days. —Mike Mahoney
I introduced Ed to a friend who became the first client of Edward G. Bennett Co. What a brilliant sailor and lovely man. It makes me cry to know he’s gone. —Jim deWitt
Ed was a longtime friend and great sailor. We sailed together many times, mostly in the Masters Regatta during the 1990s. Ed was on the team when we won in 1999. Several years ago, we made him an honorary member of the club—an honor well deserved. He will be missed by many. RIP. —Bruce Munro
I have known Ed since the mid-1960s when I started to sail Finns. We trained for the 1972 Olympics together and sailed against each other competitively until the 1980s when Ed switched from Finns to board sailing. We remained good friends and a few years ago he stayed with us for several days at our cabin at Clearlake. Despite the fact that Ed’s sailing days were behind him, I got him back out on the water on a Finn again for about an hour on a nice day. He enjoyed his sail and it brought back fond memories. —Louie Nady
St. Francis Yacht Club’s first Olympic sailor was a gentle pioneer and a giant in stature and achievements. He had muscles of steel. But, his will and determination were even stronger. After climbing to the pinnacle of our sport, he spent decades setting marks for others on the racecourse. He set a great example. When he spoke, we all listened. A more generous spirit has not passed this way. —Ron Young