The Hall of Fame plans to add up to 15 people per year in 2012 and 2013 and then no more than five people each year starting in 2014. As a further sign of the project's national scope, Tawney said, the 2012 induction ceremony will be held in New Orleans and the 2013 ceremony will be in New Jersey.

The National Sailing Center and Hall of Fame is planned for a state-owned parcel at the foot of Prince George Street on Annapolis City Dock. Plans by Annapolis architect and sailor Joseph Boggs, of Boggs & Partners, call for a three-story, 20,000-square-foot interactive museum designed to highlight the "heroes and heritage" of American sailing, while preserving its artifacts and legacy.

Combining new construction with the preservation of a historic building on the site, the Captain William H. Burtis House, the center is intended to draw 150,000 visitors a year and solidify Annapolis' reputation as a sailing capital. Besides the Hall of Fame, features will include exhibits by designer Edwin Schlossberg, a library, theater, map room and sailing vessels.

Boggs' plans have been approved by the city of Annapolis and the Maryland Historical Trust, since the construction site is in a historic district. The state has negotiated a long-term lease for the property, with the understanding that the group will use private construction funds. Tawney said the group has raised more than $1 million and that an exact construction timetable will depend on its ability to secure the rest.

Tawney said he is hopeful that the ceremony will help draw attention to the project and the fundraising efforts. He said all of the living honorees have said they will attend and all of the posthumous honorees will be represented by relatives or descendants. The sailing center plans to use the occasion to videotape oral histories with the Hall of Famers and their family members, to be shown in the building when it opens.

"It's a national institution, and we wanted to communicate that," Tawney said of the selection committee and its work. "I think they came up with a very representative group."

Inaugural inductees to the National Sailing Hall of Fame:

Elizabeth "Betsy" Alison of Newport, R. I., coach to disabled sailors and five time Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year.

Hobart "Hobie" Alter, Laguna Beach, Calif., creator of foam-core surfboards, sleek catamarans and other products sold under the Hobie brand.

Paul Cayard, Kentfield, Calif., 1998 Whitbread Round the World Race winning skipper and two-time Olympic sailor.

Dennis Conner, San Diego, four-time America's Cup-winning skipper.

Frederick "Ted" Hood, Portsmouth, R. I., naval architect and America's Cup-winning skipper.

• Gary Alan Jobson, Annapolis, America's Cup-winning sailor, author and award-winning commentator, global ambassador for the sport.

Harry "Buddy" Melges Jr. of Zenda, Wis., Olympic medalist.

Lowell North of San Diego, Olympic gold medalist, engineer and sailmaker who founded North Sails.

Ted Turner, Atlanta, America's Cup-winning helmsman and four-time Rolex Yachtsman of the Year.

Posthumous inductees include: Charles Barr of Marblehead, Mass., an early record-setter for trans-Atlantic sailing; Nathanael G. Herreshoff of Bristol, R.I., naval architect; Emil "Bus" Mosbacher Jr. of Greenwich, Conn., two-time America's Cup winner; Joshua Slocum of San Francisco, the first person to sail around the world by himself; Olin Stephens of Hanover, N.H., yacht designer; and Harold S. Vanderbilt of New York, three-time America's Cup-winning skipper.

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