Fiddler's GreenMar 30, 2017
Jim Allsopp died on March 12, 2016, in Annapolis, Md., at age 72. In 1976 Allsopp won the Star World Championships, beating Tom Blackaller, Pelle Petterson, Malin Burnham and Bill Buchan. The next year he won the Star European Championships in Marstrand, Sweden.
Allsopp sailed as a trimmer on Lowell North’s 12-meter Enterprise for the 1977 America’s Cup Defender Series, after which he ran the North Sails loft in Annapolis. He sailed in the 1979 Fastnet Race, and in the 1980s he sailed on the Italian Sardinia Cup and Admiral’s Cup teams, later sailing on Spanish teams.
Allsopp continued his involvement with the America’s Cup, sailing as navigator on the 12-meter Eagle in 1987 in Perth, Australia, and as mainsail trimmer on Russell Long’s 12-meter Clipper in the 1980 Defender Series. He also sailed in the 1997-98 Whitbread Round the World Race on George Collin’s entry, Chessie Racing.
After stepping down from running North Sails Chesapeake, Allsopp later managed North Sails’ marketing department. He owned a succession of boats and most recently raced his Mumm 30 and J/70 with his two sons, and was a tactician on the Superyacht circuit.
Paul Elvstrøm, one of the greatest athletes in the history of sailing, died on Dec. 7, 2016, at his birthplace in Hellerup, Denmark.
Elvstrøm won four consecutive Olympic gold medals: London 1948, Firefly class; Helsinki 1952, Finn class; Melbourne 1956, Finn class; and Rome 1960, Finn class.
Elvstrøm also competed in the 1984 and 1988 Olympics with his daughter, Trine, crewing for him in the Tornado class. Trine and Paul Elvstrøm were European champions in the Tornado class in 1983-84. In total, Elvstrøm won 11 world championships: the 505 (2), Finn (2), Snipe (1), Flying Dutchman (1), 5.5 meter (1), Star (2) and Soling (2) classes.
Elvstrøm also invented a self-bailing unit for small boats and the Elvstrøm swim-vest. He wrote numerous books on the rules of racing, and in 1954 started Elvström Dinghy Sails — designing the firm’s red crown logo himself. The company is currently known as Elvstrøm Sails and is Europe’s largest sail loft.
Australian businessman, winemaker and yachtsman Bob Oatley died Jan. 10, 2016, aged 87. Oatley was the owner of the 100-foot race boat Wild Oats XI, which won the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race for the eighth time in 10 years in 2014.
Oatley made his fortune in the wine business founding Rosemount Estates wine company in 1969. He expanded it as a private company over three decades and sold it in 2001 for $1.4 billion.
Oatley was a major supporter of Team Australia in the America’s Cup and the Australian Olympic Sailing Team. In November 2015, Yachting Australia honored Oatley with a lifetime achievement award. In 2014, Oatley was named an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO).
Paul Perkins, an avid racing and cruising sailor and former Trustee Emeritus of the Sea Education Association (SEA), passed away Nov. 6, 2016, at the age of 93. Perkins served as a naval officer in the Pacific aboard the fast cruiser USS Alaska in the closing stages of WWII. He went to Harvard Law School and later worked as a corporate lawyer in Boston. Perkins was a member of the Manchester Yacht Club and the Cabadetis Boat Club, among others, and was a Rear Commodore of the Cruising Club of America. He was also an advisor to SEA for more than 30 years, and a trustee since 1974. He provided counsel on the development of the Sailing School Vessel Act and construction of SSV Corwith Cramer. He was a member of the New Ship Committee and was instrumental in fostering the design, construction and funding of SSV Robert C. Seamans, the newest SEA vessel launched in 2001.
Thomas Robert Weschler, Vice Admiral U.S. Navy (retired), died on April 3, 2016, in Mystic, Conn. Weschler was born in Erie, Pa., in 1917. At age 17, he attended the U.S. Naval Academy and graduated in 1939. He was commissioned in 1941 after a stint in the merchant marine, and his naval career included service in WWII and the Korean and Vietnam wars. He obtained a Master of Science in electrical engineering from MIT.
Weschler was an aide to Admiral Arleigh Burke, Chief of Naval Operations, and served as an officer on a number of naval ships. He was involved in the Polaris missile program and led the development and construction of Spruance-class destroyers. After retirement, Weschler was a professor at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I.
Weschler was passionate about Tall Ships America and education under sail, and brought the tall ships to Newport five times from 1982 to 2007. At the age of 90, he turned his attention and efforts to building Oliver Hazard Perry, a tall ship for Rhode Island, and helped to raise more than $18 million toward the ship’s completion.